Drop trumped-up rebellion charges vs. peasant rights activist

Hands off APIT TAKO and Lulu Jimenez

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today asserted the junking of the rebellion charges against Lourdes ‘Lulu’ Jimenez, a secretariat member of APIT-TAKO (Alyansa dagiti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilyera or Peasant Alliance in the Cordillera Homeland, KMP’s regional chapter in the Cordillera Autonomous Region. Jimenez also worked with the Cordillera People’s Alliance research committee and was a contributor to the Northern Dispatch alternative online news website.

Jimenez, along with six other Cordillera and Ilocos-based activists and development workers were charged with rebellion and were issued warrants by Judge Corpuz Alzate of Branch 2 Bangued Regional Trial Court in Abra. This is the same trumped-up case that led to the arrest of indigenous peoples’ rights activist Jennifer Awingan last January 30.

“We strongly demand that the charges vs. Jimenez, Awingan, and several other Cordillera and Ilocos activists be dismissed. They are being harassed and politically persecuted,” according to Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.

The seven activists were unjustly implicated in an NPA ambush of AFP soldiers last October 2022.

“Advocating for farmers’ and indigenous people’s rights is never a crime. Advocating for genuine land reform and food security is not a terroristic act.”

“This style and pattern of trumped-up charges bear the mark of the NTF-ELCAC. They are fulfilling their regular quota of arrested or surrendered alleged NPA leaders and activists and farmers are the easiest targets for them,” Ramos said, citing the numerous instances of fake surrenders in Ifugao (200), Kalinga (40), and Mt. Province (20) and Benguet (15) as reported by APIT-TAKO.

The Marcos connection

Cordillera is the country’s top producer of temperate vegetables and APIT TAKO is actively joining anti-dam and anti-mining campaigns that undermine the ancestral rights of Cordillera people.

As of September 2021, there are 96 dams with permits in the region — 16 are operational while 79 are under pre-development classification. Out of this, 16 are mega dams, 6 big hydroelectric power plants, 8 small hydroelectric power plants, and 51 mini hydroelectric power plants

“Malakas ang paglaban ng mga mamamayan sa Cordillera sa mga itinatayong dam at mining sites kaya walang tigil ang atake sa CPA at mga progresibong organisasyon at mga aktibista sa rehiyon,” according to Ramos.

“Mga kamag-anak at kaibigan ni Pangulong Marcos Jr. ang may malalaking interes sa negosyo sa Cordillera, kaya dawit at direktang may sala rin si Marcos Jr. sa mga pag-atake sa mga aktibista at mamamayan ng Cordillera.”  

APIT TAKO said that large-scale mining company Benguet Mining Corporation is owned by the family of presidential cousin and House Speaker Martin Romualdez, the SNAP Alimit hydropower complex in Ifugao is among the major projects of the Aboitiz Corporation, while top gold producer APEX Mining Co. Inc. is owned by Enrique Razon. Both Razon and Sabin Aboitiz are part of Marcos Jr’s Private Sector Advisory Council. ###

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