KATRIBU PRESS RELEASE
DILIMAN, Quezon City — The Katribu Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu) commemorates this year’s Indigenous Peoples Month by holding its 5th National Congress and signify the indigenous peoples’ defiance against state fascism and plunder by the US-Duterte regime.
Despite the militarization of indigenous communities especially in Mindanao where martial law is in place, around 100 leaders representing more than 500 indigenous peoples (IP) organizations across different regions in the country assembled on October 25, 2018 at Bulwagang Tandang Sora, College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) in University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City.
“The timely and historic holding of Katribu’s 5th National Congress – the oldest and largest national alliance of IP organizations – serves as our current political shield against attempts to malign the legitimacy of our struggle and our rallying point to carry forward the fight for right to ancestral lands and self-determination.” averred by Pya Macliing Malayao, Katribu Secretary General.
Katribu noted that the unfounded statements of the AFP, labeling IPs particularly Lumads as “vulnerable targets” of CPP-NPA-NDF, only reveal the utter ignorance of their top-brass commanders about IP’s plight and historical struggle for land, life and rights.
“When the first colonizers set foot on the archipelago, the IPs indeed became the most vulnerable group in our society. Since then, we were vulnerable as our ancestral territories and resources were targets of all the colonizers and big business interests.” Malayao said.
“Today, the systematic and institutionalized encroachment of our ancestral lands by mining operations, logging concessions and corporate agri-plantations endangers even our very existence. Moreover, our condition is extremely vulnerable because of the impact of the counter-insurgency operations under Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan and Martial Law in Mindanao.” Malayao added.
Katribu stressed that the continuous AFP psywar operations aim to demonize and stifle the growing dissent and resistance movement of IPs against neoliberal economic program of the regime that opens our lands and resources for plunder to big foreign and local business interests.
“The Red October ploy is nothing but a preposterous concocted storyline to set the stage for a ‘red bloodbath’ and to intensify political persecution. It figuratively signals an open-season to hunt down and attack to IP leaders, activists and our legitimate organizations.” Malayao said.
Reports of IP harassment incidents, filing of trumped-up charges and illegal arrests, and terrorist tagging against IP leaders and advocates poured in after the alleged Red October plot was announced.
Katribu cited the incident on October 5 where Enercito Catapte, Junie Catapte and Lito Delicona, all leaders of SIDLAK Lumad organization were illegally arrested by elements of the 36th Infantry Battalion at Sitio Poog, Maitom, Tandag City, Surigao del Sur. The military spokesperson in the area claimed they were rebel returnees and falsely presented as New People’s Army (NPA) members.
On the same day, in Sitio Mahayag, Barangay Upper Suyuan, Malapatan, Saranggani Province, a B’laan farmer, Jimmy Ambat was shot dead in front of his house. The 73rd Infantry Battalion claimed that Ambat was a member of the NPA but his relatives and the community disputed the allegation.
“Notwithstanding these circumstances, our strong resolve to resist the culture of impunity and rising tyranny remains steadfast. The ongoing state fascism, crackdown and political killings strengthen our resolve to fightback. Our ancestors fought hard and even laid down their lives to defend our ancestral lands and assert our right to self-determination.
Now, our generation has the responsibility to do the same. We join the growing movement of the Filipino people to oust the puppet and fascist US-Duterte regime. Our struggle is part of the national democratic struggle for social liberation of the Filipino people..” Malayao ended. # nordis.net