LILAK Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights strongly condemns the shooting committed by the security guards of an agri-business plantation company at the Manobo- Pulangiyon indigenous peoples in Quezon, Bukidnon yesterday, April 19.
Around 500 Manobo-Pulangiyon people were set to re-possess their ancestral land yesterday occupied by the Kiantig Development Corporation (KDC). They planned to occupy the remaining four hectares unplanted to pineapples, out of the 958 hectares recognized by the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as their ancestral land. As the indigenous peoples reached the area, they planted a white flag, as part of their repossession activity. That was when the security guards fired shots at the Manobo-Pulangiyon, together with the team of Presidential aspirant Ka Leody de Guzman, and senatorial candidates David D’Angelo and Roy Cabonegro.
According to reports, there were 5 who got hurt in the incident - Datu Didilosan Arroyo, Robert Dabatean, Hernani Abila, Charita de Socorro, and Orlando Lingaolingao.
The Manobo-Pulangiyon people have been locked up in land conflict for decades. Their land was placed under the control of KDC based on Forest Land Graze Management Agreement (FLGMA) No. 122, which has already expired in 2018. Pablo Lorenzo III, a cattle rancher and pineapple grower, known to be the owner of KDC, is currently the mayor of Quezon, Bukidnon. Years after the expiration of the FLGMA, the land has yet to be returned to indigenous peoples. For years, they have been living along the roads, with no regular food source, or livelihood. For years, their assertion of their rights have been met with violence, causing them to lose some of their leaders.
This incident is not an isolated case. This is the everyday reality faced by indigenous peoples asserting their rights over the ancestral domain and against corporate control. It keeps happening because the perpetrators can easily get away with it. And this is the legacy of the Duterte administration - violent attacks against indigenous peoples, ancestral domains and natural resources are taken for the profit of corporations, and no accountability for human rights abuses.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is aware of the historical injustice done to the Manobo-Pulangiyon. They have records and documents to prove it. Serve and fulfill your mandate to uphold, protect, and promote the rights of indigenous peoples. Your silence on this may lead to more violence, and bloodshed.
We demand our authorities to conduct a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation of the shooting incident and prosecute not only those who violently fired a volley of shots against the IPs, but their enablers.
We appeal to our fellow Filipinos. In less than three weeks, we will elect our new leaders. Let us put high regard on the values and morals of our new leaders. It is now more than ever that we need a change in our government.
What we saw in the videos of the shooting at the indigenous peoples is not a scene from a movie. This is clear evidence of the widespread violence that has been emboldened and enabled by the Duterte Administration. We’ve seen and experienced it in the last six years, and we have seen enough. It’s time we reclaim our democracy.
LILAK Overall Coordinator
0917-526-8341 / firstname.lastname@example.org