Palace allays fears of IPs in ‘development’ of ancestral domains
The plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to “develop” ancestral domain areas in Mindanao is primarily aimed at eradicating hunger and poverty among the lumads, Malacañang said Saturday.
A Malacañang official issued this statement after several groups raised concern that Duterte’s plan to open lumad lands to investors would displace more indigenous people (IP).
“Ang sabi lang naman niya [Duterte], papapasukin niya ang mga namumuhunan doon sa mga ancestral domains nang sa ganoon, maibsan ang kagutuman ng mga lumad,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.
(What he said was he would allow investors to enter ancestral domains to help address hunger among the lumads.)
Roque said that job generation in the indigenous people’s communities would weaken the influence of the New People’s Army (NPA), whom he alleged to be forcing the lumads join its ranks.
“Lilinawin po namin, ang lahat po ng datos ay nagpapakita na ang nagsasamantala sa mga lumads ay NPA,” he said.
(Allow me to make this clear: All the data show that the ones exploiting the lumads are the NPA.)
“Sapilitan po silang ginagawang miyembro ng NPA! Ginagawang mga mandirigma at kawawang-kawawa po ang mga lumad,” he added.
(They are being forced to become members of the NPA! They make the poor lumads their warriors.)
Speaking before some 1,000 “lumad” leaders in Davao City on Thursday, Duterte said he would work for the entry of investors to their areas, such as in the hinterlands of the city and in Andap Valley, Surigao del Sur.
“I will work for (it), I will choose the kind of investors (the areas need),” he said.
But Kerlan Fanagel from the lumad group Pasaka Confederation, said the Duterte’s plan to invite investors to their ancestral domain would result in massive displacements.
Corporations with investments in mining and plantations would occupy lumad lands, he said.
“This is a total sellout and for the good of corporations only. Where will the lumad go?” Fanagel said.
He said that under the Mining Act, mining firms would have total control of an area where minerals are extracted. “This means that the lumads would no longer be allowed in,” he said.
Many IP groups blame militarization and mining in many parts of Mindanao as the cause of killings and displacement of lumad communities. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.