Manila, Philippines – The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women and its chapters in Isabela and Cagayan provinces renewed its demand for immediate relief and comprehensive rehabilitation after the socio-economic and pre-pandemic climate crisis, detrimental impact of RA 11203 Rice Liberalization Law and the recent typhoon. The groups exclaimed that instead of rights abuses, rampant militarization, illegal arrest and detention, red-tagging and filing of trumped-up charges, the Duterte regime should focus in the upliftment of peasant’s situation in the region.

Once again, continued red-tagging of activists and organizations like Amihan was perpetrated by state forces even on the marking of the International Day of Human Rights last December 10. According to Amihan Isabela, tarpaulins was spotted at the waiting sheds in three barangays in Quezon town, Isabela province. Written on were “Mga Pugad ng Mga Teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF” and “Nagpapanggap na tumutulong, ginagamit at inaabuso ang mga kabataan, magsasaka, iba pa para mapilitang sumama sa komunistang terorista.”

“The serial red-tagging against activists in Cagayan Valley confirms the legitimate critique or basis of opposing Duterte’s incompetency and neglect in solving the primary problems of farmers and peasant women such as landlessness, immediate and comprehensive response to the pandemic, hunger, livelihood and others. Red-tagging is state terror itself, as it mongers fear among the people against practicing the constitutional rights to freedom of expression, speech, peaceful assembly and organization,’” Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson exclaimed.

In a statement, Amihan said that the Duterte regime must be held accountable on the three recent phases of socio-economic and climate crisis endured by the peasant women and families in Cagayan Valley particularly: on the pre-pandemic, the detrimental impact of the RA 11203 Rice Liberalization Law on the peasants’ household incomes and the recurring drought affecting majorly rice crops; early this year, the destruction of livelihood brought about by the impact of the miitaristic policies under the guise of response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and this recent months, the exacerbation of the impact of successive typhoons due to anti-environment and anti-people government policies. All these led to bankruptcy, pulling down of peasant families’ purchasing power, food scarcity and hunger, ruin of their modest shelters, accompanied by sustained government neglect and marginalization, and abuses.

“Last October, leaders of Amihan Cagayan Valley submitted a complaint against various rights abuses by state forces at the Commission on Human Rights regional office. Moreover, we will raise this state terror assault on the people’s democratic rights in the region to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, for the whole world to know of Duterte’s tyranny against the poor peasants in Cagayan Valley,” Soriano said.

Lastly, Amihan reiterated its call to stop red-tagging in Cagayan Valley and other parts of the country as it puts the life of activists and the Filipinos in danger. Dapat buwagin ang NTF ELCAC at ilaan ang pondo nito sa pagtugon sa epekto ng pandemya at kalamidad. Hindi makatwiran na gamitin ang pinagpagurang buwis ng mamamayan sa panunupil sa mga lehitimong organisasyon at panawagan. ###

📷 AMIHAN Cagayan Valley

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