Thursday, June 21, 2018

AFP, cops seek to defer delisting of 7 Igorots from terrorist list

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): AFP, cops seek to defer delisting of 7 Igorots from terrorist list

The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Cordillera is deferring action on a proposed resolution seeking the removal of seven Igorots from the terrorist list of the Department of Justice (DOJ), pending the written recommendation of the intelligence agencies in the region.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), and other intelligence agencies in Cordillera convened on Monday evening to discuss the issue, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) regional director Milagros Rimando, who co-chairs the RDC, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Wednesday.

“They convened and discussed with intelligence personnel before they can clarify in writing their stand in relation to the RDC-RPOC passing a similar resolution. We hope to get their recommendation at the soonest, so that we can schedule a special meeting,” she said.

Following their Monday meeting, the heads of the 5th Infantry Division (51D) and the Police Regional Office Cordillera (Procor) requested the RDC to delay the recommendation on the delisting of the seven Igorots from the DOJ's terrorist list.

5ID commander Maj. Gen. Perfecto Rimando and Procor regional director Chief Supt. Rolando Nana both sought to communicate first with the DOJ to find out the reason for the seven Cordillerans' inclusion in the terrorist list, which named 600 persons in all.

The seven Cordillerans, including a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria “Vicky” Tauli-Corpuz, are on the DOJ list of alleged officers and members of the communist groups.

The six others are human rights lawyer Jose Molintas, Joanna CariƱo, Windel Farag-ey Bolinget, Sherwin De Vera, Beverly Sakongan Longid, and Jeannette Ribaya Cawiding.

“They could not have been tagged as terrorists without a reason. We want to know why they were branded as such. We hope to study further,” Rimando said.

The police official said tagging people involves certain mechanisms and due diligence is needed before recommending a deletion of their names.

“There should be a mechanism and supporting detail why we will recommend their delisting,” he said.

The officials said it is not easy to tag a person as a terrorist and is even more difficult to delist him or her.

Earlier, the Baguio City Council approved a resolution seeking the deletion of the seven Igorots' names from the terrorist list. A similar resolution was also passed by Sagada in Mountain Province.

Mountain Province provincial administrator lawyer Amador Batay-an added that the tagging affects the whole region, thus the need to immediately act on it.

“It puts not only some provinces but the region in a bad light to be declared that there are some terrorists coming from our region. While it is true that there are some activists, these are not terrorists, they are fighting for rights of their people but they are not terrorists. To equate activism with terrorism is also unfair to those who are fighting for the rights of their brothers and sisters in the Cordillera,” Batay-an said.

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