Nurture environment and uphold human rights in Ifugao
The Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM) and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) are overwhelmed with the outpouring support of local and international advocates and organizations in the campaign to nurture the environment and uphold human rights in Ifugao. This continuing support is boosting the morale of the people, at a time when environment and human rights defenders are under attack. More importantly, this is a defiance of people against State political repression.
On July 4, 2015, the IPM renewed their appeal for support by calling on everyone to join the “Wear Blue Saturday” as part of their continuing campaign to stop the death threats and to end political vilification against their members and leaders, including vocal community leaders and barangay officials in Ifugao. “Wear Blue Saturday” is also a symbolic action for hope, courage, and a bluer sky for human rights and environmental defenders in Ifugao. At the same time, it is also an activity to expose the death threats received by staff of IPM and community leaders in April this year. Envelopes bearing a photo of an Ifugao cloth used by Ifugaos to wrap their dead were sent to IPM staff and community leaders with the phrase “Gray-May, June-Gloom, No Sky-July”. IPM and CPA strongly believe that these death threats are handiworks of big energy corporations with huge proposed projects in Ifugao and are in cahoots with suspected State intelligence agents.
With the activity, “Wear Blue Saturday”, organizations and advocates in different countries participated by wearing blue and taking selfie with the call “nurture the environment and uphold human rights.” Notably, OFWs in Hongkong and Filipino communities in California responded with great enthusiasm. The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), a regional organization of indigenous peoples in Asia along with its members, also responded with great interest. Other support groups came from Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Canada and others.
Local organizations and indigenous people’s advocates from north to south also took part in the activity. Responses came not only from the teachers, engineers and students, but also people from all walks of life took time to support the campaign. National organizations such as Sulong Katribu Party List, Task Force Indigenous Peoples, and Kalipunan ng mga Katutubo sa Pilipinas (Katribu) also responded in their own colorful way. Regional and local formations in the Cordillera led by the CPA and Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera Network were also in their blue shirts, banners and streamers to show support in the call to nurture environment and uphold human rights.
This outpouring show of support and solidarity to the IPM and its communities is a testament that working for the environment and human rights is not a crime. IPM and CPA are grateful to all those who stand with us and our affected communities in these difficult times. With all the continuing support, IPM and CPA vow to continue working with the people to nurture the environment and to uphold human rights. Death threats, political vilification and other forms of human rights violations against defenders of environment and human rights must stop now. ***