Activism is not Terrorism! Stop terror-tagging in the Philippines

The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) speaks out against the vilification campaign of the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Office of the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The DOJ came out last February 21, 2018 of a collection of names to be considered as terrorist under the Philippines’ Human Security Act. The list of supposed terrorist includes 461 names, along with 188 aliases, among them are UN Rapporteurs, human rights defenders, and leaders of indigenous peoples.

The voluminous number of aliases, including John and Jane Does, opens up virtually anyone, including migrants, for attack. The blanket list can be used by the police to extort money from anyone, by falsely adding their names under John and Jane Does or any among the many aliases. Even our families can be harangued and targeted, under the assumption that the remittance we send is part of terrorist funding.

With this, the Presidency of Mr. Duterte is throwing due process, rule of law and human rights under the bus. This list is made worst by the law giving subpoena power to the police. Fresh are the experiences of laglag-bala (planting bullets inside luggage) where Immigration police extort money from migrants and tourist alike, by accusing them of carrying bullets in their luggage, a transgression which can prevent a person from boarding their flight, aside from detention. But the list above increases the areas where extortion can happen.

As migrants are worried of their families back home but at the same time remain unprotected abroad, it is more unfortunate now that Filipinos are being threatened by this terrorist tagging under Duterte’s regime.

Drop the list! Activism is not terrorism!

No to witch-hunt! No to extortion! Respect human rights!

Eni Lestari, IMA chairperson