Katribu Official Statement
On the attacks against Cordillera Peoples Alliance, its leaders and members
May 11, 2020
Reference: Rei A. Paulin,Katribu Coordinator, 09178169258

KATRIBU: Stop the Attacks on our National Leaders and Organizations!

Over the weeks since April, a smear campaign is currently spreading lies and threats about Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and its Chairperson, Windel Bolinget, and Secretary General, Bestang Sarah Dekdeken, through coordinated postings on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Numerous fake and fraudulent Facebook accounts, individual accounts and pages of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and local LGUs, are spreading disinformation and malicious posts accusing the CPA and its members of being communists, terrorists and supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA).These attacks have also extended threats to security of their families, particularly to the minor son of Bolinget.

The systematic and government-sponsored campaign of violence and intimidation is a telltale sign of Duterte’s de facto martial law in the country. The government have taken unfair advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to advance policies that are harmful to the Filipino people and to indigenous peoples. These attacks are characterized as occurring in a time when the capacity of defenders to assert their democratic rights are severely constrained by lockdowns, arbitrary arrests, and other heavy-handed measures supposedly meant for containing the outbreak of the infectious disease.

The attacks are clearly part of the implementation of the Duterte regime’s Executive Order 70 that is institutionalizing the Whole Of Nation approach and creating the national task force to end local communist armed conflict. Executive Order 70 is a dangerous policy that targets legitimate people’s organizations and activists. Government agencies and local government officials are being used in implementing this policy.

Katribu vehemently condemn these threats, harassment and intimidation towards our leaders and member organizations. Mr Bolinget is the lead convenor of Katribu’s National Congress, Ms. Dekdeken is a member of our Council of Leaders and the regional organization CPA is one of the founding members of Katribu.

We are deeply concerned for the safety of Windel, Bestang and their families. Katribu, as a national alliance of indigenous peoples organizations in the Philippines, remains committed to confronting systematic threats to the safety and security of Indigenous communities, organizations and leaders.

We call on all our member organizations all over the country and partner indigenous peoples’ organizations abroad to launch actions and send messages of support in defending Bolinget, Dekdeken and our member organizations and leaders nationwide. Our collective strength will not fold nor succumb to state fascism and the intensifying attacks against our people and communities. The history of the indigenous peoples struggle globally tells us that we will overcome.###