A Chance for Peace: Supporting the Opportunity for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines

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All over the world Indigenous Peoples continue to face oppression and exploitation by uncaring governments and self-serving corporations. We are still one of the most marginalized sectors in society. States and big businesses continue to deny our right to self determination, our collective rights as peoples, our right to land, our very right to life. Wars of aggression, counter-insurgency and militarization displace us from our homes. Environmentally destructive activities such as large-scale mining, mono-crop plantations and their resultant disasters threaten our very existence.

Our sisters and brothers from the Philippines face the same threats day in and day out. The Philippine government’s neoliberal economic and pro-big business policies have negatively affected the lives of Indigenous Peoples in the country, fueling more resistance to extractive and energy industry projects. This resistance, in turn, has been met head-on by the Philippine government with increased militarization of Indigenous Peoples communities, thereby maintaining a vicious cycle of human rights abuses and murders that continue to plague the lives of Indigenous Peoples every single day.

For so-called “peace and development”, over 80 Indigenous Peoples have been victims of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the Philippine military and its para-military groups and 30,000 have been forced to leave their homes due to militarization. Sexual assault and rape of indigenous women by military personnel have gone unpunished. 2000 indigenous youth have been forced to leave school due to government closure of indigenous schools. Military forces encamp in indigenous communities on an almost daily basis. Trumped up charges have been filed against hundreds of indigenous activists and their advocates. These abuses were done in the name of an anti-insurgency campaign, a campaign of red-tagging and anti-communist paranoia that delegitimizes the validity of Filipino Indigenous Peoples’ struggles for their right to self determination, to land, to life.

It is with glad hearts, then, that we welcome the statement of the Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte to include our sister and brother Indigenous Peoples in the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).  Duterte, in his inaugural speech, stated that he looks “forward to the participation of all other stakeholders, particularly our indigenous peoples, to ensure inclusivity in the peace process.” An agreement for a just and lasting peace will give Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines the chance to attain what has been denied them by the previous administrations in the country.

We hope the resumption of the peace talks will lead to a lessening and eventual disappearance of violations of civil and political rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines. We also hope that an agreement on economic, social and cultural rights be signed and the rights to self determination, land and life of Indigenous Peoples be upheld therein.

We are optimistic. We believe this peace process has a chance to work.  But we also believe that others with vested interests will derail this peace process in order to deny not only Indigenous Peoples but also others their rights. Thus our optimism is also coupled with watchfulness to ensure that the derailment of the Philippine peace process will not come to pass.

This peace process and the possible resulting peace agreement present a possibility of providing a template for future work of other Indigenous Peoples in other parts of the world. We believe this possibility should not be wasted.

We enjoin our sisters and brothers in the Philippines to be vigilant in militantly asserting their collective rights to self-determination, as well as continue to support the rights of non-indigenous peoples as well. We must continue to assert and claim these rights, and strive to to organize and educate more individuals and organizations on people’s issues. We call on all Indigenous Peoples and advocates of Indigenous Peoples rights all over the globe to support the peace process in the Philippines.

Let us join hands and continue to assert our right to self determination and break the chains of oppression all over the world.

Signed:
Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
Ben Powless, Canada
Casey Box, Land is Life, United States of America
Catherine Eatock, Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC), Australia
Celestine Nkabari Akpobari, Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Nigeria
India Reed Bowers, International Organization for Self Determination and Equality (IOSDE), Sweden
Jiten Yumnam, Center for Research and Advocacy Manipur (CRAM), Manipur
Leonard Imbiri, Dewan Adat Papua, West Papua
Marcus Terena, Inter-Tribal Committee, Brazil
Norma Maldonado, Asociacion Raxch’ och’ Oxlaju Aj (AROAJ), Guatemala
Rukka Sombolinggi, Alliance of indigenous Peoples in the Archipelago (AMAN), Indonesia
Saro Legbrosi Pyagbara, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Nigeria
Windel Bolinget, Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), Philippines

