PhilArmy drops counter-insurgency leaflets on towns on Easter Sunday, earns condemnations

The Philippine Army dropped counter-insurgency leaflets on Sagada and Besao towns in Mountain Province on Easter Sunday, April 12, in what appears to be another violation of the government’s own ceasefire declaration.

Photographs posted by an indigenous people’s rights advocate show leaflets being dropped on the popular mountain resort town of Sagada by two UH1J Huey helicopters placed inside cellophane wrappers that also contained candies as ballasts.

Photo by Beverly Longid via Twitter.

Beverly Longid, a staff member of the International Indigenous People’s Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation, posted several photos of the leaflets accusing the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) of using country’s lockdown as an opportunity to recruit more members through corona virus disease (Covid-19) health interventions.

The leaflets, dropped between 8:30 and 11:30 in the morning also urged NPA fighters, particularly those who suspect themselves to be Covid-19 positive, to surrender.

Photo by B. Longid via Twitter.

“The military unit deployed in Sagada is the 54th [Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army] which has been responsible for red-tagging, political vilification of legitimate organizations and human rights violations including the frustrated extrajudicial killing of Chinese-American Brandon Lee in Ifugao,” Longid tweeted.

Longid said the two helicopters may have spent more than Php200 thousand in aviation fuel, excluding the production costs of the leaflets in its Easter Sunday operation.

She said that a Huey helicopter uses up Php110 thousand of fuel per hour while airborne.

One of Beverly Longid’s tweets on the incident.

The government’s unilateral ceasefire declaration is effective from March 19 to April 14 that suspends military and police operations against the CPP, NPA and NDFP.

The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) denounced the incident, saying the military only succeeded in terrorizing the communities and wasting public funds in spreading “recycled black propaganda materials.”

The CPA also revealed that the 54th IB operates overly-strict checkpoints in the entire province that intimidate residents.

The group also said that the 15 alleged surrenderees the military presented last March 29 in Bauko town were “fake” and “recycled”.

“According to residents of Barangay Bangnen, Bauko, the so-called surrenderees were local residents were forced by the military to say they were NPA supporters,” the group said.

The CPA said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) uses the Luzon-wide lockdown as an opportunity to implement its counter-insurgency campaign through red-tagging and fake surrenders.

The group accused the AFP of profiting from producing their propaganda materials and “fake surrenderrees” activities while many families are starving because of the lockdown.

CPA urged the government to spend its counter-insurgency budget on buying personal protective equipment for the front line workers, mass testing and other medical services.

It added that the government should give its promised P5,500 to affected families using the military’s counter-insurgency budget as well as President Rodrigo Duterte’s Php 4.5B intelligence fund.

The 54th IB and Philippine Army websites are silent on the Easter Sunday incident. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Ritwal ng pagtataboy

Kay Imee Marcos

Wikipedia image.

Nais mapaalis ang espiritung panis 
sa tanggapan ay guni-guning naiwan ni Trillanes

Mula noon hanggang ngayon
gamit ng angkan ang ritwal ng pagnakaw

Lahat ng bagay, inangkin at hinuthot
dulas ng dila, inari pati liping Igorot

Pakawkaw* ay basbas ng pag-indak at pagpadyak
sa kabutihan ay pagpukaw, sa kamalasan ay pagsindak

Gangsa** ay may tunog ng kilabot
nanaghoy ang katarungan kay Macli-ing Dulag sa tribu ng Butbut
Gusali ng yabang, dinaan sa paspasan
dinilig ng dugo, buhay na tinabunan

Kinatay na aso, manok at baboy na inialay
aninag ang imahen sa apdo’t atay

Mambunong,*** napuno nang takot 
at bitaw ang nginig na tinig

“Senadora, ay mi…dalawang mukha ng espiritu ng ‘demonyo’…
walang dili iba, kundi ang ‘yung ina’t amang tirano!”

Kwentulang Marino (Ed Romano Labao)
28 Hunyo 2019
1:30 n.u

*pakawkaw-sayaw sa pagtawag sa mabuting espiritu at pagtaboy sa masama

**gangsa-bronze gong

***mambunong-native priest

‘Terrorist’ wins UN Champions of the Earth award

An indigenous people’s rights defender and environmentalist the Rodrigo Duterte government wanted labelled as “terrorist” is named winner of the Champions of the Earth Award by the United Nations, one of the international body’s most prestigious awards.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that Joan Carling is the winner of the Champions of the Earth Award for lifetime achievement in her advocacies.

“She has been defending land rights from grassroots to international levels for more than 20 years. Her main concerns include protection of land rights of indigenous peoples, ensuring sustainable development of natural resources and upholding human rights of marginalized people,” the UNEP said in its announcement.

A member of the Kankanaey tribe of Mountain Province, Carling is a former chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance and former secretary general of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Carling was also appointed by the UN Economic and Social Council as an indigenous expert and served as a member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues between 2014 and 2016.

Just last February, however, the Duterte government named Carling as one of the 600 leaders it wanted the Manila Regional Trial Court to declare as terrorists.

I have dedicated my life to teaching about human rights. I have spent much of it campaigning for environmental protection and sustainable development. So, I was surprised to learn that I was labelled as a terrorist,” Carling said.

“I haven’t been home since. It has uprooted me: I fear for the safety of my family and friends. But I need to stay more motivated than ever. I cannot give up the fight for my people,” Carling added.

Carling however thanked UNEP for the award, saying she is humbled by the recognition.

Carling said she started her indigenous people’s rights and environmental protection advocacies as a member of the Kankanaey Tribe who was first inspired by the Cordillerans’ resistance against so-called development projects that destroy the environment and their culture. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

[Watch this UNEP video of Joan Carling]