[Statement] JUSTICE for the TAMASCO 8 Killings. Now. -Task Force Tamasco

JUSTICE for the TAMASCO 8 Killings. Now.

December 3 marks the first death anniversary of Datu Victor Danyan, his two sons, son-in law, and 4 other tribal members and indigenous rights defenders of the T’boli community in Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu. It also marks the first year of gross human rights violations by the men of 27th and 33rd Philippine Army Infantry Batallion against the families of those killed, but also of the entire T’boli community in that area. The military killed Datu Victor and his companions, and claimed that what happened was an encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) members.

Datu Victor was the chieftain, and led the indigenous people’s organization TAMASCO, an organization formed by the T’boli Manobo to assert their rights as indigenous people in Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato. They have long struggled and protested against land grabbing and the corporate abuse on their land. They were not rebels. They were Lumads asserting their rights under the law.

Such rights were blatantly violated when government illegally and deceptively allowed a Consunji-linked corporation to continue business operations on their ancestral land despite the Lumads’ clear refusal.

TAMASCO’s ancestral land was covered by Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) No. 22 awarded to Silvicultural Industries, Inc. (SII), a Consunji company. IFMA No. 22 was set to expire at the end of 2016. Seeking renewal of the IFMA, SII asked for the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of TAMASCO, a process required under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA). TAMASCO responded with a resounding “No.”

Nevertheless, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) permitted the merger/integration of IFMA No. 22 to IFMA No. 18-2007, which is set to expire in 2032, without the FPIC of TAMASCO. This resulted in the expansion of IFMA No. 18-2007, effectively allowing the continued presence of the Consunji company on their ancestral land. IFMA No. 18-2007 also belongs to a Consunji company, M & S.

The merger/integration of IFMAs is a clear circumvention of the IPRA to favor the interests of corporations over the rights of indigenous peoples. The FPIC process is a substantial requirement that must be complied with before any permits or contracts affecting indigenous peoples can be issued or renewed. After the killings of the TAMASCO 8, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) issued an En Banc Resolution cancelling the Certification of Precondition which was the basis of the granting of the IFMA expansion of the Consunji. This is a clear official recognition that no consent was given by TAMASCO.

Thus, the continued presence of the Consunji-linked company in TAMASCO’s ancestral domain is an insult to memory and honor of the TAMASCO 8. Moreover, it perpetuates violations against the rights of the T’boli Manobo.

We, Task Force TAMASCO, a coalition of human rights organizations and indigenous peoples rights advocates supporting TAMASCO in their plight to regain full rights to their ancestral domain, call for justice for the TAMASCO 8.

Bring to justice the killers of TAMASCO 8.
Cancel the IFMA No. 18-2007 granted to Consunji group of companies. Now.
Respect and protect the rights of the T’boli Manobo over their ancestral domains.
Stop the Killings!

TASK FORCE TAMASCO:

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC-KsK/Friends of the Earth-Philippines)
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
SANLAKAS
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
Convergence of Initiatives for Environmental Justice (CIEJ-SOCCSKSARGEN Region)
OND Hesed Foundation
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity (IDEFEND)

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