BAYAN joins the call of activist mass organizations, human rights defenders and Indigenous Peoples advocates to defend Windel Bolinget amidst series of attacks and the trumped-up murder case against him. Attacks of this sort being inflicted on activist leaders like Windel, who is the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) Chair and the KATRIBU convener, is not new and has, in fact, been the same violent tool used by the US-Duterte regime in thwarting the struggle of Indigenous Peoples for land, food sovereignty, just peace and the overall right to self-determination.
Windel is being accused of a crime he did not commit (murder), in a place he has never been to (Davao del Norte), in a complaint that he has only heard of just now, when the judicial warrant had been issued. He was not accorded the right to a preliminary investigation where he could have easily demolished the false claims against him. The practice of filing trumped in faraway provinces, where the accused have no way of knowing of their inclusion in the list of accused until it is too late, has been a notorious practice of the Duterte regime. Legal shortcuts and false charges are used to justify arrests and other attacks against activists. Similar trumped-up cases have been filed against peace advocate Rey Casambre, unionists Maoj Maga, Alexander Reyes and many others. The cases make a mockery of the Philippine legal system.
Windel and the CPA have been at the forefront of the struggle to defend the Cordillera ancestral domain from large mining firms, and just recently, the China-funded Chico River project. He is a public figure in the Cordilleras and is also known internationally among IP defenders. As such, the crimes being alleged — that he participated in the killing of a Lumad in Mindanao in 2018 — is simply outrageous.
The reinvigorated struggle of the Moro People and Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines through SANDUGO,(Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination)—a historical and unprecedented solidarity alliance of national minorities in the Philippines, established in 2016—is part and parcel of the heightened and expanded struggle of minoritized peoples worldwide.
The global push back against land grabs powerfully decries corporate extractivism. The same organized actions worldwide propagate ecological alternatives attuned to the struggle against imperialist plunder and the clarion call to free the land. Now more than ever, it is crucial to recognize the contributions of each and every mass leader anywhere in the world who embodies the aspirations of national minorities engaged in the global class struggle against monopoly capitalism and for genuine peace and justice.
We call on our friends, allies and comrades from all over the world to lift up the voices of Indigenous Peoples and national minorities and support the cause of Windel Bolinget and protect him from the US-Duterte government’s state terrorism. We call on freedom-loving peoples to strongly condemn the lawlessness and impunity that has characterized the Duterte regime’s war on social activists.
The attached Urgent Appeal (https://cpaphils.org/urgent-alert-drop-the-trumped-up…) issued by the CPA narrates the history of attacks against Bolinget, especially under the Duterte regime. We also encourage you to sign the Letter of Concern (Click here).