Lawmaker proposes group to probe IP’s displacement Rubyloida Bitog-A A +A
Saturday, September 22, 2012
HOUSE committee on national cultural communities chairman Teddy Brawner Baguilat is working for the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to address various human rights violations of the indigenous peoples (IPs) of the country.
Baguilat, the representative of Ifugao, recently revealed their plans to investigate further on the displacements of many IPs because of large scale mining.
He said the IPs are evicted from their ancestral lands because of mining and proclamations of various lots as military reservations.
During the early months, Baguilat received several complaints on the violations of human rights of IPs. Among the reported perpetrators are mining companies and military members. He then requested the House of Representatives to conduct an investigation on the matter.
However, discussion on this matter was delayed because the 15th Congress has to prioritize the 2013 budget reviews.
“We will resume the hearings after the budget. But there’s a task force we are pushing for. We hope the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Justice (among others) to focus on this,” said Baguilat.
He said there are different human rights violations being done to IPs, and justice should be served to these aggravated natives now.
The lawmaker said he is saddened because perpetrators of these violations were never prosecuted.
Baguilat also wondered what the NCIP and CHR are doing with these cases of violations.
He said these violations occur because the state force is not sensitive on the IPs culture, adding that the government does not understand the IPs’ rights.
But with the creation of TWG, Baguilat said they will know how to respond on the cases and proper documentations will be done.
He said there was a recent killing of natives in Agusan (part of Mindanao) while a chieftain’s daughter was mistakenly killed (instead of the chief) in Zamboanga Del Sur. He said these killed natives were against large-scale mining.
Despite the killings, Baguilat cited Cordillera doesn’t have any recorded killings.
He said this could be attributed to the unity of the local government units and the elders to oppose large-scale mining in the region.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 22, 2012.