Dear Editor,

I just want to express my sentiment and concern regarding the decision of LGU-Baguio in awarding Jill Cariño, the Vice Chairperson of Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), for her supposedly “unwavering commitment” to human rights advocacy. What is happening to LGU Baguio?

Even though it is important to honor those who truly support these human rights principles, it is alarming to know that this recognition was given to someone whose actions go against the said principles.

As we all know, the leader of CPA, Windel Bolinget together with three other personalities, were already declared by the Anti-Terrorism Council as terrorists. Isn’t it obvious that the leader of the CPA has been declared a terrorist; so, all those connected to him will also be suspected of doing something strange, of course, this includes the organization as well.

 Awarding her for her supposed advocacy efforts is not only misleading but also challenges the credibility of the local government’s commitment to genuine human rights causes. It is hard to tell who truly supports human rights and those who only exploit these principles because of a hidden agenda.

As a peace-loving person, I think that terrorists have no place being recognized or awarded by any government institution, especially not by a local government that must keep its constituents safe. Terrorism is the opposite of peace, and people linked with such acts should be held accountable, not celebrated.

Instead of honoring individuals associated to terrorism, the local government should focus on supporting and recognizing the efforts of genuine human rights advocates and those who work for peace and equality. This action also sends a disturbing message to the community as well as the country. It legitimizes her actions, which aims to destabilizing the government and promoting extremist ideologies, including communism.

Why ignore Jill Cariño’s links to terrorism and choose to commend her for her supposed advocacy efforts? What message does this send to law-abiding citizens who trust their government to sustain and protect their rights?

I urge the local government officials to reconsider their decision in awarding recognition to individuals with questionable motives and to uphold the principles of justice, peace and democracy that are essential to the society. Terrorism should never be rewarded or glorified, and those who engage in such acts must be held accountable for their actions. ### Janine A. Martin