Philippines: Statement from CPA Chair Windel Bolinget on the PNP Harassment in Ilocos Sur

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    29 October 2017

    Yesterday, CPA issued an Urgent Alert on the series of harassment of the PNP in Ilocos Sur to CPA leaders Windel Bolinget and Xavier Akien, including staff of the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC). They had just come from Quirino municipality in Ilocos Sur after a meeting with local partner Save Quirino Movement (SQM).

    We arrived in Baguio City last night, and thanks to everyone who supported us. If we unite and assert our rights, the people will win.

    The PNP harassment in Ilocos Sur that we were subjected to was basically a police operation, with at least a platoon in their full battle gear aimed at us. We think this was done in cooperation with the notorious 81st Infantry Battalion (IB) operating in Ilocos, under the 7th Infantry Division.

    We came from Patungcaleo, Quirino, Ilocos Sur after a community meeting where we condemned the human rights violations of the notorious 81st IB. The people were able to expose the hidden agenda and overturn the maneuver of the 81st IB in forcing and intimidating the barangay council and community to pass and sign a resolution attacking the Qurino people’s organization Save Quirino Movement (SQM) and Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), and red-tagging as fronts of the revolutionary New Peoples Army. For this the 81st IB and 7th ID must be very mad at the people. The 81st IB encamped inside the community barangay hall in Patungcaleo for almost 2 months, sowing terror. The 81st IB and 7th ID must be out of Ilocos, its unit 24th IB in Abra must be pulled out as well. There can be no peace in these areas as long as these notorious human rights violators are there.

    What we experienced in Ilocos Sur is intimidation and practically illegal arrest and detention. We challenged the PNP why were we being detained and subjected to checkpoints four times. According to Senior Police Inspector Labador and SPO4 Tolosa of the San Emilio police, their superior wanted to “talk” to me, so they held (detained) us for more than an hour. They “escorted” (illegally arrested) us past noon from Matibwey to Poblacion, San Emilio. The PNP was forced to release us for we firmly asserted our basic rights. When released we were subjected to more checkpoints along the highway. We dad lunch only after 3PM so were were very hungry.

    What we experienced is police terrorism and martial law which must be condemned. We must resist state terrorism and advance the call never forget, never again to martial law. The police officers responsible must be held accountable. This should not happen again.***

    Windel Bolinget, CPA Chair

    Source: Cordillera Peoples Allaince

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