Personal properties of four Cordillera activists were taken over by the government this week after the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) ordered Philippine financial institutions to freeze their assets and bank accounts after they were declared terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council
(ATC) on June 7. Even the personal bank account of Saint Louis University Professor – Ronald
Taggaoa, husband of Jennifer Awingan at the RCBC, had been frozen after it received the order from AMLC. That account is a debit account for my car loan, the infuriated academic, who also is the president of the SLU employees union, said.

Resolution No. TF-67-2023, dated June 30, directed the “freezing without delay” of the properties and funds belonging to Awingan and three other Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) leaders: Windel Bolinget, Stephen Tauli, and Sarah Abellon-Alikes. Such an order covers the assets and funds the activists own and control, whether jointly, directly, or indirectly, including any funds and other
assets derived or generated from their ownership or indirect control. It also applies to people and entities who are acting on behalf of or under their directions.

The order has reportedly affected CPA’s funds which could virtually clamp down the operations of the organization. They received the AMLC notice on July 12. Taggaoa’s account is now on hold after receiving the RCBC letter on July 15. The academic blurted out: “That is my account and has nothing to do with my wife.” In a July 17 text message, CPA secretary-general Sarah Dekdeken
confirmed that the organization’s bank also put their funds on hold. She said they received the notice on July 12.

AMLC further ordered institutions covered by the resolution “to submit Suspicious Transaction Reports of all previous transactions of the designated persons” while also warning that people and offices that would not abide by its directive “shall be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” under the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. Appealing for the reversal of the AMLC freeze order and ATC terrorist designation, the CPA denounced the government for the injustice and “clear malicious intent to push individuals into silence and dismantle people’s organizations like the Cordillera Peoples Alliance.”

“Challenging the government for its obligations to the people is never a crime… As citizens, it must
be okay to speak our minds. As a government, it must listen and not get even,” Taggaoa points out.
Human rights group Karapatan warned that the designation was “a prelude to graver attacks” against government critics, calling it “a virtual hit list.” It added, “With the State’s trumped-up accusations against these activists failing to prosper in courts, the ATC is now resorting to designation not only as a way of curtailing their movements and derailing their pro-people and human rights advocacies but to set the victims up for arrest on other trumped-up charges or worse, for involuntary disappearance or extrajudicial killing.” CPA’s other network abroad has begun barraging the government to appeal against the AMLC and ATC resolutions upon the activists.

Artemio Dumlao/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon