KATRIBU Partylist - Central Luzon
August 22, 2012
The Central Luzon Aetas Association (CLAA, Ayta group), Timpuyog Kaigorotan-Nueva Ecija (Igorot), Samahan ng mga Katutubo sa Sierra Madre-Aurora (Dumagat, Bugkalot, Agta and Alta) and Katribu Partylist-Central (Katribu-CL) Luzon joined the protest in commemorating the International Day of Indigenous Peoples led by Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) at Mendiola bridge, Manila. The protest was also attended by indigenous communities from other regions who struggle against large scale mining, land grabbing and militarization in the countryside. The groups protested to condemn the US-Aquino regime on its anti-indigenous peoples’ policy.
“We firmly believe that president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino has neglected, exploited and deceived indigenous peoples in the region. The Ayta, Igorot, Dumagat and others have joined hands to condemn Aquino as he only serves the interest of local and foreign investors” stated by Marjorie Dulnuan, spokesperson of Timpuyog Kaigorotan and Katribu Partylist-CL.
“Aquino is destroying our culture by taking away our ancestral lands and source of livelihood. He has opened up our mountains to foreign plunder such as mining, logging, construction of dams and more,” she added.
“In Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, the Timpuyog Kaigorotan condemned the land grabbing and displacement of Lopez owned Energy Development Corporation (EDC), California Energy (CalEn) and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to Igorot communities. At first, they’ve offered watershed and reforestation program to us and later on, displaced us and converted our 50 hectares of land to fruit plantation” according to Dulnuan.
The groups said, particularly in Sitio Maluyon and Lower Tuli, military presence have caused fear to Igorot and their families. Active leaders and members of Timpuyog Kaigorotan have experienced harassment from military men just like what happened to Ernesto Bubod, an active leader, who was illegally arrested and detained last 2011. Also, military has been active in recruiting Igorot for CAFGUs and promoting the counter-insurgency program ‘Oplan Bayanihan’ of Aquino regime to Igorot communities.
“In Aurora, Dumagat, Bugkalot, Agta and Alta communities are victims of land grabbing and displacement due to Aurora Pacific Economic Zones and Free Port (APECO) by Angara family. Also, they were recruited as ‘Bantay Kalikasan’ and used to entertain foreign tourists who visits the area. At present, the Samahan ng mga Katutubo sa Sierra Madre (SKSM)-Aurora has been active in supporting the struggle of dumagat and igorot in the province’’ according to Dulnuan.
“The Ayta community in Brgy. Camias, Porac, Pampanga is in danger due to planned mining operations of Dizon family-owned Pisumpan Copper Mines Inc. (PMCI). The Ayta immediately opposed the mining operation and experienced harassment, physical abuse, warrantless searches in their houses and food blockade by the military men” according to Edwin Danan, Spokesperson of Central Luzon Aetas Association (CLAA).
Katribu Partylist-CL said that mining operations is also present in Zambales that displaced Ayta communities. Ayta communities that were displaced in Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales are concentrated to resettlement camps which totally destroyed their way of life such as cultivating their ancestral lands.
“Aquino is worsening the state of indigenous peoples in the region as we are already victims of massive land grabbing and displacement. Our basic rights were totally trampled by this regime and this only means poverty and landlessness to us,” added by Danan.
“We call on other sectors to support us on our struggle to defend our lives and land. We firmly believe that defending our land means preserving our life that should be acquired by our next generation’’ ended by Danan. #