December 21, 2009 in Featured
By CONYAP G.
BONTOC, Mt. Province — Acknowledging that the militarization of Indigenous Peoples’ territories such as the case in some parts of this province and in the Cordillera region as not an isolated case, a newly accredited partylist representing the indigenous peoples urged respect for laws and t IP lands.
The group asked for an end to the militarization of IP territories saying the Philippine government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) must respect and uphold the laws covering IP rights as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The UNDRIP clearly states that the armed forces must respect Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of IPs not only with regards to government and foreign projects, but of military deployment as well.
Beverly Longid, Katribu PartyList president and first nominee said intensive militarization of IP communities, which she said is national in scope, serves both as counter-insurgency measure and as security forces backing foreign economic interests and investments in the country.
IP territories are said to be militarized due to their rich mineral resources that are moslty covered by local and foreign economic interests.
Longid said that when IPs assert their ancestral land rights, they are tagged anti-government and thus a target for military operations.
They are also said to be often tagged as New Peoples Army guerillas or sympathizers just because they live in the hinterlands.
Longid called for the the government to stop the recruitment of civilians and IPs into the Civilian Auxilliary Forses Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and other para-military groups because she said recruitment of natives into the CAFGU and other para-military groups only increases incidents of inter-tribal conflicts and human rights violations in the areas.
Displacement of IPs is an outright effect of militarization as they are forced out of their communities everytime there are military operations in their areas.
Economic and livelihood activities such as pasturing cows, gathering firewood, and traditional mining are disrupted during operations.
These effects are on top of the fact that IP communities are difficult to access thus, services by government and private institutions are hard to come by. # nordis.net