By NORWIN GONZALES
BAGUIO CITY — On May 16-17, 2018, Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU) and Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP) submitted cases of massacre, killings, displacement, attacks on schools, illegal detention and arrest of indigenous peoples (IPs) communities, leaders and members to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNSRRIP) Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.
In the gathering, witnesses, family members and even survivors themselves shared their stories which they say “have fallen on deaf ears.”
They forwarded the Lake Sebu Massacre where 8 Lumad were killed, believed to have been perpetrated by state agents.
They also filed a consolidated complaint on the attacks on community schools of the Lumad which led to destruction of school property, military encampment, harassment, illegal arrest and killing of teachers and students. This includes the extrajudicial killing (EJK) of Obello Bay-ao, a Grade 7 student killed by a known state-sponsored paramilitary group called Alamara.
In Southern Tagalog, adding to the list of EJKs is that of, Erning Aykid and Aylan Lantoy on September 15, 2017.
There is also the violation of collective rights to land and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and the criminalization of anti-mining community members in Palawan and anti-dam community leaders in Rizal, Quezon and Iloilo.
Due to miilitary operations, Surigao del Sur IPs had suffered repeated displacement. Meanwhile, Sarangani has experienced aerial bombardments during these operations.
In Northern Luzon, there is the series of forced surrender and vilification in Cagayan Valley. There is also the aerial bombing in Abra that damaged the livelihood of the residents and caused fear among them. Ricardo Mayumi was killed in his house by gunmen in Ifugao, and activists in the province are victims of continued vilification.
Rachel Mariano, a woman human rights defender slapped with trumped-up charges submitted to Tauli-Corpuz a few additional points.
Mariano underscored the importance of highlighting indigenous, collective rights to land rather than giving in to commercial, corporate interests. She added that human rights violations against indigenous peoples should be thoroughly investigated.
She followed through with a demand to pull out paramilitary groups such as the Citizen’s Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) as a move to demilitarize indigenous peoples’ communities.
Mariano also demanded that adequate basic social services, including housing, education, health, food and drinking water, be made available to all indigenous peoples in the country.
Mariano also said that maximum protection should be given to human rights defenders in the country. She ended with saying that the Philippine government should request a Philippine office from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for “technical cooperation.”
Tauli-Corpuz welcomed the submissions and ensured swift action regarding the complaints. Tauli-Corpuz herself is a victim of harassment via the Department of Justice proscription list tagging her as a terrorist, along with several others from the Cordillera.
She will be forwarding a communication to the Philippine government on the submitted cases of violations on the rights of indigenous peoples and will be following up the government on the request for her to conduct an official visit to the country.
She is currently working on a thematic report on the criminalisation of indigenous peoples rights defenders which will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council in September 2018. #nordis.net