DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao, an alliance of several town-based Lumad organizations expressed indignation at the joint resolution issued by the Regional Peace and Order Council 11 and the Regional Defense Council 11, which urged the office of the president to review the existing memorandum of agreement between the Department of Social Welfare and Development and PASAKA.
In a copy of the Joint Resolution no.1 Series of 2017 furnished to Davao Today, PASAKA was tagged as an organization affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines, and was branded as an enemy of the state.
“The situation gives a wrong signal to the public, particularly the communities served by such NGO, that the enemy of the government is the one delivering the said services with funds coming from the government and without the knowledge of the [local chief executives],” said the joint resolution, which was signed by RDC 11 chair Gov. Anthony Del Rosario, RPOC chair Gov. Jaybe Tyron Uy, Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The resolution also laid the blame on PASAKA for the bloody dispersal of a mass mobilization in Kidapawan April of last year.
“The military sector expressed particular concern as to why the Department of Social Welfare and Developement has accredited the (PASAKA) when this NGO was responsible for inciting a bloody incident involving the Lumads in kidapawan City,” it said.
Other signatories to the document were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, 10th Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Rafael Valencia, and Eastern Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
Kerlan Fanagel, chairperson of PASAKA called the statements “malicious and “irresponsible” as it could endanger the leaders and members of the group, especially under Martial Law.
Fanagel maintained that PASAKA is a legitimate organization formed by several grassroots based Lumad organizations.
Fanagel said the MOU was a “victory” earned by the Lumad after they journeyed to Manila in order to put attention to the plight of the Lumad.
He said the MOU was signed on April 21, about three weeks into the protest caravan that they mounted in front of the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.
Fanagel said they will be issuing an official reply in the coming days.
In response, DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo calrified that they entered into a memorandum of understanding, not a MOA as stated in the RPOC 11 – RDC 11 joint resolution.
Taguiwalo also noted that their move to partner with PASAKA coincided with their mandate of “implementing programs that will alleviate poverty and empower disadvantaged individuals, families and communities for an improved quality of life…”
In a copy of the letter dated May 16 2017 issued to RDC 11 Vice Chairperson and National Economic Development Authority 11 Regional Director Ma. Lourdes Lim, Taguiwalo showed that it was President Rodrigo Duterte himself who promised to lend assistance to the representatives of the PASAKA in a meeting for the rehabilitation of the Lumad communities.
“Whereas, the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his first State of the National address and in a meeting with Lumad leaders where the SECOND PARTY is represented, assured the displaced Lumad communities that they would be assisted by the government to ensure that they will return to their lands as soon as possible,” it said.
The Second Party refers to representatives of PASAKA, whom Duterte met after his SONA. They were among the groups who staged a “peaceful” rally in support of Duterte’s “progressive” programs.
Taguiwalo however, said the implementation of the projects would still be up for review.
“Despite being surprised at this apparant resistance to DSWD’s move to facilitate assistance to the Lumads, the DSWD will welcome any review of the MOU,” she said.
The MOU in question enabled the DSWD to facilitate the complete rehabilitation of the displaced Lumad in their communities in Talaingod, Kapalong, Arakan, and Bukidnon, among others.
The MOU would give the Lumad access to DSWD programs such as Cash for Work, Social Pension to qualified older persons, Feeding Programs, sustainable livelihood programs, and the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer-Indigenous Peoples.
The MOU also provided for the relief items, establishment of community kitchen during disasters, the construction of community tribal centers, and water source system.(davaotoday.com)AFP, duterte, Kerlan Fanagel, lumad, Lumad Evacuees, militarization, Mindanao, philippines