Sun.Star Baguio

CPA calls out Mt. Province, DILG

- Maria Elena Catajan Sun*Star Reporter

THE CORDILLERA Peoples' Alliance (CPA) has sent an open letter to Mountain Province after the group was declared persona non – grata in the province.

Beverly Litdog Longid, from the CPA advisory council, said the organizati­on wish to take exception to the request by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Mountain Province director directed to the Municipal Mayor of Sagada to declare CPA as persona non - grata in the municipali­ty.

“We hope that the DILG provincial director limited such directive to my hometown and not to all municipal mayors of Mountain Province. This request, we believe, is based on the unfounded branding of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance as a front organizati­on of the CPP-NPANDFP, which puts in real danger the lives and safety of innocent civilians. A well-calculated but irresponsi­ble ploy to make local government units active instrument­s for witchhunti­ng and red- tagging, which can promote polarizati­on in our communitie­s,” Longid said.

Longid appealed to carefully consider the far- reaching implicatio­ns of the request to declare CPA and other progressiv­e organizati­ons persona non grata.

“Such declaratio­n especially with the Terror Law certainly brings harm and danger to your anak, bebsat ya kailian who are members of the CPA wherever we are. On unfounded accusation­s, shall you allow this to happen? We urge you to reject this request, an atmosphere of fear and suspicion is something we do not wish for our communitie­s. We should object to anything that helps pave

the way for arbitrary arrests and harassment of innocent civilians. The demonizati­on of civic organizati­ons and their advocates does not bode well for peace in our communitie­s. It is a tactic that deserves the condemnati­on of all peace-loving citizens,” Longid quips.

CPA said the move is meant to silence conscienti­ous critics of questionab­le state policies and programs that all responsibl­e citizens ought to be concerned about.

“We find it intended to vilify, if not criminaliz­e, people of goodwill. People whose only intention is to urge public officials like you to address issues of corruption and put a stop to ill-conceived policies and programs. People who care for our environmen­t and strive to develop people's livelihood. The Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance and civic organizati­ons that serve the people's interests are also watchdogs for good governance. We do not deserve the relentless assaults by the state on democratic dissent and human rights that have escalated in this time of the pandemic,” the letter stated.

The CPA added declaring open legal organizati­ons persona non grata is a definite move that constricts the democratic space, denies people from expressing legitimate grievances without fear of repression and drives several individual­s to adopt extreme measures to pursue their goals.

“We express our deep concern that in this time of the pandemic, we see the escalating and continuing attacks against progressiv­e and militant organizati­ons. We vehemently oppose the terror tagging of progressiv­e organizati­ons especially the Cordillera People’s Alliance, and we urge our local government units to turn down the request to declare them persona non grata for the sake of peace,” Longid added.

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