ADDRESS INDIGENOUS CONCERNS

Cordillera IPs challenge Duterte

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) challenged president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to dedicate his first 100 days in office addressing the urgent issues of indigenous peoples nationwide.

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Representatives of the CPA said Duterte knows the problem well, since he comes from Mindanao and is well aware of the spate of killings of the Lumad in the region.

CPA’s concern also include political vilification of indigenous activists and advocates, and the brazen non-recognition of indigenous peoples’ right of self-determination.

“We have had our share of such discrimination and violation in the Cordillera, homeland of the indigenous Igorot. We were part of the delegation of indigenous peoples that trooped to Malacañang in 2011, at the start of BS Aquino’s term, to submit the Indigenous Peoples Agenda,” part of CPA’s statement said.

But they lament that their effort resulted to nothing as Aquino’s term proved only to be a continuance of its predecessor, with the same programs and policies unleashed at the expense of the people, especially the vast marginalized majority.

“We specifically put forward our Cordillera Peoples Agenda, which tackles the core concerns of indigenous peoples’ rights—ancestral land and self-determination, with concrete legislative demands on the urgent issues of human rights and peace, mining, energy, genuine regional autonomy, food security and political participation and good governance”, the CPA said in a press statement.

The agenda further includes sectoral concerns of drivers, women, youth, workers, senior citizens and persons with disabilities. The resumption of the peace negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) was also highlighted in the agenda.

The agenda resulted from the Cordillera Day 2016 organized by CPA in the provinces of Benguet, Abra, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, including the City of Baguio in April.

CPA hopes that the incoming president will look into these issues and consider these in his program of action for the first 100 days in office, confident that the Duterte administration will listen to the voice of indigenous peoples.

There were more than 100 highland tribal groups in the Philippines. The Igorot tribes include Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Isnag, Kalinga, Kankana-ey and Tinguian.

Other mountain peoples in Luzon are the Isnags of Apayao province, the Gaddangs along the border of Kalinga and Isabela provinces, and the Ilongots of Nueva Vizcaya and the Negritos, as well as the Mangyan in Mindoro.

Among the most important groups in Mindanao collectively called the Lumad, are the Manobo, with bigger ethnographic groups such as Ata-Manobo and the Matigsalug in Davao City, Davao del Norte and Bukidnon Province; the Langilan-Manobo in Davao del Norte; the Agusan-Manobo in Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte; the Pulanguiyon-Manobo of Bukidnon province; Ubo-Manobo in Davao City and North Cotabato province, including the Arumanen-Manobo of Carmen, North Cotabato.

There are also the Dulangan-Manobo in Sultan Kudarat; the Talaandig, Higaonon and Bukidnon in Bukidnon province; the Bagobo, Mandaya, Mansaka, Tagakaulo of Davao; the Subanon of Zamboanga; the Mamanua in Agusan-Surigao border region; the B’laan, Teduray and Tboli in Cotabato province, and Luwa’an in Samal island, and many others.

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