With the imminent win by presidential candidate Rodrigo R. Duterte, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), challenges the incoming president to dedicate his first 100 days in office responding to the urgent issues of indigenous peoples nationwide. Duterte knows this well, coming from Mindanao and being well aware of the spate of killings of the Lumad, the political vilification of indigenous activists and advocates, the brazen non-recognition of indigenous peoples’ right of self-determination.
We have had our share of such discrimination and violation in the Cordillera, homeland of the indigenous Igorot. We were part of the delegation of indigenous peoples that trooped to Malacañang in 2011, at the start of BS Aquino’s term, to submit the Indigenous Peoples Agenda. But this amounted to nothing as Aquino’s term proved only to be a continuance of the past GMA regime, with the same programs and policies unleashed at the expense of the people, especially the vast marginalized majority.
We specifically put forward our Cordillera Peoples Agenda, which tackles the core concerns of indigenous peoples’ rights—ancestral land and self-determination, with concrete legislative demands on the urgent issues of human rights and peace, mining, energy, genuine regional autonomy, food security and political participation and good governance. The agenda further includes sectoral concerns of drivers, women, youth, workers, senior citizens and persons with disabilities. The resumption of the peace negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Democratic Front of the Philippines was also highlighted in the agenda. These agenda resulted from the successful Cordillera Day 2016 organised by CPA in the provinces of Benguet, Abra, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao including the City of Baguio last April.
CPA hopes that the incoming president will look into these issues and considers these in his program of action for the first 100 days in office. We hope that the new administration will listen to the voice of indigenous peoples.***
Abigail B. Anongos