Baguio gov’t urges Palace to drop terrorist tag for 7 IP advocates

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The Baguio City government is asking Malacañang to drop the terrorist tag on seven residents who are known advocates of indigenous people’s rights.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan this week affirmed the City Council resolution calling for such move.

Resolution No. 92 urges the national administration to clear Victoria Tauli-Corpus, Joan Carling, Beverly Longid, lawyer Jose Molintas, Windle Bolinget, Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding, and Joanna Cariño from the list of 600 individuals identified by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as either members or supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

The DOJ’s declaration of the terrorist tag came as an offshoot of the declaration of the communist movement as a terrorist organization.

In the resolution, a copy of which was furnished each to Malacañang, DOJ, and the Philippine National Police, the city council listed the advocacies and affiliations of the seven Baguio residents.

Corpus is a Kankanaey from Besao, Mountain Province, former Chairman of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous from 2005 to 2010 and presently the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Kankanaey is one of the tribal groups in northern Philippines, collectively known as Igorots.

Carling, who is a Kankanaey from Sagada, is former Secretary General of the Thailand-based Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact, and a Co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development.

Longid is also a Kankanaey from Sagada, a former nominee of the Katribu Partylist and the present Global Coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation.

Molintas, a member of the Ibaloi tribe, is a human rights lawyer and former member of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Bolinget is also a Kankanaey from Bontoc, Mountain Province, the former chairperson of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, and a regular participant to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Ribaya-Cawiding, a Kankanaey from Besao, Mountain Province, was former chairman of the Tongtongan Ti Umili, and is active in non-government organization work in Baguio.

Cariño, an Ibaloi, is a kin of Mateo Cariño, a member of Cordillera People’s Alliance Advisory Council, and a co-chairman of Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination.

“The above individuals never joined the revolutionary groups but are passionate and active in their advocacy of human rights and the indigenous people’s rights, both local and international,” the City Council said. “Their inclusion in the list not only violated legal processes, but now poses a threat to their lives and that of their friends and families.”

Baguio’s governing body also cited the appeal of the United Nations organization, particularly of Special Rapporteur Michael Forst, on the situation of human rights defenders, and also of Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Chairperson of the Committee on Special Procedures, as well as other international organizations, for the Philippine government to drop the “terrorists” tag against the human rights defenders. (PNA)

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