• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

CPA Response to Cong. Teddy B. Baguilat’s Privilege Speech

June 2011

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) welcomes the efforts of Cong. Teddy Baguilat Jr., chair of the National Cultural Communities, in correcting the historical injustices committed to indigenous peoples, by shedding light to indigenous peoples’ issues in the halls of Congress, and more importantly, by strongly urging national government to rectify its wrongdoings.

For a very long time, the Cordillera region has been a haven for plunder and exploitation of the State, including foreign and local capitalists—this situation, worsened by militarization, has resulted in various human rights violations of indigenous peoples. Our just struggle for ancestral land rights and self determination was stiffly met by the State with State terrorism, and ‘counter insurgency’ policies and operations claimed the lives of our leaders and members. To date, justice has not been served. Indeed, where mining exists, human rights violations also exist.

In light of these, the CPA appreciates the concrete support of Cong. Baguilat, for reinforcing our calls to national government for a moratorium on all mining applications and operations and for the repeal of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. We support his efforts for the conduct of investigations on mining impacts to indigenous communities, its contribution to the economy, and on extrajudicial killings of indigenous leaders resisting militarization and destructive mining in their communities and the region; and to hold accountable those responsible for these.

We challenge other Cordillera congressmen to take up these issues and also conduct concrete steps to address these, and for Pres. Aquino to seriously act on these issues, and respond to the Indigenous Peoples Agenda submitted to him by various indigenous peoples organizations and advocates at the start of his term. #