MANILA – On Aug. 9 last year, 25 indigenous peoples groups from all over the country gathered together to form the Katribu party list, in time for the commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.
Nelson Mallari, chairman of Central Luzon Aeta Association (CLAA), said indigenous peoples in the Philippines continue to face discrimination, hence the formation of the party-list group Katribu, of which he is the secretary-general.
“More than the discrimination based on our color and physical appearance, our right to self-determination is always undermined,” Mallari told Bulatlat in Filipino.
According to the 2009 annual report of the National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the estimated population of the Philippines’s indigenous population has reached 14 million, which constitutes 15.76 percent of the total population of the Philippines.
Mallari said they are against national oppression. “Under the Arroyo government, attacks on our rights as indigenous peoples have worsened,” he said, adding that they are displaced from their ancestral land by mining and other development projects. (See main story)
On Aug. 17, Mallari was joined by other indigenous peoples leaders from Cordillera and Mindanao in filing a petition for accreditation of party list groups for next year’s elections before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“We believe that we must have a significant role in defining the economic, socio-cultural, and political life of the whole Philippine nation and society, and that genuine participation and representation of indigenous peoples at all levels of government decision-making is necessary,” the Katribu charter reads.
Aileen Catamin, leader of Tumandok nga Mangunguma nga Nagapangapin sa Duta Kag Kabuhi (Tumanduk) in Panay, said that politicians would only remember them during the campaign period. “Our government officials do not even mind knowing our conditions,” Catamin said.
Even as Mallari recognized the rottenness of the political system in the country, he said there is a need to utilize all forms of struggle. “The parliament is a new arena where we can advance the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples.”
Antonio Calbayog of Bigkis at Lakas ng Katutubong Mamamayan sa Timog Katagalugan (Balatik), a regional alliance of indigenous peoples in Southern Tagalog, agreed. “We have been fighting for our right to ancestral land and our right to self-determination for centuries now. The party list system is another venue in protecting and asserting these rights.”
Through Katribu, Mallari said they hope to organize more indigenous peoples in the country to fight for their collective welfare. (By Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
The following are the Katribu founding members:
Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP )
Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA)
TAKDER or the Tignayan ti Agtutubo ti Kordilyera para Demokrasya ken Rang-ay
Pinagkaykaysa Dagiti Umili a Minorya Ti Cagayan Valley (PUNGANAY)
Urnos ti Aggay iti Cagayan (UAC)
Central Luzon Aeta Association (CLAA)
Samahan ng mga Katutubo sa Sierra Madre (SKSM)
Bigkis at Lakas ng Katutubo ng Timog Katagalugan (BALATIK)
HAGIBBAT stands for the tribes Hanunuo, Gubatnon, Iraya, Bangon, Buhid, Alangan and Tadyawan
Makabayang Samahan ng mga Dumagat (MASKADA)
Tulay Ugnayan ng mga Katutubong Dumagat ng Sierra Madre (TUNOD-KSM)
SAKADREN Dumagats in General Nakar, Quezon
Tumandok nga Mangunguma nga Nagapangapin sa Duta Kag Kabuhi (TUMANDUK)
PASAKA, or the Regional Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao
Kahogpongan sa Lumadnong Organisasyon (KASALO)- CARAGA region
Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) – Surigao
KALUMBAY – Northern Mindanao
Salabukan Nok’ G’taw Subanen (SGS) – Zamboanga Peninsula
Kahopongang Lumad sa Halayong Habagatang Mindanao (KALUHHAMIN) – Socksargen
Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (KALUMARAN) – Mindanao
BAI, or the National Federation of Indigenous Women’s Organizations in the Philippines
Tabak, or Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan Alay sa Katutubo
Katribu( Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino)