Philippines: Indigenous Peoples demand Independent Voice in the Peace Processes

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    PRESS RELEASE
    26 October 2016 

    The current administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s thrust is to continue with the peace processes with the different non-state actors. This is a very positive development for Mindanao. However, for the indigenous peoples, this doesn’t necessarily mean all positive, especially if in the processes, they will again be left behind and further marginalized.

    In the past peace processes between the government and the different revolutionary fronts (GRP-MNLF, GPH-MILF, GRP-CPLA, GRP-CPP-NPA-NDF) the IPs have been left out. Instead of being the beneficiaries of the negotiations, they were further marginalized and became victims of peace. Their right to Self Determination has been continuously violated by the different actors and Human Rights Violations (IP killings)became most obvious, intensified land conflicts, logging concessions given to rebel groups within the Ancestral Domains of IPs and lately uncertain provisions for IPs within the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the non-recognition of the IPRA (Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act). It was only in the last peace talks between GPH-MILF that IPs were represented as part of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) with some successes in lobbying but still not as independent and equal body.

    With the peace negotiations being revived by the current administration, it has again opened an opportunity for the indigenous peoples to engage, participate and raise their voice for the peace panels to hear.

    With this rationale, the Katawhang Lumad Council of Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement held series of consultations (Cotabato City, Davao City and San Francisco, Agusan del Sur) since July – September 2016 which primarily consulted IP leaders and representatives of tribal communities on their issues and concerns pertaining to the Peace Processes in the country and on how they can collectively engage these processes.

    As a culmination of these consultations, an Indigenous Peoples Leaders’ Conference on the Peace Processes will be held this 27-29 October 2016 in time of the observation of the 19th year since the passage of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act at the Ummah Development Foundation, 10th Street, Rosary Heights V, Cotabato City. More than 100 Mindanao IP leaders and tribal communities’ representatives will take part in the event to chart out their agenda for peace and development in their respective communities. With the gathering, it is the utmost hope of the gathered IP leaders that their collective voice will be heard and provided a space in the peace processes.

    Reference Persons:

    LetecioDatuwata              Rodelio Ambangan            AlimBandara
    IP Voice Convenor           IP Voice Co-Convenor        IP Voice Co-Convenor
    09215715942                     09776726960                09308081422

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