August 23, 2009 in national
MANILA — “The time has come for us to step up to another field of parliamentary struggle,” this was the statement of Nelson Mallari, Secretary General of KATRIBU Partylist, as they filed for accreditation for partylist to the Commission on Elections.
Together with other representatives of indigenous people from Cordillera and Mindanao, the group held a small march accompanied by sound of gongs, an indigenous instrument, toward the office of COMELEC in the Palacio de Gobernador in Intramuros Manila.
The group cited government institution’s failure to uphold their rights as one of their reasons why they decided to run for partylist. “Since time in memorial, we have been marginalized in terms of economic, culture and even in the field of political representation. We may have indigenous leaders in Congress but they have failed to carry out the interest of the indigenous people,” Mallari explained.
“We even have an institution mandated and created to protect our rights and our land, the National Indigenous Peoples Commission (NCIP) but even that has failed the indigenous people,” Mallari added.
The inutility of different government agencies have pushed us decide that we must chart and to push our own agendas by ourselves. What we get from traditional congressional leaders and NCIP is nothing but pseudo representation and we cannot let that happen anymore,” Mallari further explained.
However the group recognized the grim state of the Philippine politics, “We are aware that to win an election you have the power of 3-G, goons, guns and gold, and being the poorest of the poor among the various sector of the nation, going into the political system of the elite will not be walk-in-the-park for us.”
But despite the grim characteristic of the election, the group is very positive that the people will accept them and will be given a chance during elections. “What we carry is a platform made by and for the indigenous people themselves; and what we have learned from our friends from BAYAN MUNA and other progressive party lists, is that they can win even without the 3 Gs, as long as the people embrace your pro people agenda.”
The group boosts that they will push for a politics of change putting the rights of the indigenous people at the forefront. “We will push for a genuine recognition of the indigenous people’s right to self-determination, self-governance and genuine autonomy, defend the ancestral domains and resources and protect the environment from destruction and unbridled exploitation.”
“We have a long and rich experience in the parliament of the street. This and together with help of the widest number of indigenous people, we are hoping that we can conquer a higher field of parliamentary struggle,” Mallari said.
The group experienced an early taste of discrimination from the officer and security of the COMELEC building as they were barred to enter the building. Nelson Mallari, wearing a bahag (indigenous g-string) was initially not permitted to enter the COMELEC premises. Wearing a bahag is part of our culture, it is normal to us to wear bahag when attending important matters and we want to show that we are not a bogus partylist and that Katribu partylist is a partylist of the indigenous people.” Mallari ended # nordis.net