By ALMA B. SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY – Indigenous peoples’ (IP) partylist Katribu challenged the peace negotiating panels of both parties to look into the violations of IP rights.
In an interview, Katribu partylist president Beverly Longid said there were a lot of positive points tackled in the formal talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) but pointed out that the reciprocal working committees (RWCs) on Socio Economic Reforms should also look into the violations to IP rights to ancestral land. “Not only the ownership of land [should be discussed] but also management and utilization of the resources there in,” Longid said.
Longid added that the panels should tackle the collective rights of IPs being violated because of development projects imposed by the government which she said are resulting to collective rights violation like militarization, displacement, and others.
“We are hoping that they will not only look into civil and political rights but also peoples’ right to socio economic reforms,” she reiterated. She added that they are looking forward to seeing the negotiation panels’ comprehensive common draft on the said socio- economic reforms.
With regard to political and constitutional reforms, Longid said the GPH should to look into the cases of all political prisoners in the country. “Not only to look into it but to expedite their release,” she said.
The bigger challenge to both parties, according to Longid, is not only to come out with agreements but these agreements should respond to the root causes of armed conflict. However, she said it is not saying that peace will be achieved immediately.
Longid also encouraged the Filipino people not only to monitor the development of the peace talks but to remain vigilant and supportive to such processes. She called for the people to actively participate in consultations that the parties will be holding especially on the socio economic reforms. “Let’s send forward our proposals and probably the issues that can be investigated with regards to reforms,” she stressed.