TATE OF THE
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
state, aspirations, calls andactions.On the 26
of July, the fifteenth (15
) 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.