Rights group slams PNP list of alleged NPA associates as an attack on rights defenders

Sep. 13, 2018

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Human rights group Karapatan slammed the recently revealed directive of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to compile a list of alleged New People’s Army (NPA) associates as an attack on rights defenders.

Dated May 28, the Memorandum from the PNP Intelligence Group orders task forces to submit a summary of information (SOI) on alleged leaders of the NPA.

“This is the Duterte regime’s relentless political persecution, mobilizing all its forces to threaten and harass those who pose as hindrances to the government’s slaughter of the Filipino people,” Karapatan Deputy Secretary-General Roneo Clamor said in a statement.

According to Clamor, this latest PNP memo is strikingly in line with the proscription petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on February.

The list which Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra admitted to be unverified, contained 649 names of persons being linked by the police and military to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA.

It features prominent indigenous rights activists in the Cordillera region such as Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, current United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Joan Carling, Co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development and former Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) Chair; Beverly Longid, current global coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL); Joanna Patricia Cariño, member of the CPA and Co-Chair of Sandugo; Windel Bolinget, CPA chairperson and National Co-convener of Sandugo; Jeannete Ribaya-Cawiding, former Chairperson of CPA-Tongtongan ti Umili and current Regional Coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers; Atty. Jose Molintas, former Asia representative to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Also included in the list is Sherwin De Vera, Regional Coordinator of DEFEND Ilocos and member of the Save The Abra River Movement (STARM), as well as former Secretary General of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance-Karapatan.

“There is no doubt that those on this list are targeted because of their work and advocacy as rights defenders and activists,” Clamor further explained.

Many other activists, in Clamor’s view, were extrajudicially killed because of these baseless lists, which are being used by the opportunist police and military to satiate their greed and fatten themselves with monetary rewards.

He went on to cite the 2014 joint memorandum of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of National Defense (DND) that ordered the arrest of alleged communists, as an example of how easy these accounts could trigger a series of arbitrary arrests and cases of mistaken identities.

“If this government thinks it can go on a killing spree without a hint of resistance from individuals and communities, then it is seriously mistaken. The Duterte regime has underestimated the resolve of the Filipino people to fight and defend people’s rights,” Clamor added. (davaotoday.com)

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