Lawmaker probes eviction of IPs from homes-A A +A
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
IFUGAO Representative and House Committee on National Cultural Communities chairman Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr. is looking into possible violations of the rights of thousands of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) forcibly evicted from their ancestral domains declared as military reservations in the country.
This was revealed in a statement issued by Dionisio Tubianosa, House of the Representatives’ Public Relations and Information Bureau staff.
"The committee has been informed of the forcible eviction of thousands of IPs from Nueva Ecija, Capiz, Panay and Iloilo allegedly due to the declaration of their ancestral domains as military reservations," said Baguilat.
Baguilat also filed House Resolution 2216 urging the House Committee on National Defense and Security and Committee on Human Rights to conduct a parallel probe on the matter.
He revealed there are many cases of establishment of military reservations or camps on ancestral lands belonging to indigenous communities. He cited the cases of the Crow Valley Military Reservation, covered by a certificate of ancestral domain title awarded to an Aeta community and a military reservation in Panay, which according to the Bukidnon tribe of Iloilo is located on the tribe’s ancestral land.
The lawmaker said the military war games and weapons testing, sporadic and frequent military operations and persistent paramilitary group and intelligence network building in IP ancestral Domains have disrupted the lives of residents in the areas.
"The indigenous communities are under constant danger and vulnerable to human rights violations. They are prevented from exercising their rights over their ancestral domains, contrary to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.”
He further expressed government guarantees the protection of human rights of all its citizens as embodied in Article III of the Constitution and as exemplified in government's commitments under Part IV of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
"It provides that civilian population shall have the right to be protected against the risks and dangers posed by the presence of military camps in urban centers and other populated areas.”
Furthermore, he cited Section 7 of the IPRA which states the Rights to Ancestral Domains includes the right to ownership, to develop the lands and its natural resources, and the right to stay in the territories of the ancestral domain.
"Section 22, Article II of the Constitution provides that the State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development," Baguilat said.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 19, 2012.