DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Due to unabated killings against indigenous people, an ethnic group filed a formal complaint against the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the NDFP-GRP rights monitoring committee for violation of a landmark agreement signed in 1998.
In a press statement on Thursday, Katribu said that AFP grossly violated the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), particularly, the AFP’s continued counter-insurgency operations targetting Lumad communities across the country.
“The AFP’s All Out War and counter-insurgency policy Oplan Kapayapaan should stop. Communities of indigenous peoples or national minorities are getting bombed. Families are forced to evacuate and leave their homes and fields to escape the wrath of the AFP troops,” Kakay Tolentino, a Dumagat leader of Katribu said.
Katribu is a national alliance of regional and provincial indigenous peoples’ organizations representing various indigenous communities in the Philippines.
Katribu filed the complaints as the Philippines is going through the process of United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review. He said that an expert on refugees, named as William O’Neil is scheduled to visit the Joint Monitoring Committee of the GRP-NDFP for the implementation of the CARHRIHL.
“It is such a shame that while peace negotiations are on-going between the NDFP and the Duterte government tackling socioeconomic reforms, indigenous peoples could not even tend to their fields. How can we participate in the drafting the reforms that we need as national minorities if we are running for their lives?” Tolentino said.
Tolentino, in particular, hit out the AFP’s Northern Luzon Command because of its “intensified military operations resulted to a week-long of forced evacuation in Namal, Ifugao.”
He added that “Lumad residents of Brgy. Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte were forced to leave behind their livestocks and vegetables because on March 15 the 29 IBPA’s bomb their community.”
“Our future becomes even more bleak with the recent appointment of Gloria Arroyo’s general Roy Cimatu as environment secretary. AFP’s all out war now comes with all out mining. Ancestral lands of national minorities will further be militarized to more incursion of large scale mining. We fear that more terror in Lumad communities are to come,” Tolentino lamented. (davaotoday.com)