Statements: Philippine Independence, 120th year of Delusion

By PHILIPPINE TASK FORCE FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
www.nordis.net

June 12, 2018

The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination. – Section 7. Article II. DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES, 1987 Constitution.

The Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples Rights (TFIP) joins the nation in commemorating the Philippines’ Declaration of Independence from Spanish colonization 120 years ago. Yet, we recognize this day as a delusion of independence as foreign monopoly control continues throughout the country.

Private and multinational corporations, abetted and welcomed by government officials, freely plunder Indigenous Peoples’ land and resources in violation of our culture and patrimony. Mega-dams, large-scale mining corporations, plantations and other destructive projects, are desecrating Indigenous Peoples communities and ancestral domains, leading to widespread displacement and violation of indigenous peoples’ rights.

A few recent examples illustrate this fact. In Panay, the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project funded by the Korean Export Import Bank is poised to displace thousands of indigenous Tumandok people from their ancestral lands and threatens 8 downstream municipalities of the Jalaur River in the likely event of a strong earthquake, due to its proximity to the West Panay fault. In Palawan, the Pelawan tribe have been opposing the mining exploration in their ancestral lands by Pyramid Hill Mining and Industrial Corporation ever since the DENR granted the company an exploration permit in 2001.

In Tarlac and Pampanga, the Ayta have mobilized to resist the operations of Guangxi Hydroelectric Construction Bureau Co. Ltd, Clarete Vibro Sand Processing Company, T.A.G. Mineral Resources Incorporated, and Powerzun Quarrying and Trading Incorporated. These companies are destroying their ancestral land and water resources through indiscriminate release of chemicals from trucks and company equipment, which have contaminated the drinking water and severely affected the water systems used by the Ayta indigenous tribes for producing crops.

In Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato, the David M. Consunji Incorporated (DMCI) has monopolized ancestral lands for destructive logging, coffee and monocrop tree plantations. The company used the armed force of the military to attack the Tboli and Dulangan Manobo peoples who were voicing their rightful dissent against these destructive projects and investments. This led to the massacre of 8 people by the military, as the indigenous people of Lake Sebu asserted their land rights and occupied a portion of their ancestral domain.

Oplan Kapayapaan, the purported counter-insurgency operation plan of the military, and the counter-terrorism Oplan Pacific Eagle of the US, have been used to justify attacks against indigenous peoples communities nationwide. In truth, State fascism and political repression are used to serve the interests of foreign-monopoly capitalists, leading to massive bombings, forced evacuation, vilification, trumped-up charges, harassment and killing of indigenous leaders, human rights defenders and advocates resisting destructive community projects.

These acts of terror committed against the people demonstrate a disrespect of the lives and culture of Indigenous Peoples including the Igorot of the Cordillera, the Ayta in Central Luzon, the Dumagat in Rizal and Quezon, the Mangyan of Mindoro, the Pelawan of Palawan, Mamanwa in Agusan del Sur, the Blaan in Sarangani, other Lumad and Moro people in Mindanao, among many others.

As indigenous peoples defend their lands and lives against predators and foreign interests, we call for a stop to land grabbing of ancestral domains leading to ethnocide of indigenous peoples. We seek justice for all forms human rights violations and will continue to defend and uphold Indigenous Peoples’ rights to ancestral land and self-determination. We call on all peace-loving Filipinos to work together to end tyranny in our country and pursue genuine independence and sovereignty for the whole Filipino nation.# nordis.net

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