Lumads to DENR: ‘Stop the encroachment of our lands’-A A +A
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
AROUND a hundred members of the Talaandig and Higanoon tribes from Bukidnon trooped to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Northern Mindanao Monday afternoon to express their concern over the encroachment of logging and mining companies and other agri-business entities into their ancestral lands.
“Ang paspas nga expansion sa mga corporate plantations, logging and mining industries, nakadala og daku nga kadaot sa yutang kabilin sa mga lumad (The rapid expansion of corporate plantations, mining, and logging corporations have brought destruction to the lumads’ ancestral lands),” said Perfecto Goaynon, chairperson of the Bukidnon-based indigenous people (IP) group Pigyayungaan.
He added that apart from the damage that these corporations have brought to the once peaceful hinterlands, the brainwashing of some lumad leaders by the corporations’ forerunner have caused division among the once united lumad communities.
“Unfortunately, out of more than a million hectares of land that were approved by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), 60 percent of it are within the ancestral domains of the lumad communities,” he said.
Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization chairperson Jomorito Goaynon said that 51 mining companies filed an application to MGB to operate in Bukidnon, especially in the Pantaron range.
“Five out of those 51 mining companies are now operating in the province,” Jomorito said.
Based on the data gathered by Kalumbay, the development aggression under Aquino’s administration have taken 35 lives since 2010.
The death of Matigsalug leader Jimmy Liguyon and the IP leader from Opol, Gilbert Paborada, are the most woeful reminder that the government is not on their side.
“We (the lumads) are dismayed by the government’s insincerity in protecting our rights to self-determination,” said Jomorito.
He said that the on-going standoff in Zamboanga City that jeopardizes the lives and livelihood of thousands is an offshoot of the government’s insincerity in protecting the right of the IPs in Mindanao to self-determination, including the Moro people.
Kalumbay believes that the MNLF is demanding for the full implementation of the MNLF-GRPH Tripoli Agreement of 1976 that seeks to establish an autonomous government for the Bangsamoro people that paved way to the establishment of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
Perfecto also explained that the attack launched by the MNLF in Zamboanga City is a product of the government’s disregard to their demands that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Tripoli Agreement should be fully implemented so the Moro people can experience genuine autonomy.
“If the government is sincere about protecting the right of the IPs in Mindanao for self-determination, they should not opt for militaristic resolutions that could endanger the lives of many people,” said Perfecto.
Perfecto thinks that intensifying the war will only make the civilian population suffer with no constructive results waiting in the end.
“It could have been better if the Aquino administration study their (MNLF) demands that can be traced way back to the Marcos regime, and call for a peace talk,” Perfecto.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 17, 2013.