On the occasion of this year’s One Billion Rising on February 14, Innabuyog salutes all women in the Cordillera who stand up for human rights and resist repression.
Under the worsening fascism of the Duterte regime through the Inter-Agency Legal Action Committee (IALAC), Executive Order 70 (Institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and directing the adoption of a National Peace Framework) using the Whole of Nation Approach (WoNA), political persecution and red-tagging of critics, women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and their organizations also intensified, as in the case of Innabuyog and its member organizations in the Cordillera. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) have intensified their smear campaign against Innabuyog and its member organizations through Facebook, tagging the alliance as a ‘front’ of CTGs (Communist Terrorist Groups).
In Mountain Province, the Sagada Municipal Police Station issued a document entitled Deceptive Recruitment of CPP-NPA Terrorists which lists several local organizations as so-called ‘fronts’, such as Inayan Watch, the municipal chapter of Innabuyog in Sagada; APIT-TAKO Montañosa, including Innabuyog. In Ifugao, the provincial women’s organization, Ub-ubbon di Binnabai ad Ifugao (UBI) was among those listed as so-called fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDFP in fliers circulated in Lamut and Lagawe, along with other legitimate people’s organizations. UBI actively participates in issues affecting the people of Ifugao, such as the building of the Alimit Hydropower Complex. In Kalinga, local Innabuyog leaders opposing militarization and the entry of energy company, Chevron are also harassed by agents of the AFP and PNP.
Earlier, we witnessed the red-tagging and filing of trumped-up charges against iconic women activists of the region, such as Joan Carling and Joanna Carino—both conferred with international recognition by the United Nations and Gwangju Prize for Human Rights for their work as human rights defenders. Baseless as the accusations were by the AFP, the charges were eventually dropped. Community health worker, Rachel Mariano was incarcerated in 2018, again on false charges by the AFP. Rachel was acquitted after a year. The judge who ruled in favor of our acquittal was gunned down.
Contrary to the lies of the AFP, PNP and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) which are responsible for the trumped-up charges, harassment, intimidation and political persecution, these WHRDs are not terrorists. They are parents, mothers, daughters and even grandmothers. They are our sisters and friends. In their aspiration for a better world for the younger and unborn generations to inherit, they are activists for social change, just and lasting peace. They are selfless and worth emulating. There is nothing terroristic about their endeavors. In fact, it is the political persecution and red-tagging of activists in general that is an act of terror because it makes us open targets of human rights violations.
In fact, while Innabuyog was coordinating for this year’s One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign, it learned that the NICA attempted to dissuade several supporters of the OBR by saying that they should not associate themselves with the OBR since it is a “CTG-led activity”.
Innabuyog therefore appeals to the public, especially women of the Cordillera, to be critical and denounce these attacks. Join us in expressing our collective voice for human rights and peace. #
NOTE: One Billion Rising is a global campaign to end sexual violence against women that started in 2012. Over the years, the campaign evolved to include all forms of violence against women and became a symbol of the collective desire of women and the wider society to end such. Innabuyog has been organizing OBR in the Cordillera since 2013, with the broad participation of women and advocates from different organizations and sectors, including government. # nordis.net