Philippines: Indigenous PeoplesCall for Genuine Regional Autonomy during IP Day Celebration in Baguio City


    In celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IP), IP organizations in Baguio City reiterate the Cordillera indigenous peoples’ aspiration for self-determination through genuine regional autonomy. With the theme, Advance the Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle for Self Determination! Reject Bogus Regional Autonomy and House Bill 4649!, a whole day public event comprised of film showing, exhibit, cultural jam, and discussions on indigenous peoples’ self-determination and self-determined sustainable development was held at the People’s Park on August 9, 2014.

    “On the occasion of the international IP day, we urge fellow indigenous peoples in the region and the public to be critical of the government’s attempt to establish autonomy in the Cordillera through House Bill 4649 (An Act to Establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region). Genuine regional autonomy is an aspiration of Cordillera indigenous peoples. However, House Bill 4649 is empty and bogus autonomy as it does not correct the historic injustice and national oppression of Cordillera indigenous peoples. For regional autonomy to be genuine, it should embody the processes and principles of self-governance and full control by the people of their land and resources,” said Abigail Anongos, Secretary General of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance.

    In light of the ongoing deliberations of the United Nations for its Post-2015 Development Agenda which will succeed the failed Millenium Development Goals in 2015, “We put forward indigenous peoples’ self-determined sustainable development which puts people at the front and center of development. This promotes indigenous values and traditional knowledge in sustaining our lands and resources, environment, culture and development in contrast with capitalist practice of overproduction and accumulation, being wasteful, profit-oriented, and therefore destructive and unsustainable,” discussed Vernie Yocogan-Diano, Executive Director of the Cordillera Women’s Education Action and Research Center (CWEARC).

    According to Julius Daguitan, Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN), “The activity helped raise awareness among the public on the continuing issues confronting indigenous peoples in the Cordillera and worldwide such as the exploitation and plunder of our ancestral lands and resources through destructive mining, corporate energy and other so-called development projects; extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations; militarization; and violations of our collective rights to our ancestral domain and resources, to Free Prior and Informed Consent, and right to self determination.”

    The activity was jointly organized by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, APIYN, Innabuyog, CWEARC, Cordillera Youth Center, Dap-ayantiKulturaitiKordilyera (DKK), and the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL). It is part of the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Days of Action for Self Determination which calls for stronger unity and solidarity among indigenous worldwide in advancing indigenous peoples’ rights. It was also the launching of the Indigeous Lands in Indigenous Hands campaign of APIYNin the Cordillera.

    August 9 was declared the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations in 1994 to promote and protect the rights of the world’s Indigenous population. Annually, indigenous peoples all over the world hold various activities on August 9to assert and defend indigenous peoples’ rights.

    Abigail Anongos, CPA Secretary General