In a protest in Mendiola today, indigenous peoples groups led by Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU) called Pres. Duterte “anti-indigenous peoples” and called for his ouster.
Indigenous leaders, educators, and advocates commemorated the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples with decentralized protests in Manila, Nueva Vizcaya, Baguio City, Pampanga, Iloilo, Surigao del Sur, Davao City, and Misamis Oriental.
The protesters expressed their demand to end attacks against indigenous peoples and communities through the ouster of the “US-Duterte regime”, saying that the Duterte administration “brought death and destruction, widespread human rights violations, loss of land and livelihood, poverty, and displacement of communities and people”.
“He [Duterte] even boasted about his search for investors for our lands to ensure funding for the destructive projects that we have long opposed,” KATRIBU secretary general Piya Malayao said.
She added that projects such as Kaliwa-Laiban Dam in Rizal and Quezon; Chico River Dam in Kalinga and Cagayan; Capas-Botolan Road and New Clark City projects in Zambales Mountain Range will widely dispalce IP communities, intensify land grabbing, and further increase Philippine foreign debt.
In 2016, KATRIBU submitted the Indigenous Peoples Agenda to Malacañang in hopes that Duterte would follow through with substantial reforms for national minorities. Groups pointed out that instead of consultations with indigenous communities, the president implemented the government’s so-called counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, as well as policies of privatization, deregulation, and liberalization that led to human rights violations and overstepping of indigenous peoples’ rights to ancestral domain and self-determination.
The groups also reported that under Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao and Oplan Kapayaan, there have been 47 IP victims of extra-judicial killings, 24 incidents bombings, and intensified military offensives leading to forcible displacement of estimated number of 27,000 IPs in the country’s three major islands. There are also 384 recorded incidents of attacks on IP communities, leading to forcible closure of 72 schools.
Protesters also slammed the administration’s move to cancel the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, saying that the cancellation would be damaging to the indigenous’ peoples struggle for rights.