Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stop The Threats And Harassment Against Activists, Advocates And Communities In Ifugao

[This is a press release by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance. For reference, contact Abigail Anongos, the Secretary General of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (]

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) is deeply concerned over the continuing threats and harassment to its local chapter in Ifugao by suspected agents of the State and mercenaries of big energy projects. The Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), its members and officers are targets of death threats and political vilification in social media groups of Ifugaos by few individuals hiding under fictitious names. In April this year, at least five staff of IPM and community leaders received a brown envelope containing a photo of an Ifugao cloth usually used to wrap a dead person. The words “GRAY MAY, JUNE GLLOM, NO-SKY JULY” were printed above the picture. IPM reported the incident to the Philippine National Police in Lagawe, Ifugao and still waits any substantial development of the case.

The proliferation of these materials that intends to sow fear and insecurity among activists, vocal community members and leaders in Ifugao is a desperate and cowardly act by suspected agents of the State and mercenaries of big energy projects in their attempts to stop the growing people’s protests against development aggression and human rights violations. But what makes it more appalling is the use of materials with cultural significance to deliver their message. The use of a picture of a cloth used by Ifugaos to wrap their dead is totally irresponsible, insensitive and bastardization of culture. This calls for strong indignation.

Death threats and political vilification also during these times of a supposed advance age of science and technology, reasoning, political, economic and cultural aspects is a cheap ploy to divert the real issues and aspirations of the people. More importantly, threats and harassment against activists, advocates and communities who are vocal against corruption, development aggression and human rights violations is a manifestation of the continuing political repression of the current BS Aquino administration under the Oplan Bayanihan.

The repeated attempts to link progressive and legitimate people’s organizations with the New People’s Army by those few who hide under assumed names should be a thing of the past. But there are few people who think based on their paranoia, myths and delusion like the times of the Dark Ages.

Our track record as an organization speaks louder. No amount of cheap political vilification can blemish the achievements and victories of the people. No amount of death threats can stop the people from rising for good governance, human rights, genuine development, peace and equality.

In fact, we should condemn death threats and political vilification against activists, advocates and communities. These are human rights violations against the basic rights to life, liberty, security, and political participation of people. We should value and assert for our freedom, peace and human rights. Any attempts to sabotage these fundamental rights should be met with strong opposition from the people. Death threats, vilification and other forms of human rights violations only breeds for injustice, insecurity and chaos in our society. These should immediately stop, and we call on the public to speak out against this injustice.