The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) welcomes the temporary freedom and dismissal of one case of Kennedy Bangibang, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant on Cordillera affairs on August 15, 2016 by Judge Rasing of the Regional Trial Court 3 of Baguio City.
The CPA hopes that the temporary release of Bangibang would allow him to join the Peace Talks and highlight substantive socio economic and cultural aspirations of the indigenous peoples in the Cordillera. We also believe that his solid grounding on the historical and current plights and issues of the indigenous peoples in the region will put more concrete recommendations for the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reforms (CASER).
Bangibang was arrested on February 13, 2013 in Buguias, Benguet and was charged with multiple trump up charges in Kalinga. Before his temporary release, Bangibang is one of the 9 political prisoners in the region. All of them are charged with multiple fabricated cases in Ifugao; Mt. Province; Abra and Kalinga. Among them is Esteban Eduardo, an elderly and suffering from hypertension who is now currently detained in Bontoc, Mt. Province after his cases were dismissed in Bangued, Abra.
Aside from Bangibang, we reiterate our call for the immediate release of the 8 political prisoners in the region and end their suffering from crimes they did not commit. Their families and communities are waiting for them.
Lastly, we also urge President Rodrigo Duterte and the NDFP to resume the peace talks and address the roots of the armed conflict. ***