By MYRA DELA CRUZ/TFIP
MANILA — Indigenous Peoples groups led by the Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU) and BAI Indigenous Women’s Network trooped to the office of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) to file complaints against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines on 3 July 2018 for the human rights violations its security forces and officials committed against members of indigenous communities and organizations.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte came into power in 2016, indigenous and human rights groups documented a trend of violations of land rights entwined with violations of civil and political rights. Human rights abuses are rampant in areas where indigenous peoples strongly oppose the entry of privately-owned monocrop plantations, infrastructure and energy projects, and large-scale mining.
A total of 60 cases involving extrajudicial killing, forced surrender, torture, trumped up charges, vilification, and destruction and divestment of properties were collated and submitted to the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The filing was done with help from Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples Rights (TFIP) and Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL),.
As was observed with the cases across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, the individual victims and their communities are regarded as supporters, if not combatants, of the New People’s Army (NPA). The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) justify their brutality by red-tagging people as if being a revolutionary strip off one’s human rights. In most of the monitored cases, the government soldiers were grossly violating the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
Despite Malacañang’s pronouncement regarding their delay of the supposed fifth round of Peace talks, the indigenous peoples urge the Duterte administration to sincerely take action in addressing poverty that beset not just the IPs but everyone in the country. Its war against human rights violators should be as intense as its war against criminals and those involved in illegal drugs.
The indigenous peoples in the Philippines reiterate the need for the Philippine government and the NDFP to discuss the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) to end hostilities between the NPA and the state forces and address the very roots of the armed conflict. KATRIBU Secretary General, Pya Malayao, maintains that “there will never be a cessation of hostilities if the basic needs of the vulnerable sectors, including indigenous peoples, are continuously deprived.”# nordis.net