Statement of Solidarity with the Cordillera Peoples Alliance
VOICE stands with the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), and the call to revoke the designation of its leaders and members as terrorists via the Anti-Terrorism Council’s Resolution No. 41.
Indigenous peoples’ organisations in the Cordillera region have centered their campaigns on defending land, life, and natural resources. The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) has been at the forefront of these campaigns for the past 39 years. CPA is also a former grantee of the Voice programme.
Leaders and members of progressive advocacy organisations such as the CPA have been subject to legal harassment, smear campaigns and threats to life. Four of their members, Windel Bolinget, Sarah Alikes, Jennifer Awingan and Steve Tauli have been arbitrarily designated as terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) through Resolution No. 41 issued on June 7, 2023. The recently passed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 has effectively authorised the ATC to designate individuals and organisations as terrorists. Earlier this year, the individuals mentioned above were also subject to rebellion charges along with other activists, resulting in Jennifer Awingan’s arrest on January 30, 2023. They have been cleared of the charges after a Motion to Quash the charges was filed and granted by the Regional Trial Court in Abra Province.
The arbitrary designation of the individuals puts their own and their families’ lives at risk. It limits civic spaces and hampers the people’s right to development. It opens to similar attacks from other advocate organisations, activists, and ordinary citizens who want to voice out their concerns about government policies. The continuing attacks against Human Rights Defenders and Indigenous Peoples have worsened the already shrinking civic and democratic spaces in the Philippines.
Voice remains firm in its commitment to achieving an inclusive world where empowered rightsholders are able to express their views and demand their rights for responsive and inclusive societies. We stand in solidarity with CPA and for the call to revoke ATC Resolution No. 41 and delist Windel, Sarah, Jenifer, and Steve from terrorist proscription. We call to end the attacks against Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Defenders. We call on the Philippine government to uphold the democratic rights of its people.
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