In the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the Katribu again calls for the resumption of peace talks and a stop to the all out war by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). KATRIBU condemns the AFP for its maniacal rampage in the countryside against indigenous communities.
Just 3 weeks after the open declaration of an all-out war, 3 indigenous peoples were killed by the AFP and at least 1,132 evacuated from their communities in Alabel, Saranggani; Lambunao, Iloilo; Namal, Ifugao; and Maddela, Quirino due to the intensified military combat operations. The most vulnerable of these attacks are indigenous women and children.
The all-out war is proving to be a war against the people. Before the all-out war, since July 2016, at least 16 indigenous peoples (IP) have become victims of extrajudicial killings. They were community leaders, officers of IP organizations and advocates for just peace who were active in campaigns opposing large-scale and destructive mining, logging, plantations, land grabbing, paramilitary groups and militarism.
Among the 16 victims are 2 women and a minor. The recent attacks prove that the saboteurs inside the AFP have never been sincere in pursuing the genuine path to peace. The AFP has long aided destructive mining corporations, agro-industrial companies, and local oligarchs in their quest to encroach our ancestral lands to plunder our resources. Empowered by policies and institutions such as the Mining Act of 1995 and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and by seducing and coercing indigenous groups into joining paramilitary groups; the government has long been advocating the destruction of our communities through deception and violence.
We had high hopes when the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) formally resumed. Our long-ignored pleas for the respect of our right to ancestral lands and self-determination and our call to an end to militarization of the countryside were put into agenda by both camps, a move that could have paved the way to uplifting our communities and extinguishing the flames of war. However, the warmongers in the Duterte Administration have prevailed and are now calling the shots in making sure that the oligarchs, foreign corporations and destructive mining companies will have their way in extorting the wealth of our people.
We call on our fellow Filipinos and indigenous peoples’ rights advocates to join us in putting a stop to the already turning gears of war. The Duterte Administration must stay its hand from violating our communities by stopping the ethnocidal all-out war and we must compel it to continue the peace talks with the NDFP. Militaristic solutions to end armed revolution rooted in decades of oppression and poverty will always fail and cause grave atrocities against the people. History has proven that the people will never cower amidst the bloodshed brought upon by the AFP. It will only make us resolute in fighting for our rights and will further spur unity in indigenous communities. President Duterte must stop his genocidal campaign or face the wrath of the united people. # nordis.net