IP groups slam NCIP for ‘not doing its job, mandate’

Published August 10, 2022, 2:19 PM

by Luisa K. Cabato

Various indigenous people’s rights organizations held a protest outside the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Central Office in Quezon City on Aug. 9 to call for the commission’s abolition for “not doing its job and mandate to promote and protect the rights” of the country’s Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs).

Sandugo-Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination (FACEBOOK)

The rally, held on the celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Day and International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, was led by former Bayan Muna Rep. and Sandugo-Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination (SANDUGO) spokesperson Eufemia Cullamat according to a statement released by NCIP.

Present at the protest were IP groups Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU), SANDUGO, KATRIBU Youth, Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan Alay sa Katutubo, BAI Indigenous Women’s Network, Sandiwa – Network of Advocates for National Minority Rights, and Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation.

NCIP said that some of the issues raised by the protesters were “struggle for self-determination, disinformation, fascism against IPs, and environmental problems such as irresponsible mining, construction of dams and power plants inside the Ancestral Domain, defending the environment defenders, protecting biodiversity, and Ancestral Land exploitation through eco-tourism.”

In KATRIBU’s press release, it called the NCIP a “consistent” peddler of fake news for its claim that free, prior, and informed consent was given to the group before reopening its ancestral lands for “destructive mines” like Tampakan and dams like the Gened, Alimit, and Kanan-Kaliwa-Laiban.

The KATRIBU also called out NCIP for prohibiting the usage of the terms Lumad, Igorot, and Tumandok as they are “New Peoples Army (NPA) terms.”

“Through the red-tagging of IP leaders, our human rights have been flagrantly violated. In the past years, at least four massacres have been documented, killing nine Tumandok, three Dumagat, three Lumad, and seven T’boli-Manobo,” the group added.

(File Photo / National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)

Meanwhile, the NCIP clarified that the issues raised by the rallyists were already incorporated in the commission’s Strategic Master Plan in compliance with the directive of President Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos, Jr. in his first State of the Nation Address as the future economic activities envisioned by Marcos will be done inside the Ancestral Domains.

The commission also reiterated in its statement the four Resolutions passed by the NCIP Commission en Banc on 2021 condemning the ongoing “atrocities” of the Communist Terrorist Groups against ICCs/IPs.

These are (1) CEB Resolution No. 08-071-2021, Series of 2021 “A Resolution Condemning the Continued Killings of IPs by the CPP-NPA-NDF”;(2) CEB Resolution No. 08-072-2021, Series of 2021 “A Resolution Condemning the Radicalization, Recruitment, and Exploitation of IP Youth by the CPP-NPA-NDF”; (3) CEB Resolution No. 08-073-2021, Series of 2021 “A Resolution Condemning the Acts of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Creating their “IP Organizations” Misrepresenting the True Interests and Situations of the ICCs/IPs”; and (4) CEB Resolution No. 08-074-2021, Series of 2021 “A Resolution Urging for a Concerted Effort for the Freedom of Bae Bibyaon Bigkay Ligkayan and Condemning Her Exploitation by the CPP-NPA-NDF Front Organizations.”

The resolutions, NCIP said, were released to inform and educate the public on the terroristic activities for the past 53 years against the ICCs/IPs within their own lands.