12 April 2013
Indigenous peoples (IP) presented the “IP Electoral Agenda” in a candidates’ electoral forum led by the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas and Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement held in Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman, Quezon City today.
Katribu Party-list Secretary General Kakay Tolentino said that the Indigenous Peoples’ Electoral Agenda restates the same demands that various indigenous peoples organizations submitted to President Benigno Aquino after his inauguration in July 2010.
“Almost three years into the Aquino administration, the government has yet to make positive actions over the legitimate and urgent demands that the indigenous peoples laid out,” Tolentino said. “The coming election is another chance to air these grievances, and demand action from candidates who vie for the people’s votes. So we ask, what’s your platform for IPs?”
The Indigenous Peoples Electoral Agenda addresses the violations of the rights of indigenous peoples to own, use, and manage their ancestral lands and resources found therein. These rights are grossly violated by the influx of dams, mining and other projects that encroach on their territories. The indigenous peoples also demand justice for victims of human rights violations, and to end the impunity of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations. It also calls for adequate and appropriate social services, and respect for culture against discrimination and commercialization.
“The Aquino government did not heed to our demands. It fails to protect the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples. We expect that candidates asking for our votes to fully commit to the IP Electoral Agenda,” Tolentino stated.
Included in the IP Electoral Agenda is the call for repeal of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of the People’s Mining Bill. It also calls for the scrapping of the counterinsurgency scheme Oplan Bayanihan.
“The candidates’ position on these particular laws and policies will separate the grain from the chaff,” Tolentino said, adding that, “These laws and policies that gravely violate our collective rights must be junked.”
Kakay Tolentino 0917-8364710