Together with my family and organization, I vehemently condemn the relentless attacks and red-tagging against me, my children and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance through social media at this time of COVID-19 pandemic. These are undoubtedly perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and their minions. Many of their smear campaign materials are posted in their Facebook pages and individual accounts, and the fake and troll accounts of their minions.
We condemn in the strongest terms possible the latest malicious attack against me and my children last night on Facebook as attached. The disinformation post shows a photo of my children in their indigenous attire during the annual Begnas in Sagada. The Facebook account of my youngest son, who is a minor, was also locked for 5 days. Prior to these, series of red-tagging, political vilification, cursing me dead, and threats to myself, family and CPA were also posted on Facebook. These are direct threats, harassment, intimidation and political vilification especially against my children with a clear intent to harm not only myself but also my family. This is State terrorism.
To the AFP, PNP and their minions, why do you include attacking my children? They have nothing to do with my work and life as an activist. What you are doing is inhumane treatment and evil act. Is this the kind of AFP and PNP that we have in the Philippines? Wala din ba kayong pamilya at mga anak? Paano kung idadamay rin ang mga anak at pamilya ninyo sa trabaho ninyo bilang militar o pulis o mga alipures nila? Sya et na nan kanan tako en INAYAN wenno PANIYEW!
To the AFP, PNP and their minions, why red-tag and attack me? Am I a threat to you? I am just a civilian and activist serving the people. At this time of Covid-19 and socio-economic crisis, why don’t you focus your efforts and resources in helping the people and stop red-tagging and destroying families? You should engage in humane, professional, reasonable and meaningful discussion on issues I raised in social media. You should avoid personal attacks and threats. You should not curse us and attack my children. Stop red-tagging civilians especially at this time of pandemic when people are experiencing great health and economic hardships.
To those who truly believe in Inayan and God, we enjoin you to condemn these acts, call for accountability of the AFP and the PNP, and call for a stop to impunity that is allowing these to happen.
Let me reiterate: I am a civilian, environmental activist, and human rights defender. I am the current chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) For the Defense of the Ancestral Domain and Self Determination. When I was in college, I was a student activist fighting for student rights and welfare. Upon graduating from college, I volunteered fulltime with the CPA, working for indigenous peoples rights and human rights, social justice and democracy. I’m also an officer of national and international indigenous peoples organizations.
CPA was established in 1984 and its name speaks for what it has been doing for the past decades as a people’s organization. It is an independent alliance of indigenous peoples organizations and sectoral alliances in the Cordillera. It is a legal organization, not an armed organization, and not connected to the New Peoples Army (NPA) or any armed groups.
In the Philippines, State attacks thru red-tagging and political vilification are meant to demonize activists and their progressive organizations in public towards extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, and enforced disappearance.
Let us call on the Philippine government, AFP and PNP to seriously adhere to human rights and international humanitarian law. Civilians and non-combatants must be protected by parties in the armed conflict: the AFP/PNP and NPA. The Philippine government, the AFP and PNP who are in power and duty-bearers have the primary responsibility to serve and protect civilians. The relentless attacks against civilians like me, my family and CPA by the AFP and PNP violate and contradict their basis of existence.
I believe there are good men and women in the AFP and PNP who take side with the people and perform what is expected of them for the rights and welfare of civilians. They can do more for the country and people to stop the attacks against the people.