“He (Aquino) does not recognize and respect the indigenous peoples rights to their land and self-determination, and he turns a blind eye to the killings of indigenous peoples and the grave human rights violations committed against them by agents of the State.”
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA — The Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu) joined the growing calls to oust President Aquino for bringing on “calamities, crises, and overall worse conditions for the Filipino people, and the indigenous peoples.”
The renewed call for Aquino’s ouster was the unified cry by some 100 indigenous peoples leaders and representatives from 10 regions, who were at Katribu’s fourth national congress, held in Quezon City from March 3 to 5. At least 29 ethnolinguistic groups belonging to 13 regional groups were represented.
At the closing of its congress, the alliance, which formerly had the acronym “Kamp,” also announced the change in its shortened name to “Katribu.”
Katribu cited seven grounds for Aquino’s ouster:
1. Aquino’s bellicosity in the handling of the Manila Hostage Crisis, Zamboanga Siege, and the Sabah Crisis;
2. Criminal negligence of victims of disasters, such as typhoons Pablo and Yolanda, and the earthquake in Central Visayas;
3. Corruption in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and pork barrel;
4. Subservience to the US government by its signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca);
5. Lack of a genuine agrarian reform program and national industrialization, as exposed in the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita;
6. Injustice and continuing violations of human rights, including 50 indigenous peoples who were victims of extrajudicial killings;
7. The recent Mamasapano fiasco.
“He (Aquino) does not recognize and respect the indigenous peoples rights to their land and self-determination, and he turns a blind eye to the killings of indigenous peoples and the grave human rights violations committed against them by agents of the State,” said Piya Macliing Malayao, Katribu secretary general.
Jomorito Goaynon, chair of the Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, said that up to 1,000 Banwaons from different villages in Agusan del Sur recently forcibly evacuated to Balit village in San Luis. The Lumads were evading massive military operations, suspected to be clearing the area for the entry of mining companies.
Malayao also cited Aquino’s Executive Order 79, which strengthened the Mining Act of 1995, long condemned by environmental and indigenous peoples groups for allowing big, foreign mining companies to despoil tribal ancestral lands.
Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP), which is part of the neoliberal policy of privatization, also “sold out” ancestral lands to private businesses for eco-tourism projects, plantations, economic zones and energy projects,” Malayao said.
“We have every reason to call for his removal in Malacanang,” Malayao said.
Windel Bolinget, Katribu national co-convener and chair of the Cordillera People’s Alliance said that they also support the formation of a transition council to replace Aquino. He said that Katribu can endorse any one of its newly-elected national council, as representative of the indigenous peoples.
“The most crucial issue at hand is to first oust Aquino. His replacement will be next,” said Bolinget.
Groups calling for the President’s removal from office are advocating the setting up of an extralegal transition council to be composed of leaders of progressive groups and civil society who participate in the broad ouster movement.