Philippines: AIPP condemns the killing of Lumad leader Renato Anglao, calls the authorities for effective investigation and justice

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    Statement of Solidarity of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

    20 February 2017

    Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), a regional organization of 48 indigenous peoples’ organisations and movements throughout Asia, condemns the recent killing of Lumad leader Renato Anglao and calls the Philippines authorities to effectively investigate his killing and provide justice to the bereaved family without delay.

    Anglao was Secretary General of Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association (TINDOGA), an organisation of Manobo-Pulangion indigenous group of the larger indigenous Lumad peoples. On 3 February, three unidentified men riding in tandem shot him twice in the head in front of his wife and child in Quezon, Bukidnon.  It is widely believed that the killing is related to the land dispute between TINDOGA and a local pineapple plantation but two weeks since the killing and the authorities still claim they are yet to make any concrete progress to identify the culprits.

    TINDOGA was formed in 2008 to specifically assert the rights of the Manobo-Pulangion to their ancestral domains and press for the issuance of their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).  Their CADT was issued in 2015. However, the ancestral lands of TINDOGA are being encroached for pineapple plantation, which, according to the communities, are for supplying to Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (DavCo) and Del Monte Philippines.

    TINDOGA members, led by Anglao since 2010, have been facing threats and harassments from the private security guards of the so-called Montalvan estate administered by the current vice-mayor of Quezon municipality, Atty. Pablo Rojas Lorenzo, Jr. His private guards have fired at them on two separate occasions i.e. on 28 March 2012 and 24 April 2014. Anglao’s perpetrators are yet to be identified but the history of the encounters with Lorenzo’s guards are ominous leads.

    In 2015, Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri, Jr. of Bukidnon province noted the security guards’ act of impunity towards the TINDOGA members in a dialogue organised by TINDOGA partner, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Sub-region (RMP-NMR) Inc. and other support groups.  But that remains a lip service as no concrete action has been done to this date. Such blatant disregard to end the targeted impunity to the Lumad peoples are beyond reprehensible.

    The harassments and killings of Lumads are however not unique to TINDOGA members as the killing of Anglao is not an isolated case. Since the start of 2017, there have already been two recorded Lumad killings, that of Vennie Diamante and Veronico Delamante.  Like Anglao, both were staunchly fighting for their ancestral lands against business operations. Diamante was opposing an application on their ancestral lands for palm oil plantation. While Delamante was openly critical of Nickel Asia-Sumitomo and other mining companies.

    AIPP calls on the Philippine authorities to immediately take concrete steps to investigate the killings of Anglao and other Lumad leaders. The investigation should also look into the underlying causes of the killings and resolve the land disputes with respect to Lumad peoples’ rights over their lands, resources and territories as guaranteed in national and international laws.

    Further, AIPP calls on the NCIP to act on their mandate to protect and promote the interest and wellbeing of indigenous peoples and support the Lumad peoples’ long-standing struggle for their right to self-determination and ancestral domains. AIPP also demands the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately concretise his statements of support to indigenous peoples and bring justice to the incessant harassments and killings of Lumad peoples.

    Gam Shimray
    Secretary General
    Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

    Click here to download full statement.