Philippines: KATRIBU to the UN Universal Periodic Review: Impunity reigns, human rights violations against the IPs continue

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    Released before the Philippine Government Report to the UN Human Rights Council

    The national minorities call on to President Duterte to make the US-Aquino Regime accountable. Secondly, its administration should stay its hand from violating the rights of IP by stopping the ethnocidal all-out war against indigenous communities, revoke the Mining Act of 1995 and enact the People’s Mining Bill, and should come to an agreement in the peace talks with the NDFP on the social and economic reforms.

    All-out War against the indigenous peoples

    The culture of impunity continues under the Duterte Administration and its Oplan Kapayapaan. No justice has been awarded to the victims of the 104 indigenous peoples (IP) extra-judicially killed by state armed forces and the more than 20,000 Lumad who have forcibly left their homes due to the intense military operations of the AFP under the US-Aquino Regime, and new violations are being committed by the new administration.

    Since the open declaration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines of an all-out war against the New People’s Army in February 2017, four (4) indigenous peoples were killed by the AFP and at least 3,784 indigenous peoples evacuated from their communities in Alabel, Saranggani; Lambunao, Iloilo; Namal, Ifugao; Maddela, Quirino; and Kicharao, Agusal del Norte due to the intensified military combat operations. The rabidity and viciousness of the AFP has even worsened as they bombed peasant indigenous communities in Compostela Valley, Oriental Mindoro, Davao Oriental, Saranggani and Abra. The all-out war is proving to be a war against the people.

    Since July 2016 until the end of March 2017, at least 20 IP have become victims of extrajudicial killings by the AFP and its paramilitary groups, and private security forces of landlords and big businesses. They were community leaders, officers of IP organizations, advocates for just peace and were part of active campaigns opposing large-scale and destructive mining, logging, plantations, land grabbing, paramilitary groups and militarism. The recent attacks prove that the saboteurs inside the AFP have never been sincere in pursuing the genuine path to peace.

    Militaristic solutions to end armed revolution rooted in decades of oppression and poverty will always fail and cause grave atrocities against the people. History has proven that the people will never cower amidst the bloodshed brought upon by the AFP. The warmongers in the Duterte Administration have prevailed and are now calling the shots in making sure that the oligarchs, foreign corporations and destructive mining companies will have their way in extorting the wealth of our people.

    The AFP has long aided destructive mining corporations, agro-industrial companies, and local oligarchs in their quest to encroach our ancestral lands to plunder our resources. Empowered by policies and institutions such as the Mining Act of 1995 and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and by seducing and coercing indigenous groups into joining paramilitary groups under the Executive Order 546 and the Oplan Kapayapaan; the government has long been advocating the destruction of our communities through deception and violence.

    Mining: against collective rights of indigenous peoples

    The liberalized mining industry legalized by the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 has denied us of our collective rights to our ancestral lands and self-determination, deprived us of our sustainable livelihood, destroyed our sacred lands, alienated our communities with the meager “share” or crumbs they throw away, with basic social services offered as bribe, but worst have unleashed military-supported paramilitary and investment defense forces of mining corporations that perpetrate grave human rights violations.

    As of March 2015, there are at least 246 approved mining applications in areas occupied by IP covering an estimated 619,000 hectares of ancestral lands in the country. Aside from the adverse impacts on the livelihood and health, KATRIBU has monitored and documented cases of killings, harassment and filing of trumped up charges, violation of the right to FPIC (free, prior and informed consent) in indigenous communities affected by mining operations. None of these have been resolved even with the existence of the NCIP as it favors the corporations.

    As an addition to the attack against the national patrimony of the Filipino people, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) and its counterpart in the Philippine Congress has been opposing the confirmation of Gina Lopez as the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) since 2016. The Commission on Appointments (CA) pulled off the rule of bureaucrat capitalism, and again rejected Gina Lopez’s confirmation for the interest of big mining corporations.

    The congress is still filled with landlords and businessmen, using their power to secure their interests. They go along with the export-oriented character of the national economy where ores and unprocessed minerals are exported to other countries without being used for domestic processing and industries. On the other hand, Secretary Gina Lopez is standing for our national patrimony. And she has been attacked by oligarchs, giant corporations and landlords who are subsumed in maintaining their monopoly over our ancestral lands and mineral resources and disregarding the environmental damage and the lasting adverse effect to the IP and entire nation.

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    Source: KATRIBU