Major Medel Aguilar is discriminatory and ignorant of Lumad rights — Pasaka

Jun. 20, 2008

Major Medel Aguilar has proven all the more how ignorant he is about the rights of indigenous peoples. His statements are condemnable as they are overwhelmingly discriminatory and disrespectful. He has no right to say these Lumads have no legitimate claims over the ancestral land which they have tended for years.

This was the statement made by datu Monico Cayog, vice-chairperson of the Pasaka confederation of Lumad organizations. Major Aguilar’s statement robs (the Lumads) of the innate right to claim that the land they have tended is their ancestral land.

Datu Monico, a bagobo from Sta. Cruz Davao del Sur, advised major Medel Aguilar of the 5th civil relations group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which was adopted by the UN on September `13, 2007.

Invoking article 26 of the UNDRIP, Cayog stated that Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use as well as those they have otherwise acquired.

Cayog said that contrary to the baseless and made-up facts of Aguilar, the ata-matigsalug Lumads who come from Sitio Bermuda, Monkayo and Bgry. Mangayon, Compostela town, are historically from Talaingod- Bukidnon.

According to the oral history passed on by the elders of the tribe, the whole tribe relocated to Compostela Valley province some 18 to 20 years ago after a military campaign razed their whole community to the ground. Since then, two generations of Ata-Matigsalug lumads have already been borne in their ancestral land in Compostela.

These people deserve to call this land their ancestral territory regardless what the Major Aguilar or other genealogist would dare say. They have tended their land, and managed to continue to practice their socio-political and cultural systems in that territory, Cayog asserted.

Cayog stressed that the Ata-MAtigsalug Lumads now seeking refuge in the Bankerohan gym is a glaring example of a tribe which suffers from a vicious cycle and history of military-perpetrated /enforced displacement.

Cayog said they have already forwarded the complaints of human rights violations filed by ata-matigsalug Lumads to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). This committee is under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights which looks into discrimination cases committed against indigenous peoples.

Dismissing accusations that the Lumads were being used, Pasaka will submit Major Aguilar’s recent statements as a showcase of the institutionalized discrimination perpetrated by the military and the state against indigenous peoples.

A Mindanao-wide consultation for CERD will be held in Davao City on June 16 to 18, 2008 led by the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Monitor (IPRM).

For reference:

Datu Monico Cayog

Vice-Chairperson

Pasaka confederation of Lumad organizations in southern Mindanao

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  • Datu Joel Unad

    PASAKA? NPA gihapon na. Datu lagi pero nagpagamit man sa NPA. Maayu pa siguro, mag-istorya ta arun makabalo ka. IPRA ang atung gigamit dinhi. Tanang tribo nakabalo ana. Ikaw ra ang wa kasabut kay sa NPA man nagsalig.

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