Tribal leaders urge Duterte to mediate in negotiations

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Friday, April 25, 2014


TRIBAL leaders, who are part of the evacuees from Talaingod, Davao del Norte, re-echoed their call to halt the militarization in their homeland but this time, they want Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to intervene in the negotiations.

Leader of the Ata Manobo tribe in Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod and spokesperson for Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon, Datu Duloman Dawsay told Sun.Star Davao in an interview that he has been very grateful of Duterte for welcoming the evacuees in the city yet he would appreciate him more if the mayor assists them in getting back to their homeland.

"Kaniadto pa gyud dako ug tabang si Mayor Duterte sa amoa apan iya ming natagad kaniadtong namakwit mi tong 1994. Pero unta matabangan pud niya mi ug usab sa among pagpauli pero una una sa gyud nga pahawaon ang militar sa among lugar (Mayor Duterete has helped us before when he gave attention to us when we evacuated in 1994. But we hope that he can help us again in getting back home as long the military are pulled out from our area)," Dawsay said.

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He also said that they have yet to personally talk to Duterte as well as Talaingod town Mayor Basilio Libayao and the closest that they got to the government was through the Provincial Board and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Davao.

"Relief goods are nothing compared to what we are experiencing here and what we have left there. We cannot live in the city and we have left our farms there. We need to get home before our livelihood will be destroyed there," Dawsay added.

Spokesperson for the Pasaka (Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao) Isidro Andao, in a separate interview, lambasted the intervention of NCIP-Davao claiming that they were suggested to accept the offers of mining companies and plantations in their areas.

"Ang ilang pamaagi sa amoang konsultasyon kay ilang ming padawaton sa mining ug sa laing plantasyon kay mao daw na ang makapalambo sa mga lumad pero dili namo na madawat kay ila gihapon pangkuhaon ang among yutang kabilin (Their suggestion in our consultation was that we should accept the offers of the mining and plantation companies since that will lead to the progress of the lumads but we will not accept that because they will still claim our ancestral lands)," Indao said.

He added that there has still been a conflict between the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (Ipra) of 1997 and the People's Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991, thus, there should be amendments that will truly enforce the Ipra.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 26, 2014.

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