Lumads hit government for abuses; perform ritual-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
A GROUP of indigenous peoples (IP) in Northern Mindanao expressed dismay over the government’s seeming disregard of the real situation of their community and the alleged human rights violations as they celebrated the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on Thursday.
In a statement, Datu Jomorito Goaynon, chair of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, criticized the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) for its failure to recognize their rights.
Goaynon blamed the agency for the continuing land conflicts in Malaybalay, San Fernando in Quezon and Talakag in Bukidnon province, Opol town in Misamis Oriental and in Gingoog City.
Goaynon said the IPs struggle to ancestral domain continues to be taken for granted by the government in favor of mining companies and plantations.
As the IPs lambasted the government, they also performed a ritual act called “Pamuhat” at the Press Freedom Monument, highlighting Thursday’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World's Indigenous People is observed every August 9 of each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population.
The event recognizes the achievements and contributions that IPs made to improve world issues such as environmental protection.
Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (Ifra) of 1997, guarantees the rights of IPs to ancestral domain, self-governance and empowerment, social justice and human rights, education and cultural integrity.
Ifra is modeled after the 2007 United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.
The focus of this year’s International Day is "Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices" that aims to highlight the importance of indigenous media in challenging stereotypes, forging indigenous peoples' identities, communicating with the outside world, and influencing the social and political agenda. (Abigail Chee Kee Malalis)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 10, 2012.