By MYRA DELA CRUZ/TFIP
MANILA – Indigenous peoples (IP) and advocates for the rights of national minorities protested in front of the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the continued filing of trumped up charges against the IP.
The Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu), Philippine Taskforce for Indigenous Peoples Rights (TFIP) and the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-determination (IPMSDL) also submitted to the DOJ an international appeal to dismiss the DOJ’s fake proscription list that names IP leaders as alleged terrorists.
“The US-Duterte regime launched a systematic legal offensive as part of its counter-insurgency Oplan Kapayapaan that also targets the indigenous peoples movement. This aims to vilify, harass and intimidate the people fighting for their democratic rights. The legal offensive, led by the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), fabricates trumped-up charges and resulted to illegal arrests and arbitrary detention of activists and indigenous peoples,” said Pya Macliing Malayao, Katribu Secretary General.
From July 2016 to February 2018, Katribu monitored the illegal arrests of 178 IP and over a hundred fabricated criminal cases that include Lumad members of its National Council – Norma Capuyan, Genasque Enriquez and Lorna Mora. They are falsely charged with murder, frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms and explosives. To date, there are 24 IP political prisoners detained on trumped-up charges under the Duterte regime. Recently, Dumagat civilians of Brgy. Umiray, General Nakar, Quezon – Rockey Torres and Dandoy Avillaneda were illegally arrested on May 14 and tortured to admit that they killed a soldier in an encounter with the NPA.
“Human rights violations are employed to quell the IP resistance against destructive projects such as dams, large scale mining, eco-tourism projects, and plantations. An Ifugao leader, Ricardo Mayumi was killed because of his opposition to a hydroelectric project. Leaders of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance are included in the DOJ terror list and several Cordillera-based NGO development workers face trumped-up charges. The situation in Mindanao under martial law is worse. The prospects is dim as the Duterte government is indifferent to the human rights of its citizens, especially those who oppose its policies. There’s no other way but to unite against tyranny,” said Jill Carino, Convener of the TFIP.
“Despite this critical situation, we received overwhelming support and solidarity from the international community to the national minorities’ just struggles to defend our ancestral lands and assert our right to self-determination,” said Beverly Longid, IPMSDL Global Coordinator. Longid is one of the IP named in the DOJ proscription list of terrorists.
A “letter of concern on the increasing harassment and intimidation of indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders” was endorsed by 16 international organizations and 205 national organizations from 38 other countries from different global regions. An online petition was signed by more than 11,200 individuals from 113 countries.
The letter calls on the Philippine government to: “Dismiss the petition tagging indigenous peoples’ leaders, members and human rights defenders as terrorists; Ensure the physical safety of indigenous peoples’ leaders, members and human rights defenders; and Abide by State obligations to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including access to justice, freedom of expression and of association.” # nordis.net