By GRACE UDDIN
Indigenous Peoples Watch
Posted by Bulatlat
DAVAO CITY— A partylist representative and leaders of indigenous peoples’ groups in Mindanao said there is no reason to celebrate the 15th year of International Day of Indigenous Peoples as the tribes continue to suffer from the atrocities of the Arroyo administration.
“The Arroyo administration did not only fail to uphold, protect and promote IP rights,” Gabriela Women Partylist representative Luz Ilagan said, “It has also violated these rights.” The General Assembly of the United Nations declared August 9 as the International Day of World Indigenous Peoples to address issues of indigenous peoples around the world.
But for 15 years, Mindanao lumads only experienced forced displacements, said Datu Monico Cayog, chairperson of lumad group Kalumaran.
Human rights group Karapatan in Caraga also said 423 Manobo and Mamanwa families (or more than 2,000 individuals) left their communities in the towns of Lianga, San Agustin, Tago, and in Carrascal in Surigao del Sur in July because of the presence of soldiers in the area. The evacuation stopped children from going to school.
Lumads are also forced to join the paramilitary group Task Force Gantangan in the provinces of Bukidnon, North Cotabato, Surigao de Norte and Surigao del Sur; and in the towns of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Columbio in South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos (Socksargen) area.
Cayog said the forced recruitment violated the rights of lumads and turned them against each other. He also said large-scale mining, logging and cash-crop plantations by multinational corporations continue to encroach on IP ancestral lands.
He also said several lumad leaders known to have defended their ancestral lands against mining and other interests are being killed. He mentioned the names of Ludenio ‘Dos’ Monzon and Marcial Latiban in Davao Oriental; Kapis Butod in Talaingod, Davao del Norte and Datu Dominador Diarog in barangay Guianga in Calinan, Davao City.