Philippines: AMLC freezes bank accounts of red-tagged farmers’ group
15 Jun 2021

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has frozen the bank accounts of another organization allegedly linked to communist rebels, a move denounced by the human rights watchdog Karapatan as a violation of a United Nations declaration recognizing the right of groups and individuals to solicit and use funds to promote “fundamental freedoms.”

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on Friday said the order to freeze the accounts of Amihan, an organization of peasant women, was part of a “deplorable and orchestrated scheme to vilify” the group and other organizations as “terrorist fronts” in order to curtail their access to funds.

“That the government is clearly planning to replicate this scheme of restricting the resources and funding of organizations under the guise of counterterrorism is a threat to civil society,” Palabay said in a statement.

Terrorism financing

She said the order violated Article 13 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which stated that everyone had the right, “individually and in association with others, to solicit, receive and utilize resources for the express purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms through peaceful means.”

Amihan said it was notified by its bank on Wednesday that AMLC had issued a resolution to freeze its accounts.

Resolution No. TF-38 dated May 5 was supposedly in accordance with Section 11 of Republic Act No. 10168, or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, the group said.

It received also on Wednesday a Court of Appeals resolution that extended the freeze order by six months.

Bank accounts of eight other nongovernmental organizations and civil society groups based in Mindanao were also covered by the order, Amihan said.

“It is clear that this did not undergo due process as we were not given the chance to explain our side and answer the allegations,” Amihan said in a statement.

By Nikka G. Valenzuela, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 June 2021

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