The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women called for the lifting of the freeze order issued by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) under AMLC Resolution No. TF-38, Series of 2021 dated May 5, 2021, based on alleged violations of Terrorism Financing and Suppression Act of 2012. The freeze order included two bank accounts of Amihan along with several other organizations based in Mindanao.

The group was only notified of the order last June. The bank accounts have been frozen since.

The group together with its legal counsel Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA) filed a memorandum to the Court of Appeals on September 8 refuting the claims of the two alleged witnesses submitted by National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo to the AMLC.

“The freeze order was based solely on the unfounded testimonies given by two individuals who made allegations against Amihan. No evidence was presented and we were not informed of any proceedings which resulted in AMLC’s resolution,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

“This is nothing but another form of red-tagging and harassment committed by the Duterte government targeting peasant and other organizations pushing the genuine interests and welfare of the peasantry and marginalized Filipinos,” Soriano added.

Since Duterte’s presidency, there has been a significant increase in human rights abuses against peasant women which led to the #DefendPeasantWomen campaign led by Amihan together with land and women’s rights advocates. Amihan along with its leaders, organizers, members and other peasant women have been victims of extra-judicial killings, illegal arrest and detention, red-tagging, forced surrender and other forms of harassment and rights abuses. This includes the illegal arrest and detention of Amihan National Council member Genalyn Avelino of Mindoro, red-tagging and harassment of Amihan-Bohol leader Leonisa Taray, Amihan-Cagayan leader Jacqueline Ratin, Amihan-Cagayan member Julie Marcos, and Amihan-Isabela leaders Nenita Apricio and Gladys Ganado.

“This October marks our 35 years in advancing campaigns for free land distribution and against land grabbing, production support for farmers and fisher folk, relief and rehabilitation for victims of calamities, food security and self-sufficiency and against militarization and other forms of rights abuses in rural communities, among others. We will not be cowered by a tyrannical, misogynist and anti-people regime,” Soriano said.

AMLC has previously ordered the freezing of accounts of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran Center as well as accounts of individuals designated by the Anti-Terrorism Council, including political prisoner and peace consultants Vicente Ladlad and Rey Casambre. ###

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