Endorsements
Organizations
Active Society Nepal, Nepal
Adivasi Navjeewan Gathan Navjyoti Agua, India
Adivasi Women’s Network, Jharkhand
AGENDA Socsksargends, Philippines
AIDB-Burundi, Burundi
Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network
Asia Pacific Migrant Mission, Hong Kong
Asian Students Association, Hong Kong
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Metro Manila, Philippines
BAI Indigenous Womens Network in the Philippines, Philippines
Baraka Women Center, Kenya
Borneo Dayak Forum, Sabah
Borok Peoples Human Rights Organization, Borok
Cambodia indigneous Youth Association, Cambodia
Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines, United Kingdom
Campaign for Peace and Democracy Manipur, Manipur
Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, Hong Kong
Center for Environmental Concerns, Philippines
Center for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas, Vietnam
Chin Human Rights Organization
Christians for Peace, Australia
Cordillera Alliance, Hong Kong
Fahamu Africa, Kenya
Fil Oz, Qantas and Aviation, Australia
Inclusive Catholics Victoria, Australia
Indigenous Nationalities Women Youth Network, Nepal
Indigenous Women Forum Northeast India
International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers-Australia, Australia
Jharkhandis Organization for Human Rights, Jharkhand
Josephite Justice, Australia
KALUMARAN Mindanao, Philippines
Karbi Human Rights Watch, Northeast India
KATRIBU Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, Philippines
Kirat Chamling Associtaion, Nepal
Kirat Chamling Language Culture Development Association, Nepal
Kirat Chamling Youth Society, Nepal
Kirat Youth Society, Nepal
Lawyers Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples, Nepal
Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church
Migrante International Taiwan Chapter, Taiwan
Migrante New South Wales, Australia
MiningWatch Canada, Canada
Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, Nagaland
Nationalities Youth Forum, Myanmar
NGO-Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities, Nepal
Ogiek Peoples Development Program, Kenya
Pastoralist Information and Development Organization, Tanzania
Pax Christi Victoria, Australia
People Unity Youth Society, Nepal
Philippines Australia Solidarity Association
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region, Philippines
Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment, Uganda
Third World Health Aid, Belgium/Philippines
unite brisbane, Australia
United Filipinos in Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Unity Society, Nepal
Vietnam Indigenous Knowledge Network, Vietnam
We Women Lanka, Sri Lanka
Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa
Youth Awareness Society Nepal, Nepal
Youth NGO-Federation, Nepal

