Police chief ‘shoot to kill’ order given in the Cordillera

Photo by D. Ayroso: The targeted windel Bolinget

From the Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination (Sandugo)

The following is a response the Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination, following an order to shoot to kill a prominent leader. Two major centres of indigenous populations, the islands of Mindanao and Luzon, have been militarised and subject to numerous human rights violations. The target in this case is a leader in Luzon’s Cordillera region. This is happening in our neighbourhood. Australia should be doing everything possible to put a stop to it

The Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination condemns Police Regional Office Cordillera Director R’win Pagkalinawan for issuing a “shoot to kill” order against indigenous leader Windel Bolinget.

Pagkalinawan’s order comes with a qualifier “if he resists arrest;” however, the whole nation has witnessed how thousands were murdered in cold blood by police officers using the signature “nanlaban” alibi of Oplan Tokhang.

Photo from Pia Car/RMC: Local Philippine National Police commander R’win Pagkalinawan is in the centre

Bolinget is a Sandugo National Council member and chairperson of  Cordillera Peoples Alliance.

He and ten other individuals, most of whom are activists in Northern Luzon, are facing a warrant of arrest for the alleged murder of Lumad Garito Tiklonay Mabatoin 2018. Mabato was a victim of extrajudicial killing by the paramilitary group Alamara. Killed in an incident in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, Southern Mindanao. Bolinget, a native of Mountain Province, has never set foot in that area.

To Director Pagkalinawan: Shame on you. Your “shoot to kill” order is a tacit endorsement of the immediate liquidation of Windel Bolinget. It is extremely unbecoming, even criminal, for an enforcer of the law to deny Bolinget of his rightful chance to prove his innocence in court.

You are as shameless now as you were last year, when you were caught on camera breaking quarantine protocols with impunity in Taguig City, alongside the equally shameless PNP Chief Debold Sinas.

We, national minorities under Sandugo, stand by Windel Bolinget’s innocence. He is not a murderer. He is an activist, vocal on the government’s inefficiency to effectively respond to the pandemic. He is not a terrorist. He is an esteemed Igorot leader fighting for the Cordillera people’s right to self-determination.

It is open season for the harassment and murder of leaders like Bolinget. But so long as the climate of poverty, oppression, and impunity remains, we will never run out of defenders like him.

If the Duterte administration and its lapdogs like Pagkalinawan and Sinas think that they can silence our movement for justice, peace, and self-determination, they are gravely mistaken. As a poet once said: You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.

We call on the Police Regional Office Cordillera: rescind the “shoot to kill” order versus Bolinget! Drop the fabricated charges against him and his fellow accused! Let peace and justice prevail!#

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