NCIP inaction worsens IP killings, groups say
Calling the agency “inutile”, indigenous leaders and environmentalists under the banner of Tampakan Forum today held a protest action in front of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) central office for their continued inaction on the killings and other human rights violations being experienced by IPs around the country.
Judy Pasimio, National Coordinator of LILAK-Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights, said, “The NCIP’s mandate is to protect and promote the interests and well-being of the indigenous peoples. Today, we have a list of indigenous peoples killed because they were defending their rights and promoting the interests of their communities. Sadly, the list is getting longer. And so we ask, where is the NCIP in all of this? Its silence is deafening.”
Pasimio explained that in the under the Aquino administration alone, about thirty people were killed in defense of the IP’s ancestral domain. “This list includes at least two women and four minors, a proof how inhumane and wanton the state-sponsored violence against the IPs is,” she said.
Ed Garingan, anti-mining campaigner of civil society network Philippine Misereor Partnership Incorporated (PMPI), added, “As we have observed, there are so many IP killings in the country today, and even in the past, that are very much related to mining. The NCIP also has something to explain about this, as a number of free prior informed consent (FPIC) processes of some mining projects are very questionable.”
Garingan also said that the NCIP should be alarmed on the continuing militarization of various ancestral domain areas in the countryside. He further said, “We have yet to hear strong protests from the side of the NCIP whenever the military tries to encroach in IP areas. They have to be at the forefront in defending the rights of the IPs and they cannot just remain silent in all of this”
‘Trail of Blood’
During the protest, the IP participants also lighted candles in honor of the slain IPs and poured fake blood in front of the NCIP office. “We believe that the NCIP does not have anything to do with the killings but their inaction, especially when combined with the dubious clearances given to development aggression projects, leaves a trail of blood at their doorstep,” Jaybee Garganera of Alyansa Tigil Mina explained.
“What we demand is an NCIP that stands for the IPs against all odds, and that is ready to challenge even the powerful AFP. That is necessary so they will be instrumental in breaking impunity and in seeking justice for the indigenous peoples. Without such a character, the NCIP only becomes an office responsible for the decision which mining, logging, or energy companies will be permitted to grab the land of indigenous peoples,” he concluded.
Tampakan Forum is a campaign network of support groups to the struggle of the Bla’an community and the campaign of Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel against the Tampakan Mining project. Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) serves as the secretariat of the network. The list of members include Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights (LILAK), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KSK/FOE), and the London Working Group on Mining in the Philippines.
For more information please contact:
ED GARINGAN, PMPI Project Officer for Anti-mining Campaign, 0922.850.1875, firstname.lastname@example.org
PRIMO MORILLO, PMPI Advocacy Officer, 09228501874, email@example.com
JUDY PASIMIO, LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), 09175268341, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHECK ZABALA, ATM Media and Communications Officer, 0927.623.5066, email@example.com
23 October 2015
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