By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
QUEZON CITY — National Minorities trooped to the national office of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) on Octoer 17 to demand the closure of the said government agency for its failure to serve its mandate-to protect the interest of indigenous people.
Amit Gabriel a Mangyan of Southern Tagalog accused NCIP officials of manipulating the free prior and infoormed consent (FPIC) process in favor of big business interests at the expense of indigenous people.
“Ang NCIP, ang pambansang konsumisyon, ang nagbibigay ng consent sa mga mapanirang proyekto, hindi ang mga IP,” Gabriel said.
Gabriel added that the national greening program (NGP) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is taking over IP ancestral land. He said that the NGP has restricted their access to their forests. He said that the NGP is just a scheme to ease them out of their territories.
He explained that under the NGP, the land area enrolled in the said program will be owned by the government.
Datu Jimboy Mandagit, a Tigwahanon-Manobo of Northern Mindanao said the NCIP should be made accountable for allowing an agro-business company to take over IP land resulting to the displacement and even death of IPs. He said that even the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) NCIP gave them is not being honored by foreign corporations.
“The CADT does not hold any ground because we are still being driven out of our land,” Mandagit stressed.
Mandagit further criticized NCIP for not lifting a finger even when IPs were being killed.
Windel Bolinget, an Igorot of Cordillera said the NCIP is the national commission on imperialist plunder. He said the commission became an instrument of trans-national corporations in plundering resources in IP ancestral lands.
“It is but just to call for the abolition of the NCIP for not serving the interest if IPs and worse for being instrumental in the sell out of ancestral lands and violations of IP rights,” Bolinget said.
Bolinget stressed that NCIP officials responsible for the flawed FPIC processes and other corrupt practices should be held accountable.
Robin Padilla, an actor joined the national minorities in their protest at the NCIP. He expressed his support to the demand of national minorities for the closure of the NCIP. He called on Presidnet Rodrigo Duterte to listen to the pleas of the protesting national minorities.
“Mahal na pangulo…narinig n’yo po ang kahilingan ng mga katutubo, kayo na po ang bahala,” (Beloved President…you heard the national minorities’ plea, it is now up to you) Padilla said.
Padilla reiterated that the national minorities, whom the NCIP should be serving are calling for its closure because the agency is not doing its job. # nordis.net