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

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Photo by Mark Ambay/IPMSDL Research

Dear friends, activists and advocates,

The IPMSDL International Coordinating Committee recently approved a statement entitled “A Chance for Peace.” The statement is about the peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The civil war in the Philippines has resulted in the death of over 40,000 individuals since 1968. This death toll includes thousands of indigenous peoples in the country. Hundreds of thousands more have been forced to flee their homes time and again due to this war.

We believe the peace process, which the new Philippine president Duterte has vowed will include Indigenous Peoples, will give our brothers and sisters in the Philippines breathing space and, should a peace agreement be reached, will be beneficial to Indigenous and non-indigenous Peoples alike in the country.

We encourage everyone to read this statement. If you agree with what it says, please endorse the statement by emailing back to us through ipmsdl@gmail.com. Please send your endorsements on or before July 21, 8am Manila time.

Please be so kind as to disseminate widely to your networks. Looking forward to your favorable response. Thanks and more power.

In solidarity,
Mark Ambay
IPMSDL Research

Note: For those who will forward this statement, please ensure that the response will get back to us at IPMSDL so we can include their names on the list of those endorsing the statement. Thanks.

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

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, Indigenous Peoples Rights activist, 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
For Organizations
Active Society Nepal, Nepal
Atama Katama, Borneo Dayak Forum, Sabah
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Metro Manila, Philippines
Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, Hong Kong
Catherine Coumans, Ph.D., Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, Canada
Cordillera Alliance, Hong Kong
Daniel Kobei, Executive Director, Ogiek Peoples Development Program, Kenya
Dr. Malem Ningthouja, Campaign for Peace and Democracy Manipur, Manipur
Geetha Lakmini, We Women Lanka, Sri Lanka
Gilda Cabongbong Banugan, Migrante International Taiwan Chapter, Taiwan
Gill Boehringer, International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers-Australia, Australia
Greg Reynolds, Inclusive Catholics Victoria, Australia
Indigenous Nationalities Women Youth Network, Nepal
Kakay Tolentino, BAI Indigenous Womens Network in the Philippines, Philippines
Khesheli Chishi, Indigenous Women Forum Northeast India
Kirat Chamling Associtaion, Nepal
Kirat Chamling Language Culture Development Association, Nepal
Kirat Chamling Youth Society, Nepal
Kirat Youth Society, Nepal
Martha Ntoipo, Executive Director, Pastoralist Information and Development Organization, Tanzania
Neingulo Krome, Secretary General, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, Nagaland
People Unity Youth Society, Nepal
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
Ramon Bultron, Asia Pacific Migrant Mission, Hong Kong
Remish Ekka, Adivasi Navjeewan Gathan Navjyoti Agua, India
Rey Asis, Asian Students Association, Hong Kong
Salai Za Uk Ling, Program Director, Chin Human Rights Organization
Samin Ngach, Cambodia indigneous Youth Association, Cambodia
Severin Sindizera, Director General AIDB-Burundi, Burundi
Shankar Limbu, Lawyers for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples, Nepal
Sr. Maria Fatima Somogod, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region, Philippines
Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS, Philippines
Tahal Thami, Director, Lawyers Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples, Nepal
unite brisbane, Australia
United Filipinos in Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Unity Society, Nepal
Youth Awareness Society Nepal, Nepal
Youth NGO-Federation, Nepal

Individual Indigenous Rights and Peace Advocates
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
Atty. Alnie Foja, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Angelito Delantar Araja, St. Clement Mission Seminary, Nicodemus Solidarity, Philippines
Danilo Capili, civil servant, Philippines
Donna Mae Francisco, Migrante New York, USA
Eric Guray, instructor, Philippines
Francis Villabroza, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Hope Vervilla, 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
Dr. Judy M. Taguiwalo, Secretary fo the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Atty. Jill Santos, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Jo A. Santos, writer/photographer, Philippines
Johnry dela Cruz, RN, People’s Health Movement, Philippine Nurses Association of Metropolitan Washington DC, USA
Joselito Caparino, civil servant, Philippines
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
Misyel Grace Santos, Indigenous Peoples Rights and Peace Advocate, Philippines
Ron Magbuhos, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines
Rose Roque, Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy-UP Manila, Philippines
Stuart Harrison, Indigenous Peoples Rights and Peace Advocate, Australia
William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Defender and Freelance Journalist, United Kingdom