Walden Bello, a prominent activist in the global justice movement and frequent contributor to the NI, has been included on a hitlist issued by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its paramilitary wing, the New People’s Army. The list of 15 people condemned as ‘counter-revolutionaries’ appeared in the December 2004 issue of Ang Bayan, the principal organ of the CPP. Two of those on the list, Arturo Tabara and Filemon Lagman, have already been assassinated while another, Ricardo Reyes, has been forced into hiding. Among the others still under threat are internationalist activist Lidy Nacpil and Etta Rosales, head of the human rights committee of the Philippines House of Representatives.
Bello is executive director of Focus on the Global South and a long-standing campaigner for social justice and against US intervention. He won the 2003 Right Livelihood Award (or Alternative Nobel Prize) for ‘outstanding efforts in educating civil society about the effects of corporate globalization, and how alternatives to it can be implemented’. The CPP now charges him with being an agent of US imperialism, while the global justice movement worldwide is described as a front for capitalism.
The CPP charges are ludicrous, emerging from narrow sectarianism, but the death threats are very real. The NI joins its voice to other civil-society groups the world over in deploring not only this specific threat but the use of assassination in any circumstances, whether deployed by rebel groups or by governments.