By ALDIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The widest alliance of indigenous peoples (IPs) organization in the Cordillera reiterates its call to abolish the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) amidst the allocation of P1,000 budget for 2018 by the House of Congress.
On Tuesday, September 12, 119 congressmen voted in favor of the proposal to slash the 2018 budget of NCIP to P1000. Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate authored the bill against the agency which he said failed to stand up by its mandate to protect the IPs.
The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) stated that the NCIP served as a tool for further oppression of indigenous peoples across the country for the institutionalisation of ancestral land grabbing for capitalist mining and other destructive projects and outright violation of indigenous peoples right to self-determination.
According to CPA, the NCIP was created by the passage of 1997 of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in 1997 as a result of efforts of various lobby groups and non-government organizations. The IP organization added that as time passed since NCIP was established,the actual practice of the government through the NCIP unmasked the deceptive nature of the law and its utilization to advance corporate energy and mining interests, disenfranchise IPs of their ancestral lands, coopt and pit indigenous communities against each other.
CPA said the state manipulated the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) provision to facilitate the entry of destructive projects within ancestral lands. FPIC is provided by the law to empower the IPs on protecting their ancestral lands and territories against projects they deem destructive and violative of their rights and identity.
CPA said the NCIP failed to look and act on the cases of killings of IP leaders and community members who stood against the destruction of their land and for the rights of their fellow IPs. “Not once did the NCIP make a stand in defense of indigenous human rights defenders,” CPA stressed.
CPA condemns NCIP’s silence on the continuing extrajudicial killings of IP leaders and militarization of their communities resulting in various human rights violations. The IP organization also added that NCIP must also be held accountable for these killings and human rights violations.
“State militarization accompanies the entry of capitalist mining and energy projects, as the Cordillera experience clearly shows. Such injustice and accumulated anger of communities who have been marginalized through the years fueled the call to Scrap IPRA and Abolish NCIP,” CPA reiterated.
CPA stressed that that the IP’s strategic and best option is to firmly and consistently reject IPRA as an inutile and deceptive law and sustain the call for the abolition of NCIP, while asserting self-determination and people’s empowerment at the grassroots level as an immediate alternative. # nordis.net