DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) has no moral ascendancy in criticizing the Talaingod 18 while mum on the attacks against indigenous peoples in the province of Davao del Norte who were defending their ancestral lands, militant lumad groups in Mindanao said.
The group of former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and ACT-Teachers Representative France Castro, including 16 others, collectively known as “Talaingod 18” were arrested last week of November after authorities blocked them in a police checkpoint in Sto. Nino village in Talaingod town. They were released later upon a court’s order after they posted a bailbond of P1,440,000.
The Talaingod 18 responded to a distress call after a lumad school in Sitio Dulyan was padlocked by the military and the paramilitary group, Alamara. As part of the humanitarian mission, the group was supposed to deliver food supplies after the military blocked earlier the entry of foods and services in the militarized area.
Both the lumad children and volunteer teachers of Salugpongan flee, fearing for their security and safety.
NCIP condemned the act of Talaingod 18 for “transporting minors without the consent of their parents, utter disregard of the rights of Ata-Manobo ICCs/IP of Talaingod Davao del Norte to their free and prior informed consent,manipulations and misinterpretation as to the true intent of the schools, and the sheer lack of recognition of community authority and customary laws.”
The statement was signed by the agency’s commissioners and chairperson Leonor Oralde-Quintayo.
But Kalumaran hit back NCIP, saying the agency’s grave offence was allowing the exploitation of their lands allowing the entry of big companies.
“The bigger offense of NCIP is allowing the plunder of ancestral domain,” the group said.
“The truth is, it’s the NCIP appointing ‘tribal dealers’ which give Free, Prior,and Informed Consent(FPIC) under the Indigenous People’s Rights Act which is needed to approve government projects, local and foreign capitalists,” it added.
“The ‘traditional leaders’ recognized by the NCIP are long been exposed to be in collude with the military and corporations,” Kalumaran said.
The NCIP recognized the Libayao family as the traditional leaders in Talaingod whom Kalumaran described as “local warlords.”
According to the group, the Libayao family allowed the entry of Alcantara and Sons logging company to harvest 19,000 hectares in the town of Talaingod.
“This is strongly opposed by IPs in Talaingod under Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanogon since 1993.”
Kalumaran hit the NCIP as an agency “following the orders of [President] Duterte, the military, and companies wanting to plunder the ancestral domain.
Jong Monzon, secretary-general of Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organization, expressed disappointment on NCIP’s “inutility in addressing issue of killings and rights violations against IPs allegedly perpetrated by the military and paramilitary groups.”
“The NCIP has no credibility in speaking for the welfare of the IPs when in fact, it did nothing to stop the militarization on lumad communities,” Monzon said.
Monzon said that if the NCIP is truly sincere for the IPs, “it should join the lumad in calling for justice to all the martys killed for defending their ancestral lands.”
Monzon challenged the NCIP: “to call for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao that attacks the rights of IPs.” (davaotoday.com)