Indigenous peoples press rights in nat’l ‘lakbayan’

>> Monday, October 24, 2016

ON OCCASION of National Indigenous People’s Month, more than 200 indigenous peoples from the Cordillera joined the historic caravan and alliance of Philippine IPs and Moro, also known as national minorities Oct. 12 to run until the 21st.
The national caravan dubbed “Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya para sa Sariling Pagpapasya at Makatarungang Kapayapaan” (Journey of the National Minorities for Self-Determination and Just Peace), pushes unity of the country’s national minorities to assert their right to self-determination, right to fully control their land and resources, implement their own form of self-governance, and practice their culture, traditions and religion – and their aspiration for just peace.
“From the Cordillera, each of the major ethno-linguistic groups in the region was represented and alliance of national minorities.
The Cordillera contingent carries main issues of IPs in the region, including destructive mining and energy, human rights violations and militarization. We will press forward our struggle for genuine regional autonomy, especially in light of the pronouncement of President Duterte to put up federalism in the country, and against the control and plunder of our natural resources by private corporations such as the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, SN Aboitiz, and Chevron,” said Windel Bolinget, chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA).
The Lakbayan delegates will hold dialogues with government agencies to seek redress for local issues and problems confronting national minorities, press for social services, and demand accountability for human rights violations.
Protest actions will also be held in support to independent foreign policy of the Duterte government’s stand to uphold our national sovereignty.
“As we support the ongoing peace talk between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), we will also promote our peace agenda to ensure the inclusion of IPs and our concerns in this crucial talks on socio-economic reforms,” added Bolinget.
Various cultural events are featured in the Kampuhan and in off-campus venues to promote IP culture and identity, and the Moro people’s issues and concerns. These include the Museo Lumad, Moro at Katutubo exhibition at the UP Diliman grounds, benefit concerts and cultural events, and cultural presentations on the issues of Moro and IPs in various events.
The Kampuhan will serve as a venue for learning and exchange among IPs and Moro, and with groups and individuals from schools, churches, communities and various groups all over Metro Manila.
 “As national minorities, both the Moro and IPs are struggling for self- determination. During the Lakbayan, our unity and solidarity will be sealed in an assembly on October 14-15 that will establish our formal alliance as national minorities nation-wide. The assembly will tackle our analysis of national oppression or the violations to our self- determination, our particular agenda for our inclusion in the peace talks, and the ways for national minorities to move forward in addressing the issues and problems that confront us,” added Bolinget.
 The Cordillera delegation is part of 3,000 representatives of national minorities.
Various activities were slated during the Lakbayan, including a Salubungan on Oct. 13; Peace Forum at the Kampuhan; series of engagements with government agencies, House of Representatives, and mining and energy corporations; Kampuhan sa UP Diliman; and series of educational fora and cultural and solidarity events.


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