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State of the Indigenous Peoples Address 2010 (SIPA) English

State of the Indigenous Peoples Address 2010 (SIPA) English

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Published by Lrc Luzon
More than a hundred indigenous peoples (IP) leaders representing lumad communities all over the country gathered to forge an IP Agenda for the newly inaugurated Aquino administration.

The State of the Indigenous Peoples Address (SIPA ’10 was held at the Hall of Peace, Sungco, Lantapan town, in Bukidnon. The opening coincides with the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.
More than a hundred indigenous peoples (IP) leaders representing lumad communities all over the country gathered to forge an IP Agenda for the newly inaugurated Aquino administration.

The State of the Indigenous Peoples Address (SIPA ’10 was held at the Hall of Peace, Sungco, Lantapan town, in Bukidnon. The opening coincides with the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

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Published by: Lrc Luzon on Oct 06, 2010
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10/06/2010

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 SIPA 20101
S
TATE OF THE
I
NDIGENOUS
P
EOPLES
A
DDRESS
2010
 
We, the leaders of different indigenous communities in the Philippines, including the Ata-Manobo, Ayta, Ayta-Mag-antsi, B’laan, Hanunuo, Hanunuo-Mangyan, Higaonon, Ibaloi-Kalanguya, Kalanguya-Kankana-ey, Kankana-ey, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Manobo, Manubo-Timamana, Mansaka, Menuvu, Menuvu-Erumanen, Menuvu-Pulangeun, Obo-Manobo,Pala’wan, Subanen, Subanon, Talaandig, Teduray, Timamana, Tagabawa, T’boli, T’boli-Ubo, atTuali, have convened at the Hall of Peace, Apu Agbibilin Community, Barangay Songco,Lantapan, Bukidnon, from 26-28 July 2010, to make known our 
true
state, aspirations, calls andactions.On the 26
th
of July, the fifteenth (15
th
) President of the Republic of the Philippines delivered hisfirst State of the Nation Address (SONA). Much like his predecessors, the President’s SONAfailed to accurately reflect the true state of indigenous peoples. This failure is borne out of the prevailing political and economic systems that burden and impoverish indigenous communities.The history, traditions and customs of indigenous peoples pre-existed the Republic of thePhilippines. Even before the first president was proclaimed, we already enjoy a close andestablished relationship with our ancestral territories, our indigenous structures of governanceand indigenous justice system, our sustainable of utilization of natural resources, anddevelopment of our rich culture.During the period of colonization, however, indigenous peoples were included as part of the“Republic of the Philippines” through deceit, intimidation and force. This marked the beginningand continuation of the destruction and damage to our lands, our culture and our communities
--
 the very process that ends indigenous identity. It is because of this that the history of indigenous peoples became a history of continuing struggle for self-determination over their territories and,more importantly, over their own lives.The true state of the indigenous peoples is a state of constant struggle for land, life, dignity,livelihood, culture, peace and development.The life of indigenous communities is beset with problems inflicted by the State: problemsdirected at communities that include forced taking of ancestral lands, mining, logging, plantations; and problems affecting them such as militarization, counter-insurgency, graft andcorruption, and a crippling foreign debt.Even programs and policies implemented by the government which, at first, seems “significant”to its citizens – such as construction of roads, legislating into law the Comprehensive AgrarianReform Act (CARL) and the National Integrated Protected System (NIPAS) Act – actually pose problems and cause damages to indigenous peoples.
 
 SIPA 20102
The continuous suffering of indigenous peoples and our collective struggle against the same,characterizes the present state of indigenous peoples. Whereas we used to maintain, develop andgovern our lands – we now are now being subjugated, burdened and relegated to the margins.1.
 
The Republic and its systems destroy indigenous political structures. To-date, thereremains but very few indigenous communities who maintain and exercise indigenousgovernance and right to self-determination over their lives and their territory. Corollary tothis, indigenous beliefs and traditions have gradually withered away. Thesenotwithstanding, indigenous peoples are not given sufficient representation withingovernment institutions. The Republic likewise fails in its obligation to provide basicservices to its indigenous citizens.2.
 
The government is relentless in its policy of opening the whole country to “development” projects, such as mining, logging, plantations, and dams; therefore exposing our ancestraldomains to exploitation by corporations by giving them rights over our territories andnatural resources to manufacture products dictated by the global market instead of allowing us to enjoy the beneficial uses of our lands for the needs of our communities.The government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(“DENR”) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (“NCIP”), behave as if they are these corporations’ lackeys – rather than serving as protectors of theenvironment and advocate of indigenous peoples’ rights.3.
 
Development aggression projects cause great disorder and disturbance to indigenous peoples not just on forced taking of our ancestral lands but also sowing division amongindigenous leaders, facilitating coerced displacement of communities, using violence tosuppress any and all forms of dissent, including peaceful assemblies, extrajudicialkillings of advocates for indigenous rights, against militarization and other forms of human rights violations. The state utilizes government agencies which are mandated toensure peace and security, against indigenous peoples to protect the investment andoperations of corporations.4.
 
It is difficult, if not impossible, to invoke the law to assert or protect our rights. The law,on the contrary, is being used to undermine our rights. The rights that are recognized bythe Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in our favor is nullified by the loopholes foundin the very law itself, by inconsistent interpretations of government officials, by contrary provisions contained in other laws, and by the NCIP’s poor and faulty implementation of IPRA. NCIP further diluted the favorable provisions of IPRA with its issuance of the2006 FPIC Guidelines that facilitates the process of free and prior informed consent in
 
 SIPA 20103
favor of corporations. Therefore despite the issuance of CADT, the security of our ancestral domains is still under threat of the entry of commercial industries.5.
 
We are affected by the State’s offensive against rebel groups, and oftentimes, we arecaught in the middle. We share the will and desire to achieve lasting peace, but becausewe are not armed, we are left out of the peace process. On the contrary, we often findourselves shocked to learn of agreements entered into by the State that affects our territories and our right to self-determination.After hearing President Aquino’s SONA, we note his commendable policy directives againstcorruption, on resolving the spate of extra-judicial killings of media men and leaders of activistgroups, on restoring initiatives for cease fire to allow peace talks, and his public declarationcalling for the passage of the National Land Use Bill. This is a radical, but welcomed departurefrom the policies of the oppressive and corrupt Arroyo regime. Notwithstanding the long and protracted struggle we have bravely endured since timeimmemorial, the president did not mention anything new in regard to the issue of indigenous peoples. Even president Aquino’s reference to the inclusion of the indigenous peoples in the peace process in Mindanao – that Moros, Christians and Lumads need to talk and settle their differences – is far from novel. This has been repeatedly promised by previous presidents somany times over that it has been reduced to nothing more but empty words that ring hollow.We do not see even the slightest of initiative to correct the historical injustices againstindigenous peoples. We have not heard the president lay down any remedy to address the problems that perpetuate our suffering. On the contrary, we fear his policies will intensifycorporate and state intrusion into our territories and into our lives.There is nothing in the culture of the indigenous peoples that will provide credence to the president’s focus on “public-private partnerships,” except that it will inevitably lead to the entryof corporations into our ancestral domains. It is the height of irony for the republic to arrogateunto itself our ancestral domain as part of public domain, then subsequently surrenders possession and control over the same to corporations and other private entities. This illustrateshow the state subjugates indigenous people, a policy which the Aquino administration perpetuates.His policy of expediting the application and registration processes for companies (engaged inmining and other extractive industries) is disconcerting, especially so in light of the history of atrocities perpetrated by corporations against our natural resources, and destruction of our environment and our ancestral lands, and the long list of human rights violations brought about by the entry of foreign investors.

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