“Stop the Killings of Indigenous Peoples in ARMM! Implement IPRA Now!”
STATEMENT OF MINDANAO PEOPLES’ PEACE MOVEMENT ON THE MURDER OF TIMUAY LENCIO ARIG
“On the 2nd of October 2014, Timuay Lencio Arig, 56, a Teduray, was shot and killed by two gunmen on his way home with his wife and daughter in Sitio Keninan, Brgy. Romongaob, South Upi, Maguindanao. He sustained fatal gunshot wounds in the body while his wife and daughter managed to elude and ran for life.
Timuay Lencio Arig was a chieftain in his fenuwo (tribal village). In 2010, he was chosen by the timfada limud (tribal congress) as member of the supreme council of chieftains of the Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG), the indigenous political system of the Teduray and Lambangian tribes in Maguindanao. Together with other members of the council, he led the struggle of his people for the strengthening of the tribal governance and justice systems, the delineation of their 201,850-hectare ancestral domain and the protection of their rights against land grabbing and encroachment of so-called “development projects” such as mining and agribusiness plantations. This is despite the non-implementation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for 17 years since its enactment in 1997.
His murder adds up to the more than 40 death counts of indigenous leaders who were killed in the forefront of defending their rights under the Aquino administration. But this sad incident is not just about adding number to the perished precious lives. More so, this raises serious questions as to the kind of State and how it carries out its obligations to uphold inherent rights to life and security and freedom of indigenous peoples within the ARMM, (or soon to be called Bangsamoro Government). How would the State ensure that all people live according to their rights and entitlements as guaranteed by the national and international human rights instruments? How shall the State policies and institutional arrangements, through the Bangsamoro Basic Law, ensure that the people from the margin are democratic, free and safe in claiming their rights?
In upholding human rights and peace based on justice and in pursuing the right to self-determination of the indigenous peoples, the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement believes that one indigenous person killed is too many. It is akin to the great teaching that “killing of one is like having killed the entire humanity”. Hence, we strongly condemn the killing of Timuay Lencio Arig and denounce all violence made against indigenous leaders in defence of their inherent right to self-determination, ancestral domain and identity.
· We call on the Regional Commission on Human Rights-ARMM to investigate the killing of Timuay Arig and make appropriate recommendation to the authorities to bring the perpetrators to the bar of justice, and bring justice to his family and the entire Inged (community) of Teduray;
· We call on the government to fulfil its mandate of protecting the life of all people, and in particular, initiate mechanisms to investigate the increasing number of killing incidents of indigenous peoples in advancing their rights against development aggression ( i.e. mining, logging, massive land conversion, dam constructions) and bring justice and comprehensive solution thereof ;
We call on the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to fast track the processing of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) application of the Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan-Manobo to protect them from further harassments and violations brought about by the aggressive development projects implemented within the ancestral domains without meaningful Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process; and,
· We call on the Philippine legislators in both Houses of Congress to protect the rights of the Indigenous Peoples in ARMM by ensuring the explicit articulation and incorporation of the four bundles of rights as minimum standard, which includes 1) right to ancestral domain, 2) right to self-governance and empowerment, 3) Social Justice and Human rights and 4) Right to Cultural Integrity in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) of the prospective Bangsamoro Government.
As our commitment, we pledge to the tri-people communities in Mindanao to intensify our efforts in campaigning for the promotion and protection of the rights of all peoples against any form of exploitation and human rights violation.
Finally, we mourn over the loss of Timuay Arig who have fought hard to build peace by advancing indigenous peoples rights. As we continue holding our series of forums called Lakbay Tribu Para sa Sariling Pagpapasya which aims to inform the public on the hopes and aspirations of indigenous peoples on Bangsamoro in October 2014 in Mindanao and Manila, we pay our highest respect and tribute to him.
His life and service to the struggle of the Teduray and the entire indigenous peoples for the rights to ancestral domain and self- determination will always give inspiration and encouragement to us.”
Rodelio N. Ambangan Janel E. Pesons
Chairperson Secretary General
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