CPA cries foul over looming ‘unwanted’ tag in Tabuk
Officials of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance decried the proposal of the police to declare them persona non grata in Tabuk City.
In an open letter addressed to Vice Mayor Bernard Dao-as and Councilor Henry Tubban, chair of the committee on peace and order, safety and security, CPA international spokesperson for Canada Chandu Claver and former board member Farnaw Claver said the proposal to declare the group persona non grata is “wholesale red-tagging” which could result in harassment, incarceration, and even death.
They also said the proposal is a desecration of the memory of the late former governor of Kalinga William Claver – founder of the CPA and who lawyered not only for the Kalingas but also for other indigenous peoples in the celebrated case against the construction of the Chico River Dam Project in the 1970s.
The Clavers said that as opposed to the New peoples Peoples Army that uses arms in its advocacies, CPA is a militant organization that advances its agenda through legal and peaceful means.
They challenged Tabuk City Police Director, Col. Radino Belly, to prove that members of the CPA participate in armed operations of the NPA.
Last Feb. 22, Belly has asked the city council to pass a resolution declaring the CPA persona non grata. The proposal stemmed from a recent decision of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame.
The Clavers said Belly’s proposal is an attempt of the police and military to curtail and suppress people’s organizations that are critical of the government.
The Clavers appealed to the city council to reject the city police director’s proposal as the same is an attempt to usurp civilian authority.
Chandu, who is presently based in Canada, was chair of the CPA Kalinga chapter from 2002 to 2006 while Farnaw was board member from 1998 to 2004. – Rimaliza A. Opiña