QUEZON CITY – Lumads who marched from Mindanao and have converged here picketed at the national office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to demand its closure for alleged failure to solve Lumad killings in Mindanao.
“They [NCIP] are the ones who initiated the creation of paramilitary groups,” said Bai Christina Lagdao, a female Matigsalug leader from Compostela Valley in Davao Region.
She said paramilitary groups are recruited from the Lumad communities and trained by soldiers. The groups have been blamed for the series of killings of Lumad leaders and activists in Mindanao.
Lagdao said that “the NCIP does nothing and not serious on the plight of the lumads in Mindanao. It does not help solve the killings.”
But NCIP Spokesman, Jonathan Adaci said the call of protest is “nothing new”.
“Every now and then we get this call to close the agency. With all due respect we are hearing their voices, getting their voices, how we wish that this is the true sentiments of the Lumad community involved,” he said.
On the issue of the killing of Lumads, Adaci said “there is already an ongoing investigation [and] the NCIP has issued resolution condemning the killings”.
When asked on the results of the investigation on the killings, he said “the NCIP does not have the authority to disclose the results for it is now in hands of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).”
“We gather several IP leaders and they were able to issue statement of their own,” he said. The gist of the statement, according to Adaci, is “to pull out all not just the armed groups in Lumad communities but also the non-goverment organizations, civil society organizations, and local government unit.”
He added that historically, “the IPs has resolved (issues) on their own,” adding that, “the leaders who issued the statement are legitimate Lumad leaders who are identified by the agency.”
Asked to comment on the issue of “legitimate leaders”, Secretary General of the Pasaka Lumad Confederation in Mindanao Jhong Monzon, said that “those leaders are the ones who used other Lumads.”
“They allow the entry of destructive mining in Lumad communities,” he said.
Monzon also said that the killings of Lumads “cannot be resolved on how the legitimate leaders wanted because those leaders are the ones who pimp our tribe to the mining companies, the military, and paramilitary groups.”
Monzon has questioned the sincerity of the NCIP to listen to their grievances.
“If they are listening to our grievances, if they already know the grievances of the lumads, they remained blind and deaf,” he said.
He added that up to now, the series of lumad massacres are still hanging and justice has not been given.
The picket left placards that said “NCIP Inutil”.
They also left a “notice of closure” from the people of Mindanao for the agency’s inaction towards the lumad issue at the door of the office which resulted to commotion as the guards tried to stop the protesters. (davaotoday.com)