• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

“Junk Terror Law! Stop the attacks on activists and development workers of Northern Luzon!”- Kabataan Partylist Ilocos

July 13, 2023

Kabataan Partylist Ilocos vehemently condemned the Anti-Terror Council’s (ATC) designation of four activists, who are leaders of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), as terrorists.

“Arbitrarily designating these activists as terrorists under the Anti-Terror Law deprives them of their right to due process and puts them in danger of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and even murder,” stated Angelica Galimba, Kabataan Partylist Ilocos coordinator and Second Nominee.

The ATC mentioned in a press statement released on July 10, 2023, that it had approved a resolution designating Windel Bolinget, the current chairperson of the CPA, Jen Awingan, Steve Tauli, and Sarah Abellon-Alikes, also of the CPA.

It can be recalled that the said individuals were also part of the Northern Luzon 7 or the NL7. The NL7 are activists and development workers who were falsely charged with Rebellion and Insurrection in connection with an attack by the New Peoples Army (NPA) against members of the Philippine Army (PA) in Abra last October, 2022. The charges were later dropped by Judge Corpuz Alzate of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2 for lack of probable cause.

Galimba also mentioned that this recent designation is a part of the continuing focused attacks on activists, development workers, and other critics and advocates in North Luzon.

“This designation is part of the series of attacks of the Marcos administration against activists and development workers in North Luzon. Recently, makeshift posters tagging me, alongside other activists have again appeared in Ilocos Norte,” said Galimba.

Aside from Galimba, redtagging posters also falsely accused Genaro dela Cruz, Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA) spokesperson, Niño Joseph Oconer, Northern Dispatch correspondent for Ilocos, and Rabh Hubbard, also a correspondent of Northern Dispatch, of being recruiters of the NPA.

Galimba also condemned the continuing forced surrender campaign in the region, particularly in La Union, and the continuing disappearance of Dexter Capuyan and Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” De Jesus, two activists and advocates for indigenous peoples’ rights based in the Cordillera region.

“Aside from redtagging, state forces have also forced members of community organizations to surrender as ‘NPA rebels’, such as in the cases Naguilian, Agoo, and Bauang, where members of TIMEK-La Union and TIMUN were either forced or deceived to surrender as ‘NPA rebels.’ In worst cases, state forces have also resorted to abductions and forced disappearances, such as in the case of Dexter Capuyan and Bazoo De Jesus, who were abducted by purported CIDG personnel,” stated Galimba.

TIMEK-La Union is the local chapter of PAMALAKAYA in La Union, while TIMUN or the Timpuyog dagiti Marigrigat nga Umili ti Naguilian, is an organization of farmers in Naguilian, La Union.

“We resolutely call for the junking of the terrorist designation on Windel Bolinget, Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Jen Awingan, and Steve Tauli. We also firmly stand for the junking of the Anti-Terror Law, which gives the government the power to arbitrarily accuse anyone of being a terrorist, and detain them for up to 30 days without a formal case. Finally, we also demand the Marcos, Jr. Regime and all state forces to immediately cease its continuous attacks against the people of Northern Luzon,” concluded Galimba. ###