Government tribal agency anti-Lumad – critics

Feb. 26, 2016

By Aimee Gito, Davao Today Intern

DAVAO CITY – A regional alliance of tribal organizations has criticized the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as anti-tribe, following a recent burning of a dormitory inside an evacuation center here ran by the religious.

Kerlan Fanagel, general secretary of the tribal alliance, Pasaka, said the NCIP “is of no use to the welfare of those in the evacuation center”.

Despite the agency’s core purpose since it was established in 1997, “the NCIP was useless in uplifting the situation of the Lumad and in giving them services”, Fanagel said.

The NCIP has been assigned to implement Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997, a legislation that recognizes and promotes all the rights of indigenous peoples in the country.

Jong Monzon, Pasaka spokesperson recalled that when they sought for NCIP’s help in their human rights violation case, “the agency passed its obligation to the people in the evacuation center to search for evidences regarding the case.”

“Wala jud siyay tabang kanamo diri sa evacuation center (It has not helped us in the evacuation cente)r,” Monzon said.

Fanagel added that schools built in indigenous communities “are through the initiative of different organizations supporting indigenous peoples, and not of NCIP.”

He challenged the NCIP to visit indigenous communities to know their situations, “instead of waiting in their offices wherein daghan na mig mga tambak tambak nga mga petisyon, daghan na mig tambak tambak na mga statement ug uban pa nga mga gifile (..our petitions have piled up in their office).”

Fanagel also called the NCIP as “an implementor of Oplan Bayanihan”. The Operation Plan is the military’s main counterinsurgency plan by implementing community projects.

Operation Plan Bayanihan, according to Fanagel, “is a military operation that pushed the Lumads to evacuate their communities to avoid being affected or harmed by the military.”

“Unsa may iexpect nimo sa usa ka opisina sa lumad nga dili alang sa katawhang Lumad (What can we expect of that tribal agency that is not for the indigenous peoples),” he said.

“Ang klaro na statement namo sa NCIP, ang NCIP usa ka inutil nga ahensya sa gobyerno (Our statement is that the NCIP is inutile),” Fanagel said.(

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