Statement of CHR Executive Director, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the alleged abduction of an IP rights activist in Tabuk City, Kalinga

Statement of CHR Executive Director, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the alleged abduction of an IP rights activist in Tabuk City, Kalinga

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) decries the alleged abduction of 63-year-old Stephen “Steve” Tauli, a member of the regional council of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and an active advocate of indigenous people’s (IP) rights.

Tauli was reported abducted near the CPA Kalinga office at Ag-a Road, Appas, Tabuk City on the evening of 20 August 2022. Based on the report filed by his colleagues, five men forcibly took Tauli inside a white Sportivo. The group also acquired a CCTV footage showing five men from a red Innova entering their office at around 7:52 PM on the same night and left after five minutes. The group stressed that Tauli was subjected to numerous red-tagging, surveillance, and harassment prior to the abduction.

CPA announced that Tauli was found on 21 August 2022, at around 10 PM through the search they initiated, “including persistent calls made to the local government units, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”

CHR is gravely alarmed by this attack against an elderly activist. Simultaneous with the motu propio probe being conducted by the CHR – Cordillera Administrative Region, we equally expect resolute investigation by the local authorities and the PNP to ascertain truth and accountability on this latest violation against a staunch advocate of IP and human rights.

The Commission continues to monitor the continuing trend of hostility against members of progressive groups. We reiterate our fervent clamor to the government to ensure the protection and welfare of all individuals and groups, regardless of socio-political affiliations and ideological beliefs, to genuinely demonstrate its unity agenda that should cater to the rights of all. ###