Presented by: MR. WINDEL B. BOLINGET, Cordillera Peoples Alliance
We express our utmost concern on the WCIP Outcome Document having made no explicit mention of indigenous peoples’ self-determination. Self-determination is the essence of indigenous peoples’ existence and the genuine respect and recognition of our collective rights over our lands, territories and resources is the basis of our survival as a people. For us indigenous peoples, LAND IS LIFE. However, these rights are way far from being implemented due to the intensified State and corporate plunder of our lands, territories and resources under the current neoliberal development paradigm which puts State interests and corporate profit over people’s genuine development and well-being. So-called development projects, coupled with militarization and human rights violations,often violate our right to Free Prior and Informed Consent. Worse, these violations are institutionalized through State laws and policies.
In the Philippines, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 has, for 17 years, not upheld the rights of indigenous peoples. Instead, the law has served as a tool of the State and foreign capitalists for the continued plunder of indigenous peoples’ territories and resources. Further, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the government agency that is supposed to promote and protect indigenous peoples’ rights facilitated the entry and implementation of corporate and destructive projects at the expense of indigenous peoples’ rights.Several other Philippine laws secure the interests of corporations and elite individuals, such as the Mining Act of 1995. Currently, at least 251 approved mining applications covering 532,368.36 hectares are located in indigenous territories. And alongside destructive mining projects are corporate energy projects, with at least 27 hydroelectric dams now posing a grave threat tothousands of indigenous peoples.
Wehereby reiterate our demands for the Philippine government and the United Nations to:
- Repeal and scrap unjust laws that violate our collective rights to our ancestral lands, territories and resources such as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. Abrogate the Regalian Doctrine which is a colonial imposition that institutionally declared us squatters in our own lands and territories.
- Revoke and stop all projects without the genuine FPIC of indigenous communities. Pull-out state military forces to ensure a democratic process and genuine exercise of FPIC.
- Stop the criminalization of community resistance and political repression of indigenous peoples defending their territories against capitalist plunder, land grabbing and development aggression.
- Dissolve the Philippine National Commission on Indigenous Peoples which became instrumental in the violation of our collective rights.
- Respect and recognize indigenous peoples’ socio-political institutions, and natural resource management systems and practices
- Ensure genuine implementation of indigenous peoples rights as enshrined in the UNDRIP and the WCIP Outcome Document.