Philippines: Amidst Militarization Human Rights Violation - NCIP Failed To Provide Support To The Indigenous Peoples


Progressive indigenous partylist, KATRIBU together with KAHUGPONGAN SA LUMADNONG ORGANISASYON – Caraga and Kalumbay and Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas(KAMP) held a picket protest at the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) to call for immediate action against militarization and the influx of destructive mining in CARAGA and northern Mindanao region.


According to Genasque Enriquez, a Manobo and Vice President of KATRIBU Partylist, “Since the influx of mining projects in our community and the start of militarization last 2011, the NCIP in our region didn't provide assistance and welfare to the indigenous people who were forced to evacuate from their land”


As of April 15, 2012 there are 351 families with about 1140 individuals from Brgy. Mahaba and Brgy. Puting Bato in Cabadbaran City; Manhumapay in Zapanta Valley, Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao, all in Agusan del Norte; Brgy. Ferlda in Alegria and Brgy. Camam-onan, Guigaquit, in Surigao del Norte have been staying in three different evacuation center in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur


“Sadly, the government official and agency in the region have been denying the existence of these evacuees”, Mr. Enriques lamented.


In a dialogue initiated by the group last April 12-15, NCIP Regional Director Dominador Gomez said that they cannot provide help to the evacuees because their office lacks financial capacity and there is no data on lumad evacuees reported to him by his subordinate from municipal and provincial office.


“NCIP, which is tasked by the Constitution to protect the indigenous people, has turned a lame duck when it comes to protecting the rights of the indigenous people, but it’s very efficient in facilitating pseudo development projects in our region,” Mr. Enriques added.


“NCIP’s inutile action in our region has forced us to seek the help of the NCIP National office.”


The group has demanded the national office of NCIP to take immediate action against the intense combat military operation in the said region.


“Since March of this year, combat military operations are conducted by military elements from the 30th and 38th IBPA and the 3rd Special Forces of the 402nd Brigade together with different lumad paramilitary groups. They indiscriminately carried aerial strikes and bombings near our communities and tribal hunting grounds at the tri-boundary area of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Sur, thus putting the lives of lumad and peasants in the said areas at great risk.”


Since NCIP is directly under the office of the President, they can call on the President to stop the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan, the counter-insurgency policy of the Aquino Government, and to revoke the Executive Order 546, an EO by former President Arroyo which authorized the formation of paramilitary groups in indigenous communities. They also call for the immediate stopping of all combat military operations and to pull out military and paramilitary troops in our ancestral communities.


President Aquino promised during the 2010 election to revoke the EO 546 but failed to do so.


According to the group, military operations in their communities are being conducted to facilitate the entry of large and destructive projects such as mining and dam applications in the area of Surigao Integrated Resources Corp- Claver, Surigao del Norte, Carac-an Development Corp. in Carrascal and Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur as well as Taganito Mining Corporation-in Claver, Surigao del Norte.


The group also calls for immediate assistance for the evacuees in different evacuation sites in Agusan del Norte and Surigao del sur. “As evacuees, the lack of support from concerned government agencies is “double whammy” to our dire situation. Uprooting us from land also deprives us to tend and cultivate our land. Our forcible displacement has disrupted our socio-economic life.


“We are also calling the NCIP to conduct an investigation of all cases of violations of our collective and human rights as indigenous peoples in CARAGA and Northern Mindanao, and expedite the prosecution of all the perpetrators accountable to this violation."


Fact finding mission by the group has yield significant human rights violation such as divestment and destruction of private property, frustrated killing of Balodoy Enano, Toto Calisangan, Bukas Pradas, the 3 are Mamanwas who were shot by elements of the 30th IBPA while gathering firewood in the forest. Cases of post-traumatic syndrome were likewise recorded. Military personnel have also used civilian house and government facilities such as school and baranggay hall as their sleeping quarter.


The group also calls for the genuine protection of the indigenous people’s right amidst the influx of different development project in our ancestral land. “Development should be geared toward uplifting the lives of the people; it shouldn't mean the destruction of people lives for the benefit of the few.”


Source: KATRIBU External link

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