Apayao governor’s recent order encourages commission of extrajudicial killing, other rights violations

Human rights group Karapatan slammed Apayao Provincial Governor Elias Bulut, Jr. for issuing “an official order that may potentially be used to drive and encourage the commission of extrajudicial killings.”

In an executive order dated September 30, 2022 Bulut offered reward money of P100,000 for anyone who “captures, arrests or kills in a legitimate military operation a member of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).” The governor upped the bounty to P1,000,000 if the person arrested, captured or killed is a “high-ranking CTG personality.”

This is a kill order, said Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay. “It gives the go-signal for anyone to arbitrarily attack and kill political activists who have been repeatedly threatened and red-tagged, and be paid handsomely for it.”

“Is it just a coincidence that last October 25, Lorraine Badoy and the other talking heads of NTF-ELCAC recited the names of members and community leaders of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) as ‘mga pangalan ng CPP-NPA’ on their program aired over the SMNI network?” asked Palabay.

A Cordilleran governor issues a hit order with bounty, then Badoy and her ilk come up with a hit list comprised of Cordilleran activists, said Palabay. “Following the pattern we have observed in other cases,” she said, “it looks like CPA leaders and activists are being set up not only for intensified threats, harassment and intimidation, but for arrest, capture or murder.”

“With incessant red-tagging and this latest bounty offer, the State has cranked up its deadly campaign to suppress human rights defenders and other activists working for people’s rights and welfare,” said Palabay.

“All freedom-loving Filipinos must forge ranks to counter these virulent and stepped-up attacks on our civil and political rights.”