Hands off Jaime Paglinawan! Hands off Development Advocates!

Kilusang Mayo Uno strongly condemns the baseless and dangerous accusations and pursuit of the Department of Justice Task Force on Anti-Terrorism (DOJ-TAFT), in collaboration with the Central Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, against 27 development and human rights advocates in Cebu, including the Chairperson of AMA-SUGBO-KMU and KMU Vice Chairperson for Visayas Jaime Paglinawan Sr.

26 of the 27 accused are previous and current officials and members of the Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET), an institution with a long history of responding to the needs of farmers, workers, and the poor who have long been underserved by the government. Meanwhile, Jaime Paglinawan Sr. has for decades championed the interests of workers for living wages, decent work, and labor rights.

Although baseless and with no concrete evidence, the DOJ-TAFT allegedly found “probable cause” in the complaint filed by the 302nd Infantry Brigade against the 27 accused of “terrorist financing” or violation of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 or RA10168.

This scheme by the Marcos government is not new. It deliberately targets those who expose the government’s anti-people policies, which in some cases leads to terrorist designation such as in the case of Sarah Alikes, Jennifer Awingan, Windel Bolinget, Stephen Tauli, Jovencio Tangbawan, and May Vargas-Casilao in Cordillera.

Amid the Supreme Court’s recognition of red-tagging as a dangerous practice that could lead to dangers for accused “supporters” of the CPP-NPA-NDF, the Marcos government continues to attack citizens who take initiative to address its failure in addressing poverty, in providing services to the needy, and in serving the interests of the people.

The DOJ-TAFT and the AFP Central Command must immediately stop its pursuit of citizens who only care about fellow Filipinos and immediately dismiss the trumped-up charges against Jaime Paglinawan and the development and rights advocates!

Kilusang Mayo Uno calls on all workers and citizens throughout Visayas and the entire country to come together to frustrate the attacks of the Marcos government against development and rights advocates!