On the Appointment of Retired Col. Capuyan as Undersecretary of IP Concerns in The Philippines

The Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) deplores the further militarization of bureaucracy in the Philippines with President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of Retired Colonel Allen Capuyan as the new Presidential Adviser for Indigenous Peoples’ concern last April 23.

Capuyan, now head of the task force formed supposedly to “emphasize the need for greater convergence among national government line agencies on IP concerns,” was dragged in cases of corruption and smuggling of illegal drugs in the Bureau of Customs, while he was an official of the Manila International Airport Authority.

He has also been accused as the man behind the wiretapping of the phone call conversation between former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and then Commission on Elections official about allegedly rigging the results of the 2004 national elections. He was the Chief for Operations of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He also served as the Intelligence Service Unit Chief of Davao City, where President Duterte previously served as the mayor, and was one of the minds behind the intensified military operations in Mt. Diwalwal in Mindanao. By collaborating with local mining corporations and sowing fear in the community through made-up stories about rebel-forces in the area, he was able to justify heavy militarization of the mountain area, thereby evicting Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral land in favor of the mining companies.

The IPMSDL registers its strong disapproval on the militarizing of agencies that assume to safeguard the rights and lives of IP. We remain firm in its call – to genuinely address the needs of the IP, the government should stop selling the ancestral lands of Lumad, Moro, and IP in Mindanao to big foreign investors who run destructive mining and plantation businesses.

The recent massive forced evacuations of at least 30,000 Lumad families, the killings of over 30 Lumad under the Duterte regime, the harassment, food blockade, and intimidation on the students and teachers in Lumad schools in the pretext of the Martial Law extension in the whole of island of Mindanao, only shows the insincerity of the state in genuinely resolving the problems of immense poverty, dislocations, environmental plunder, injustice, and human rights violations that lead to the Lumad’s genocide.

In addition, several IP leaders and advocates have been continuously harassed and silenced and tagged as terrorists by the state using the problematic Human Security Act of 2007. Among those tagged werenational minority leaders from Mindanao like Datu Mandayhon, Datu Mampadayag, and Mamerto Guyanon who are known to actively oppose mining corporation and agribusiness plantations that encroached in their ancestral lands.

We denounce this move by the Duterte administration of further militarizing and sowing terror among IP in the Philippines! We call on all Indigenous Peoples and human rights organizations and advocates to unite against all forms of attacks and brutal repression of the state and corporations to IP leaders and communities! We appeal to the international community to stand with us in the struggle for freedom, ancestral lands, and the right to self-determination and ways of life!



Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | info@ipmsdl.org