THE Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP) tagged the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to have a dismal record in respecting peoples’ rights.
TFIP in a statement said the most recent violation by the government was when Aetas in Capas, Tarlac were issued a notice to vacate their current places of abode within seven days to make way for projects in the New Clark City.
This was done amidst the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games, which is mired in controversy due to corruption and displacement of indigenous peoples and peasants.
“Indigenous peoples are also targets of the government’s counter-insurgency program. This is justified by the government on the dangerous assumption that more than 70 percent of the members of the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-NPA), come from Lumad and indigenous communities. Thus, intense military operations with bombings and even firing at houses are carried out in indigenous areas, leading to forced evacuation of whole communities seeking refuge in cities and town centers,” The TFIP statement added.
The task force said most of the violations were committed in indigenous communities where large projects of corporations and the government are being built or are planned.
“While indigenous peoples occupy lands with still untapped natural resources such as minerals, forests, water and others, they remain deprived and marginalized due to government neglect. Indigenous peoples are often last priority in the provision of basic services such as education, health, water, energy, appropriate infrastructure, agricultural support, among others. Imposing development projects in their territories makes things worse as they will be displaced and lose the source of their livelihood and cultures,” the TFIP said.
The TFIP said as of November 2019, there are 63 victims of extrajudicial killings, 4 victims of enforced disappearance, 18 victims of torture, 26 victims of frustrated extrajudicial killings among others. There are 19 incidents of forcible evacuation, 39 incidents of military encampment, 16 incidents of indiscriminate firing, 13 incidents of aerial bombardment, and 163 incidents of forcible school closure in Mindanao were also documented from July 2016 to present.