The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) expresses its solidarity with the Higaonon people’s plight against militarization of their community. We also condemn the acts of State security forces in the Philippines that have forced the Higaonon peoples to move out of their homes and ancestral lands for fear of their lives.
This is not the first time the Higaonons have had to flee their homes in Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental province. The Philippine military also harassed the Higaonons of Lagonglong on the months of May, July and October 2015. The Higaonons were also forced to evacuate their homes and lands during those times for fear of further harassment and intimidation by state security forces.
The Higaonons of Lagonglong were once more forced to flee their homes on June 5, 2016 when members of the Philippine Army camped within their communities, forcibly entered their homes even when the homeowners denied them permission, and continuously asked them to turn over their arms despite the Higaonon’s denial of having any in their homes. State security forces have been pressing the Higaonons to accept the government’s so-called “peace and development” program even when the Higaonon’s have repeatedly refused to have anything to do with the government’s state security plan. The military also did not respect the verbal agreement made between the group’s leaders and the Philippine Army wherein state security forces had to ask permission from the Higaonons before entering their territory.
These acts by the Philippine military are in clear violation of the indigenous peoples rights to self-determination and development. We join the HIgaonon peoples’ call on the Philippine government and its security forces to:
- Immediately pull out their forces encamped in the Higaonon lands in Brgy. Banglay, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental, Philippines;
- Cease further militarization, entering without consent, and putting up of detachments in Lumad communities;
- Pull out all military troops staioned or encamped in indigenous lands;
- Stop the recruitment of indigenoous peoples in paramilitary groups;
- Facilitate the return of thousands of Lumad evacuees to their ancestral domains without fear of reprisal;
- Investigate cases of violations of indigenous peoples rights by state security forces;
- Prosecute those responsible for violations of indigenous people’s rights.
We also urge the Philippine government to support the Higaonons in their evacuation camps until they are safely back in their homes. We encourage all indigenous peoples and human rights advocates to support the call of the Higaonons to return to their homes without fear of militarization.
End Militarization! Fight Back!
Ms. Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator
*photos courtesy of Panalipdan Youth NMR
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