Development workers condemn red-tagging and vilification

KASTAN CPA-Abra Press Release
September 23, 2015

Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin a Nagtaudan (KASTAN CPA-Abra), Tulong Katribu and Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CordDS) denies and condemns the black propaganda that they are NPA rebels pretending to be development workers. The groups were able to learn of the red tagging being spread against them after Ariel Solomon Martes, Alliance of Concerned Teachers provincial coordinator for Abra was notified by a friend to be careful of his acquaintances because he was told that they are NPA rebels. His source however declined to identify the source for his own security.

“We condemn this malicious statement made against us. We are development workers aiming to help the evacuees. We declare categorically that we are not NPA rebels. This kind of statements are dangerous, as there is a trend that those who are vilified are being harassed, illegally arrested or worse, even killed. This incident is reminiscent of the Martial law days, where everyone who desires to serve the people is being demonized by the state.”

The incident happened after KASTAN, Tulong Katribu and CorRDS went to Barangay Tamac in Villaviciosa, Abra to provide relief goods for residents who evacuated because of an impending landslide. A landslide occurred during the height of typhoon Ineng, which destroyed several parts of the rice fields, prompting the residents to evacuate. The relief operation was requested by the community through Alliance of Concerned Teachers provincial coordinator Ariel Solomon Martes.

Despite the incident, the groups vowed that they will continue to provide aid for those in need, saying that it is their sacred duty to serve the people.

“No threats can stop us from doing what we are supposed to do. These people need help, and no matter what, we will not leave them behind. Those spreading these malicious statements must desist from doing so and instead do their part in helping the evacuees.”***

For reference:

Haide Patricio Iday
Tulong Katribu coordinator

Ronald Gustilo
Public Information Officer
Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin a Nagtaudan