11 March 2018
The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) strongly condemns the “terrorist” tagging of hundreds of Filipinos by the government of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
A petition filed by Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong with a Manila regional trial court on February 21 and only made public last week provided a list of 461 names and 188 aliases that the government sought to declare as “terrorists”.
The list includes CPP founding chairman Prof. Jose Maria Sison and his wife Juliet de Lima, Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, among other consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the unilaterally cancelled Peace Talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
Among those listed are defenders of indigenous peoples. These include Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who served as former chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues before she was named UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People in 2014. Also named in the petition are: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL); Sandugo Co-Chairperson Joanna Cariño; Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) Chairperson Windel Bolinget; and at least 10 Lumad leaders in Northern and Southern Mindanao.
Also in the list are nine members of the human rights group Karapatan arrested in November 2017 in Negros, trade union organizer Maoj Maga and NDFP peace consultant Rafael Baylosis abducted and now among the more than 400 political prisoners in the country.
Many of those on the list are identified only by aliases such as @Boy Negro, @Kelly, @Fidel and John Does. Practically anyone can be a target of this mad witch-hunt.
Given Duterte’s bloody record of extra-judicial killings (EJKs) where thousands have been summarily killed since he assumed office, this list constitutes what human rights groups call “a government hit list”. He is effectively giving the military and police the green light to arrest, detain, abduct or summarily kill the listed individuals without due process. Various reports including those of UN special rapporteurs have found that terrorist or communist-labelling had frequently preceded cases of extrajudicial killings.
Many in the list are peasant leaders, union organizers, local activists, human rights defenders and known internationalists. It contains the most ardent defenders of sovereignty, social justice, democracy and people’s rights in the Philippines.
The list is a vain attempt to intimidate and silence Duterte critics who are now calling for his ouster and presents the strongest opposition to his increasingly dictatorial and fascist regime.
Duterte’s ambition to “Build, Build, Build” for foreign creditors and investors is supported by his repeated “Kill, Kill, Kill” admonitions.
We continue to be deeply concerned about Mr. Duterte’s instructions to his military to “flatten the hills” as he called for aerial strikes and bombings of indigenous lumad schools and communities to open the lands for corporate mining and plantations.
There are strong indications that Duterte’s red-tagging and anti-communist witch-hunting are instigated by the failing U.S. global war on terror and imperialist agenda in the Philippines. These follow the U.S. listing of “foreign terrorist organizations” since 2002 and, most recently, the inclusion of the Philippines, along with Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, in its new Overseas Contingency Operations dubbed Operation Pacific Eagle – Philippines, starting in October last year.
The government petition cited “terrorist and outlawed organizations, associations and/or group of persons” pursuant to Section 17 of R.A. No. 9372 of The Human Security Act of 2007 patterned after the U.S. Patriot Act.
The undue termination by President Duterte of the peace talks between the Manila government and the NDFP eliminated an opportunity to address the fundamental roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines. It derailed efforts to offer substantial socio-economic and political reforms for the people and, instead, paved way for intensified conflicts.
We call on all peoples and nations of the world to join us in denouncing the US-Duterte regime for its anti-people war, fascist crackdown and tyrannical rule. Let us urge our governments to instruct their diplomatic missions in the Philippines to extend support and protection to the listed individuals as they will be facing acute risks to their lives and safety.
We urge governments to sanction and pull-out all loans, aid and support to this regime who has totally lost any remaining sense of legitimacy before the international community.
We seek justice for all victims of rights violations. We will move to indict the US-Duterte regime for its war crimes before an independent international people’s tribunal before the end of this year.
The Filipino people can no longer suffer alone. We must make the international indignation and cry for justice and peace to bear on the Duterte government.
We call for global solidarity and protest actions before Philippine embassies and consulates in all major cities of the world against the government’s terror listing.
Defend human rights defenders!
Free all political prisoners!
Stop the U.S. war machine, stop the killings in the Philippines!
Support the peoples struggle for justice, peace, genuine democracy and freedom!
Chairperson, Global Council
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP)
Mobile: +61 418312301