Lumad leaders, deplore exploitation of IP by local terrorists

Camp Panacan, Davao City- Lumad leaders belonging to Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Conference for Peace and Development (MIPCPD) deplored the exploitation of Indigenous Communities by the local terrorists (NPA) and their legal fronts, 11am Monday.

Speaking infront of the media, Lumad leaders attending the 3rd Founding Anniversary of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division in Panacan, Davao City, emphasized the good relation between the Indigenous People (IP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the peace efforts and development projects of the government in IP communities.

Referring to news that landed on some papers, MIPCPD members led by Datu Limpatuan Joel Unad told reporters that Pasakaddag Salupungan Kalimudan (PASAKA) does not represent the whole population and sentiments of the IP. Speaking in combined Bisaya and his native Manobo dialect, Datu Unad said “People must be wary of the propaganda of some sectors falsely representing the IP and riding on issues to serve their own selfish motives. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is the right organization that represents the whole sentiments of the IP.”

In a statement, Datu Unad stressed the need to look into violations of the rights of the IP on many angles and there must be impartiality in order to really address the issues. “We must not single out one organization like the AFP as the violator of the IP’s rights. There are blatant violations also of some private individuals, criminal syndicates and the local terrorists (NPA). The AFP is there to protect our people from these violators. We at the MIPCPD and NCIP address these issues by bringing the matter to the right agency.” Unad added.

Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, Commander of 10th Infantry Division for his part belied claims of PASAKA saying, “These are clear propaganda of the left. The local terrorists have been violating the rights of our people repeatedly and with impunity. They have been responsible in land grabbing activities and they term it as land reform. Recently, they planted many landmines in Paquibato district in Davao City where many of our IP brothers live. Those landmines limited the movement of the people in that area. Civilians cannot do their daily activities freely without fear of stepping on those landmines.”

“We call on our people to distinguish true advocates of human and IP rights from wolves hiding in the cloak of such advocacy. We call on PASAKA to file charges on the proper courts and denounce also the many atrocities committed by the local terrorists against our people if they really represent our IP communities so that fairness, impartiality and justice will reign.” Mapagu added.

The local terrorist group NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines that is waging a forty-year rebellion and is being tagged in many human rights violations committed against civilians, particularly IP communities and its own members.

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