Peasant women group demands defunding of NTF ELCAC amid recent red-tagging of Amihan leader in Cagayan
The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women denounced the vicious red-tagging of police and military forces against its national Vice Chairperson, National Council member and Amihan-Cagayan Chairperson Jacqueline Ratin and called for the defunding of the notorious red-tagger NTF ELCAC.
Human rights group Karapatan-Cagayan Valley reported that tarpaulins were seen hanged along the road of Barangay Masical, Baggao, and highways of Iguig and Amulung municipalities on April 23, 2021 containing the names, position in their organizations and photos of Ratin and Gabriela member and health worker Jane Ruiz. Written in the tarpaulin were “MGA REKRUTER NG TERORISTANG CPP-NPA-NDF SA CAGAYAN”, “NO TO CPP-NPA-NDF HUWAG MAGPALINLANG”, “MGA SALOT SA BAYAN”, and “Leaders/Organizers ng GABRIELA at AMIHAN sa Cagayan Valley” with the signatory “Mamamayang Ayaw sa Terorista at Aktibista-Cagayan Valley”.
Similar tarpaulins were seen on April 25, 2021 in Barangay Anquiray, Amulung, in the boundaries of Iguig and Carig, Tuguegarao City, Cansiritan-Baybayog, Alcala and Cansiritan-Monte-Alegre, Amulung.
“We are enraged that amid the surging cases of COVID-19, the Duterte government thru the NTF ELCAC and its fascist police and military forces is splurging billions of the taxpayers’ money on these baseless and dangerous allegations against peasant women and peasant women organizations instead of helping the impoverished peasant families survive the pandemic. Dapat lang na tanggalan ng budget itong NTF ELCAC at gamitin na lamang ang bilyon-bilyon nitong pondo para magbigay ayuda sa mga maralitang Pilipino,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.
Karapatan – Cagayan Valley said that Ratin has already filed a blotter in barangays Anquiray and Calamagui and sought a dialogue with Amulung Vice Mayor Nicanor De Leon to report the current red tagging incidents and follow-up their letter submitted to his office and the mayor’s office last April 20, 2021 requesting the investigation of the continuous forced surrender, intimidation and harassment of the members and leaders of the farmers’ association in the municipality.
“The continuing harassment, intimidation, vilification and red-tagging against Jacqueline Ratin, peasant women, peasant women leaders and other progressive leaders and activists in Cagayan Valley should stop as it puts their lives and their families in danger while being denied of their democratic rights,” Soriano added.
Since 2018, both Jacqueline Ratin and other Cagayan Valley activists were regularly red-tagged through sacks and flyers containing their names and photos. They also experienced surveillance at home and in their work. They have submitted reports and complaints at the Commission on Human Rights Region 2 but actions are yet to be conducted.
Ratin has been active in the campaign advancing genuine land reform and against farmer and fisherfolk displacement in the province. She has also been active in the Tulong Sulong or the relief and rehabilitation program for the peasantry in Cagayan as well as the campaign against the Rice Liberalization Law.
Amihan is set to file a report to the Commission on Human Rights on May 7 to seek investigation on the intensifying rights abuses against peasant women as part of its #DefendPeasantWomen campaign which will be launched on May 8.
At present, more than 300 victims of extra-judicial killings in the country are farmers, among them are 42 women. Moreover, 80 peasant women, where 63 were imprisoned under the Duterte regime and deprived them of their rights as women, mothers to their children and peasants advancing rights to land and livelihood.
“We urge the public to join us in calling for #HandsOffJacquelineRatin #DefendPeasantWomen and condemn the fascist attack of the Duterte regime to peasant women and activists,” Soriano ended. ###