Posted by: Bulatlat.com
MANILA — Over 50 indigenous leaders and representatives from different parts of the country including the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) marched to Mendiola August 9 to submit the Indigenous People’s Agenda to President President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
The group’s attempt to enter Malacañang to submit the Agenda to President Aquino was unsuccessful as they were not allowed entry in Mendiola. Instead, a representative of the Office of the President met the group outside the gate to receive the submission. This day marked the start of the Indigenous People’s Week celebration held in Manila. August 9 was declared by the United Nations as the International Day of Indigenous Peoples in 1995.
Dressed in indigenous attires, indigenous peoples from the Cordillera, Central Luzon, Panay Island, Mindoro and Mindanao held a short program after the march in Mendiola.
“We come from different parts of the country and are gathered today to submit the demands of the indigenous peoples to President Noynoy Aquino. We are here to pose a challenge to the new administration: that he must keep his promise to the people and heed our demands concerning the environment, human rights and plunder of natural resources in indigenous territories,” explained Windel Bolinget, CPA Chairperson.
Under the central theme “Challenging the Aquino Government to Protect, Respect and Fulfil the Indigenous Peoples Rights to Ancestral Lands and Self-determination”, the week-long activities in celebration of IP Day include the council meeting of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) of which the CPA is a founding member. In this meeting, KAMP members discussed ways to further the indigenous people’s campaign for their rights to their ancestral lands and to self-determination with focus on mining and human rights issues.
“A sunrise ritual Panawagtawag was held on August 9 at the University of the Philippines Ampitheater, followed by an assembly of indigenous peoples and advocates at the University Hostel which came up with a wider unified agenda for the Aquino administration”, added Bolinget.
This year’s IP Week celebration was jointly organized by KAMP and KATRIBU Partylist. Posted by: (Bulatlat.com)