Editorial: Duterte no heart for national minorities

www.nordis.net

The message the recent State of the Nations Address has not really thought out the state of the country’s national minorities or indigenous peoples, if it did not purposely leave them out. It did not have the courage to even brush through or admit they are the Filipinos who still occupy and hold ancestral ownership to the last frontiers of the archipelago’s natural habitats and resources or whatever is left of it.

Our president who at several occasions declared himself a leftist has, in his first year as top manager of government, turned right too many times to be recognized as having a left side. Wikipedia says, ‘the phrase “the Left” was used to describe those who supported trade unions, the civil rights movement and the anti-war movements.’ Just by this description he is put very well in place where he has revealed that his brand or promise for change was not for the good of the greater Filipino population. It was not for the poor and very much more it was not for the greater number of poor tribal Filipinos, Igorot, Lumad, indigenous people or the Filipino national minority.

He promised to ban contractualization, he made it worst with the oppressive DOLE Department Order No. 168. He said he would uphold the rights of the Filipinos, he has given way to the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users by described state police forces (almost 10,000 EJKs in less than a year). He promised to defend the nation, why does the strategic oil rich Spratly group of Islands sound like it has been sold to another rich colonizer? The country used to amply produce its own needs for rice and sustenance, why is government importing a surplus in rice and fresh produce and yet a majority can not have enough to eat? Nor do the farmers/peasants have land to till? Are these only questions to raise in conversations or is this a reflection of actual conditions in Filipino society.

Progressive indigenous peoples and Moros openly supported Duterte in the campaign and elections last year for his tirade against US war crimes committed against the Moros, as well as his statements to respect the indigenous peoples’ right to ancestral lands.

To this day even with a president who claims to be a leftist, the rights of the Cordillera and other northern Luzon national minorities to their ancestral lands and domain, and even to their culture and traditions are not respected. Like the Lumads, their communities too are bombed, forcibly occupied by military units or simply militarized, their farms and resources awarded to large investments in energy, mining, corporate plantations and tourist enclaves.

That one year of Duterte bullying has only revealed, reiterated and strengthened the correctness of the peoples’ alternative to organize their ranks for the achievement of their common causes, goals and for the protection of their Lives, Land and resources, and to staunchly defend the future of our generations.

Stand up with others for your common human rights. # nordis.net

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