Indigenous Rights and Peace Advocates and Individuals
Aileen RG Dabu, writer, Philippines
Aleli Bawagan, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Alex Turla Enano, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Allan Ponce-Enrile Tolentino, Asian Institute of Management Alumni Association, Philippines
Angelo Delantar Araja, St. Clement Mission Seminary, Nicodemus Solidarity, Philippines
April Porteria, Center for Environmental Concerns, Philippines
Atama Katama, Borneo Dayak Forum, Sabah
Atty. Alnie Foja, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Atty. Jill Santos, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Atty. Stuart Russell, Human Rights Advocate, France
Aung Naing Soe, Nationalities Youth Forum, Myanmar
Bong Andres, Migrante New South Wales, Australia
Boyan Mallory, Fil Oz, Qantas and Aviation, Australia
Catherine Coumans, Ph.D., Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, Canada
Daniel Kobei, Executive Director, Ogiek Peoples Development Program, Kenya
Danilo Capili, civil servant, Philippines
Delphine Van Belleghem, Third World Health Aid, Belgium/Philippines
Dolphing Ogan, KALUMARAN Mindanao, Philippines
Donna Mae Francisco, Migrante New York, USA
Doug Hewitt, Christians for Peace, Australia
Dr. Judy M. Taguiwalo, Secretary fo the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Dr. Malem Ningthouja, Campaign for Peace and Democracy Manipur, Manipur
Elina K. Horo, Adivasi Women’s Network, Jharkhand
Emma Cantor, United Methodist Church, Philippines
Eric Guray, instructor, Philippines
Fr. Herbert F. Fadriquela, Chaplain, Diocese of Leicester, Church of England, United Kingdom
Fr. Pat Mara, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Church of St. Therese, Australia
Fr. Ron Perett, Armidale Diocese Aboriginal Catholic Apostolate, Australia
Francis Villabroza, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Geetha Lakmini, We Women Lanka, Sri Lanka
Gertrude Kenyangi, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment, Uganda
Gilda Cabongbong Banugan, Migrante International Taiwan Chapter, Taiwan
Gill Boehringer, International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers-Australia, Australia
Greg Reynolds, Inclusive Catholics Victoria, Australia
Hope Hervilla, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Jaime Villaflores, Peace Advocate, Philippines
Jo A. Santos, writer/photographer, Philippines
Jo Blando, Fil Oz Qantas and Aviation, Australia
Johnry dela Cruz, RN,  People’s Health Movement, Philippine Nurses Association of Metropolitan Washington DC, USA
Joselito Caparino, civil servant, Philippines
Kakay Tolentino, BAI Indigenous Womens Network in the Philippines, Philippines
Khesheli Chishi, Indigenous Women Forum Northeast India
Leondia Odongo, Fahamu Africa, Kenya
Lisa Marie Clemente, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Liz Adamos-Cortez, United Methodist Church, Philippines
Mae Fe Ancheta Tempa, Undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Malou H. Turalde, Assistant Secretary OPG Promotive Programs, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Margaret Youngs, Indigenous Rights and Peace Advocate, Australia
Martha Ntoipo, Executive Director, Pastoralist Information and Development Organization, Tanzania
May Kotsakis, Philippines Australia Solidarity Association, Australia
Misyel Grace Santos, Indigenous Peoples Rights and Peace Advocate, Philippines
Neingulo Krome, Secretary General, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, Nagaland
Nicanor Esquivas, Peace Advocate, Philippines
Panjak Teron, Karbi Human Rights Watch, Northeast India
Peter Abrehart, Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church, Australia
Piya Malayao, KATRIBU Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU), Philippines
Rachelle Dyanne Llauder Bascarra, Vice-Chairperson, Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines, United Kingdom
Rafael Joseph Maramag, Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines, United Kingdom
Raju Bikram Chamling, Project/Program Coordinator, NGO-Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities, Nepal
Ramesh Jerai, Jharkhandis Organization for Human Rights, Jharkhand
Ramon Bultron, Asia Pacific Migrant Mission, Hong Kong
Remish Ekka, Adivasi Navjeewan Gathan Navjyoti Agua, India
Rey Asis, Asian Students Association, Hong Kong
Rita Camillieri, Honorary Secretary, Pax Christi Victoria, Australia
Ron Magbuhos, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Rose Roque, Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy-UP Manila, Philippines
Russell Tembo, Economist, Malawi
Salai Za Uk Ling, Program Director, Chin Human Rights Organization
Samin Ngach, Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association, Cambodia
Severin Sindizera, Director General AIDB-Burundi, Burundi
Shankar Limbu, Lawyers for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples, Nepal
Sr. Denise Cusack, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Australia
Sr. Jan Barnett, Sisters of St. Joseph, Josephite Justice, Australia
Sr. Joan Hardiman, Order of Preachers, New Zealand
Sr. Maria Fatima Somogod, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region, Philippines
Sr. Mary Marbuto, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Australia
Sr. Patricia Fox, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Philippines
Stuart Harrison, Indigenous Peoples Rights and Peace Advocate, Australia
Tahal Thami, Director, Lawyers Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples, Nepal
Teresia Waikuru Mwangi, Baraka Women Center, Kenya
Victoria Haraseb, Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa
William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Defender and Freelance Journalist, United Kingdom

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