humanitarians unite for government accountability for continuous
judicial harassment and HRVs
March 24, 2023
QUEZON CITY – A
delegation of activists and human rights defenders from the
Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, and Ilocos regions rallied to the
National Capital Region from March 20-21, 2023. The delegation aimed
to engage in several activities with government agencies, officials,
and civil society to bring light to the continuous attacks on
communities and human rights defenders at a national level.
They held a symbolic
action and dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR),
lobbied at the House of Representatives, and organized a forum at
the University of the Philippines-Diliman to give attention and
solicit urgent responses to the intensifying human rights violations
in Northern Luzon. Alongside these activities, the contingent also
dedicated time to honor the Northern Luzon heroes inscribed on the
walls of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
The dialogue with the CHR
proved fruitful, with representatives from national minority and
peasant organizations in the NCR joining in solidarity with the
pleas and demands of the delegations. Highlighted in the dialogue
were the recent community bombings by the Armed Forces of the
Philippines in the barangays and municipalities in Cagayan and
Kalinga provinces that happened in recent months. The CHR committed
to the independent investigations of these bombing incidents, the
red-tagging and terrorist labeling of people’s organizations, and
trumped-up charges of the Northern Luzon 7. The delegation also
followed up on unresolved cases that they raised in the recent past,
such as the attempted assassination of Brandon Lee and the abduction
of Steve Tauli.
The trooping to the House
of Representatives to gain support for the #DefendTheNorth campaign
also resulted in several positive developments. The delegation met
with Kalinga District Rep. and Chair of the House Committee on
Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples Committee,
Allen Jesse Mangaoang, Mt. Province District Rep. Maximo Dalog Jr.,
Manila District Rep. and Chair of the House Committee on Human
Rights Benny Abante Jr., Kabataan Partylist representative Raoul
Manuel, and ACT Teachers Partylist France Castro.
Hon. Mangaoang, Dalog, and
Manuel shall file a resolution to investigate the bombings in
Kalinga. Alongside raising the current HRVs, the delegation also
discussed the ongoing Gened dam project in Kabugao, Apayao.
Kabataan Partylist Rep.
Raoul Manuel delivered a privileged speech in which he challenged
his fellow lawmakers to take action on the cases of the North. He
called to stop the attacks, harassment, and filing of false charges
against the citizens of Northern Luzon.
Katribu supports the
Defend the North campaign. We encourage all peace-loving citizens to
stand in solidarity with them as well. The trooping of the
delegation from the different regions is a first of a series of
activities calling for judicial and legislative reforms to protect
activists and human rights workers. The struggle continues for us
human rights defenders to resound the calls and demands of Northern
Luzon and to hold the perpetrators accountable.