Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders and Leaders chairman Lipatuan Joel Unad and Datu Gibang Apuga
The leaders of the indigenous people (IP) of Mindanao have united to form a resolution that calls on authorities to investigate the continuous human rights violation committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) against members of the Lumad tribe.
On Monday (December 3), more than 20 IP leaders from different areas of Mindanao gathered to sign the said resolution.
Among the issues the group wants investigated is the NPA’s massive recruitment among tribal communities which usually targets the youth.
They also want a probe into the rebel group’s successive killings of Lumad leaders; the number of which has reached 1,000 based on the records of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL).
The group also alleged that the indigenous community has suffered17 incidents of violence at the hands of the NPA.
According to MIPCEL chairman, Lipatuan Joel Unad, they will continue their campaign until the communist rebels are kicked out of their community.
“Kami nagpadayun pud dili mi mag undang hangtod nga ang CPP-NPA mawala sa teritoryo ng tribu tungod kay ngano man? Kinsa may nagadala ug kalisod didto karun?,” he said.
(We will not stop until the CPP-NPA is finally gone from the Lumad territory. Why? Who do you think brought suffering to our community?)
The resolution also prohibits non-government organizations from entering indigenous communities without permission.
“Mula ngayon, bukas wala ng mga institutions or NGO kahit government institutions papasukin sa ancestral domain na walang proper process ng NCIP,” Unad said.
(Starting today, no NGO’s or government institutions will be allowed entry into the ancestral domain without proper processing from the NCIP.)
Meanwhile, the resolution includes a call to the Department of Education to investigate what exactly is being taught at the Lumad schools.
It will be recalled that on Wednesday (November 28), the group of former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo was arrested at a checkpoint in Talaingod Davao del Norte for allegedly kidnapping Lumad children.
“Ito yung malaking question mark talaga sa amin sa tribu. Sa buong Mindanao, ano ba yung ginagawa nila? Bakit nagtravel ng gabi tapos binibitbit yung mga 14 na minor na mga kabataan ng IP na kung tanungin natin yung mga parents nila wala namang pahintulot; walang alam kung saan sila binibitbit,” Unad said.
The group is hoping that through the united effort of the IP leaders in the region, the Lumads will finally achieve peace in their community. — Janice Ingente | UNTV News & Rescue