IPMSDL Statement on the Assumption of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the Presidency of the Republic of the Philippines


The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) welcomes the pro-indigenous peoples rights pronouncements of Mr. Rodrigo Duterte as he assumes office as president of the Republic of the Philippines this June 30, 2016.

All over the world, indigenous peoples and their right to self determination are under attack by neo-liberal globalization. Large multi-national and state-owned corporations have repeatedly violated indigenous peoples’ rights to freely determine the utilization of their resources within their ancestral lands. Government security agents continue to harass and murder indigenous peoples rights defenders who valiantly fight against the violation of their rights to land and ancestral domain. Indigenous peoples right to development is undermined by development aggression and the self-serving agenda of bureaucrats in government.

The Philippines is no exception. Between July 2010 and September 2015, 82 indigenous peoples and environmental rights defenders have been murdered by government security forces and their para-military forces. Thousands of students were forced to stop schooling due to enforced closure of schools for indigenous peoples by the military, and thousands more have been forced to evacuate their ancestral lands due to militarization and red-baiting.

The IPMSDL welcomes Mr. Duterte’s pronouncements of support for the struggle of indigenous peoples and their right to self determination. We look forward to Mr Duterte’s fulfilling his promises of supporting the development of indigenous peoples and the protection of ancestral lands from destructive mining, logging and power companies.

In line with our commitment to further the cause of indigenous peoples, we call on the Duterte administration to:
1.End all forms of militarization of indigenous peoples communities;
2.Stop extrajudicial killings, vilification, red-baiting and harassment of indigenous peoples and environmental rights defenders;
3.Respect indigenous peoples’ right to self determination;
4.Provide basic social services for indigenous peoples, especially the women and children indigenous peoples;
5.Prosecute all government officials involved in fraudulent contracts that undermine the right to self determination of indigenous peoples, especially in the issuance of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Claims and Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles.

However, we know that change is not instantaneous. We do see several urgent issues that we hope Mr. Duterte can address within the first 100 days of his presidency. We urge Mr. Duterte to:
1.Re-organize the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to really serve the interests of indigenous peoples in the country;
2.Review and, if necessary, recall and cancel all contracts given to large-scale mining and energy corporations that are in violation of the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples;
3.Immediately pull out all government security and military forces encamped in indigenous peoples communities and prohibit them from entering indigenous peoples communities without permission from the community members themselves;
4.Allow all internally displaced indigenous peoples to return to their homes without fear of reprisal and harassment;
5.Dismantle the Alamara, Bagani, Magahat and other para-military forces under the Philippine Armed Forces that continue to harass and kill indigenous peoples rights defenders;
6.Re-establish indigenous peoples schools and other development and socio-economic projects that were forcibly closed under the previous administration.

We sincerely hope that under Mr Duterte, indigenous peoples will be free to exercise their right to self determination. Finally, we hope that, indeed, for indigenous peoples and other exploited people of the Philippines, change is coming.

Stop the Killings! End Militarization Now! Fight Back!

Ms. Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator

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