• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

No meaningful change for indigenous peoples under Aquino’s first 100 Days--CPA

October 8, 2010

The Aquino government raised high hopes on human rights and good governance at the start of Pres. Noynoy’s term. But after 100 days in office, there persists policies of past governments, continuing human rights violations and absence of concrete steps to prosecute former president Arroyo. Across the country, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) notes that no remarkable change was observed or made on the situation of indigenous peoples.

“Decisive measures were not made on the pressing issues concerning indigenous peoples. Transnational corporations continue to enter indigenous territories, together with the military, resulting in various rights violations,” said Abie Anongos, CPA secretary general, adding that “even with the submission of an Indigenous Peoples Agenda to the president where our urgent issues and needs are concretized, Malacañang has made no effort to jumpstart correcting the historical injustice of IPs in the Cordillera and in other parts of the country.”

The CPA, along with many other indigenous peoples organizations and networks in the country reiterated in the Indigenous Peoples Agenda concrete response on the following issues: indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands and the environment; laws and state policies that grossly violate indigenous peoples’ rights such as the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA), Mining Act of 1995, NIPAS Law, National Minerals Policy (NMP), Mining Action Plan (MAP), and the State’s counter-insurgency policy Oplan Bantay Laya and the National Integrated Security Plan for Indigenous Peoples (NISP-IP); and serious implementation of international agreements on indigenous peoples rights such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). A call for a stop of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, widespread militarization and the blatant violations of their human rights as well as resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Democratic Front are also included in the Agenda. It also specifically calls for the immediate surfacing of CPA founding member James Balao and the Morong 43.

“It is a major concern that under the President’s first 100 days, these issues have not been responded to, even if he says that the people are his ‘boss’ (kayo ang boss ko) under his daang matuwid. It is a serious matter that under his first 100 days, major issues of human rights, justice and governance have not been answered,” she added.

The president must not be contented with his satisfaction ratings as these do not correspond to changes in the plight of the poorest of the poor, indigenous peoples included. Ancestral lands are not for sale, and we hope Pres. Aquino recognizes our assertion of collective rights as indigenous peoples. #