Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Saturday blamed the Philippines’ insurgency problem on the “widespread corruption” that has been denying rural communities of the necessary infrastructure, education and livelihood.
In a speech during the 88th Infantry Battalion’s presentation of alleged surrenderees from the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in Maramag, Bukidnon, Pacquiao said indigenous people (IP) “are easily lured to turn against the government because of the absence of sustainable government support for their communities.”
Pacquiao said all “corrupt officials” must be removed from the bureacracy so that rebels would again pledge their allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.
“Hindi nabibigyan ng suporta ang ating mga lumad dahil sa matinding kurapsyon. ‘Yong mga pondo na napupunta dapat sa pagpapatayo ng mga paaralan, paglalagay ng mga kalsada sa kanayunan at pagbibigay ng kabuhayan ay napupunta sa mga kurap at mga ganid na pulitiko (Our lumads are not being given support because of widespread corruption. Funds that should be used for constructing schools, roads and provision of livelihood go to corrupt and greedy politicians),” he said.
“Kailangan nating ubusin itong mga kurap upang mas marami pang rebelde ang magbalik-loob sa ating pamahalaan (We should weed out all these corrupt officials so that more rebels will return to the government),” he stressed.
Pacquiao also cited the need for “genuine” efforts from the government to help impoverished communities in the country, saying: “Ang laganap na insurgency sa bansa ay bunga ng kapabayaan ng ating pamahalaan (The prevalence of insurgency was a result of our government’s negligence).”
He also called for the full implementation of the Republic Act 8371, or the The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997. He said one pressing problem among lumad communities was the lack of housing despite the law’s provisions that guarantee their right to their ancestral domain.
He urged the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to expedite the issuance of ancestral domain titles for the lumads as a gesture of the government’s commitment to help the IP.