Philippines: KAMP calls for justice over Lumad killing

National alliance of indigenous peoples’ organizations in the Philippines, KAMP (Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas) is dismayed by government inaction in the extrajudicial killing of Lumad leader Jimmy Liguyon last March 5, 2012.

Liguyon was the vice-chairperson of Kasilo, an organization of Ata-Matigsalug Lumad in Bukidnon. He was shot allegedly by Aldy “Butsoy” Salusad, who is said to lead a paramilitary group that operates in the province.

“This is the 14th extrajudicial killing of an indigenous person since President Aquino took power in 2010,” Piya Macliing Malayao, KAMP spokesperson said. “We find there is no letup in impunity and human rights abuses, but an escalation of our human rights situation.”

Malayao is a Bontoc Igorot from Mountain Province.

According to KAMP, slays among the indigenous people is a product to Oplan Bayanihan, the counterinsurgency program of the Aquino administration. “Aquino tolerates and even encourages the formation of paramilitary groups, especially in areas with business interests. This is especially true in resource-laden Mindanao, where most of the killings of indigenous peoples were done by paramilitary and military agents,” Malayao claimed.

KAMP says that Mindanao “crawls with paramilitary groups and government mercenaries” hired by mining companies and other businesses. The Investment Defense Force, a conglomeration of military forces, private security, and armed organizations spawned during the Arroyo administration and blamed for the spate of killings of tribal datus (chieftains), is still in place KAMP says.

San Fernando, Bukidnon is eyed for mining exploration, which many indigenous peoples in the areas opposes, including Liguyon.

Recognition of rights

“Rights violations against indigenous peoples is mainly the denial of their rights to ancestral lands and to self determination, and the killing of Jimmy Liguyon provides for us a glimpse of the human rights situation of the national minorities,” Malayao shared.

According to KALUMBAY, a regional organization of indigenous peoples in Northern Mindanao, the paramilitary group that gunned down Liguyon ‘protects’ a 52,000-hectare stretch of land in San Fernando, Bukidnon. The land has a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) held by San Fernando Matigsalug Tribal Datus (SANMATRIDA). SANMATRIDA is said to be pushing for the entry of mining corporations in the area.

“The CADT is a false recognition of our rights as a people. It only causes division among communities and tribes, the withering or our traditional and commonly-held socio-political structures, and the concentration of formerly communal lands to one person or clan,” Malayao said. “It makes us more vulnerable to these kinds of violence, and to other aggressions such as mining and militarization.”

‘Noynoying’

KAMP assailed the Aquino government for the unabated killings of indigenous peoples. “’Noynoying’ is an apt word for being annoyingly useless,” Malayao said.

‘Noynoying’ is a reference to Philippine president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino, who is criticized for his inaction to pressing social problems in the Philippines, including human rights violations. It is used pejoratively to mean laziness and inutility.

“There had been 14 extrajudicial killings of indigenous peoples under his nose. Alongside the killings are a plethora of human rights abuses and the violations of collective rights to land. He has done nothing to protect our rights as a people,” Malayao claimed.

AMP says Aquino should brace himself for a barrage of protests from indigenous peoples and other sectors. “In his dilly-dallying and outright disregard of the people’s calls, Filipinos will surely shake him from his stupor,” Malayao said. #

No Associated files

Date: 19/03/2012

Countries:

Philippines

Categories:

Indigenous Peoples
Natural resources
Land Rights

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