Wednesday, April 22, 2020

IP leaders lash out at Bayan solon for speaking on their behalf

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22, 2020): IP leaders lash out at Bayan solon for speaking on their behalf (By Che Palicte)

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Eufemia Cullamat. (PNA file photo)

The Mindanao Indigenous Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL) slammed a leftist party-list lawmaker and Sandugo--a Moro and Indigenous People's (IP) rights group--for allegedly misrepresenting themselves as the voice of the tribes in Mindanao.

In a statement Tuesday, MIPCEL called on Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, Sandugo, and other "fake activists", to stop representing the IPs and refrain from "politicking" as the country reels from the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.

“They are not real IP rights advocates, despite their best efforts at projecting that they are such,” MIPCEL said.

MIPCEL issued the statement after Cullamat, Sandugo, and other leftist groups opposed the government's plan to turn idle portions of ancestral domains into food production areas.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar told reporters last Thursday that the initiative would ensure food security for the IPs "and reduce their dependence on the commercial market".

In separate statements last week, however, Cullamat and Sandugo rejected the idea, saying food is already being grown in ancestral lands.

MIPCEL condemned Cullamat and Sandugo's position, saying they had "outwardly rejected" the assistance being offered by DA, which they said was the request of the IPs anyway.

“Why now? It is because we are on the verge of the traditional planting season in most ancestral domains, and the DA’s assistance in providing farming implements and tools would go a long way to help secure our food security. The timing of these statements from Rep. Cullamat, Bayan Muna, and Sandugo, is not an accident,” MIPCEL said.

MIPCEL accused Cullamat and leftist groups of deliberately opposing the DA proposal to keep tribal communities poor and hungry.

The group said Cullamat, Bayan Muna, and Sandugo were only pursuing their "ideological framework at our expense".

"These empty propaganda posturing must not derail nor discourage government to do its mandate of Protecting the Rights and Welfare of the IP/ICCs (Indigenous Cultural Communities) that includes helping us develop and secure food in our ancestral domains,” MIPCEL added.

It also called on the DA and the National Commission on Indigenous People "to continue and promote the development of our ancestral domains. There will be no situation where there is no nuisance from this group".

While the group acknowledged that some of the leftist personalities are IP members, MIPCEL said Cullamat and other leftist IPs like her "consistently held the ideological line of Bayan Muna, often at the expense of the IPs".

”Yes, we know some of them as genuine members of ICC. But are they true community representatives? Were these political organizers and operators actually chosen by the Communities to be their representatives, through their traditional and culturally bound systems and practices? The clear answer is: no, they were not chosen,” MIPCEL said.

1 comment:

  1. Bayan Muna (People First) is a Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-linked political party an a member of the pro-CPP MAKABAYAN bloc in the Philippine Congress. SANDUGO (Movement of Moro and Indigenous People for Self Determination) is CPP umbrella front organization established to exploit issues related to indigenous people.


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