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IPs ask Duterte’s help in pressing charges vs Reds

Indigenous peoples (IPs) from Mindanao asked President Duterte to assist them taking to court the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and CPP chairman Jose Maria Sison for what they claimed were violations of their ancestral rights and safety and the murder of IP leaders.

In one of the four resolutions formally received by Duterte by the IPs early this week, the IPs requested the President to provide legal assistance to the Mindanao IP Council of Elders for the filing of appropriate cases against the Reds, or referred to as CNN in the resolution.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte convenes the leaders from various indigenous peoples tribes of Mindanao during a meeting at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on November 8, 2018. (RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In their resolution, the IPs cited 17 reasons for their ardent push to press charges against the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Among the reasons are their safety at risk by getting them caught in a crossfire when the CPP-NPA-NDF made their ancestral domain as their guerrilla base for the last 40 years, and the murder of at least a thousand IP leaders since the 1980s.

“The most glaring was the Rano massacre in Davao del Sur and the murder of mayor Jose Libayao in the presence of his family, community and foreign donors in the tribal municipality of Talaingod, Davao del Norte,” the resolution read.

The IPs also cited the CPP-NPA-NDF supplanting their traditional leaders and replacing them with revolutionary ones, and the collection of revolutionary taxes. They also cited the destruction by burning, of property, particularly of construction equipment.

The lumad groups also said that the CPP-NPA-NDF are setting up informal primary and secondary schools in their ancestral homes where they radicalize their children by teaching them communism and sending them to NPA units for exposure. They also said that the Reds are bringing their young leaders in tertiary school managed by communists as scholars. They added that some students are also being molested and sexually exploited.

The CPP-NPA-NDF also supposedly agitated and deceived several IP leaders and members with false promises to go on “bakwit” from the ancestral domain to the town centers or cities and preventing them from going out.

The IPs also said the CPP-NPA-NDF are making some of their IP leaders as heads of a revolutionary justice system. They also said that some of their IP communities as prison or confinement areas for other IPs.

The lumad groups are also protesting the CPP-NPA-NDF’s use of the name “Bagani” as a name of its units to “kill our own” and attacking government security forces, thus putting all IPs in a bad light. They also said that the Reds occupied their ancestral domain, private communal properties without permission.

“You have no right to bring in and introduce a foreign ideology into the very heart of our ancestral domain to become our way of life which is the exact opposite of our culture as peace-loving people,” the resolution read.

The CPP-NPA-NDF was also said to have removed their right to vote for allowing candidates to enter their ancestral domain “if they pay the permit to campaign and permit to win to the CPP-NPA-NDF.”

They also said that CPP-NPA-NDF are organizing the IPs at the regional level “through deceit and lies” to support several parties in Mindanao. They said that IPs have been used to ruin the image of the Philippine government in the world.

Other resolutions

Aside from the resolution against the CPP-NPA-NDF, the IPs also presented Duterte a resolution requesting the President to grant a special quota in the Philippine Army for IPs in Mindanao.

The IPs also created a resolution expressing their conformity to Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the island.

They also presented a resolution expressing their appreciation to Duterte for his consistent support to IP welfare and development.

According to Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, it is still up to Duterte on what to do with the resolutions submitted to him.

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