Tribal leader urges gov’t, communist rebels to resume peace talks | Inquirer News

Tribal leader urges gov’t, communist rebels to resume peace talks

By: - Correspondent / @dtmallarijrINQ
/ 03:28 PM September 10, 2011

LUCENA CITY, Philippines—A tribal leader in the Sierra Madre mountains in northern Quezon appealed to both the government and communist rebels to resume peace talks to stop turning their mountain habitat into a “bloody playground.”

“The communist rebels and the government should stop focusing on their differences and instead face each other again at the peace table with a sincere intention to end the armed conflict,” Ramcy Astoveza, an Agta leader, said in a phone interview.

ADVERTISEMENT

Astoveza, executive director of the Tribal Center for Development Foundation Inc. based in Infanta town, said representatives of the indigenous people should be included in the peace talks.

“We want to be represented in the peace negotiation. We want to know what kind of peace they are  talking because most often they are using our mountain habitat as playground for their bloody war games,” he said.

FEATURED STORIES

Citing the 2010 Indigenous Peoples Policy Agenda, Astoveza said  indigenous people should be consulted and given proper representation in the resumption of peace talks between the government and Muslim secessionists and between the government and communist armed groups.

He pleaded for a total stop to the armed conflict and to let the indigenous people live in peace.

Astoveza recalled the numerous times his tribe had sought refuge at the TCD building in Infanta after the military and the guerrillas engaged in clashes.

During the heat of the encounters, food aid and medicines for the tribal community were often blocked by the military on suspicion that they were intended for the  New People’s Army.

Astoveza accused both the military and the NPA of human rights violations and of desecrating  their culture.

Some of the natives were  forced to join the paramilitary Citizens’ Armed Forces Geographical Unit despite their strong protests, tribal  leaders told the Inquirer in past interviews.

Astoveza said tribesmen in the Sierra Madre were also monitoring the developments in the peace talks between the government and  Moro rebels in Mindanao.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

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.

TAGS: Agta, Communist Insurgency, CPP, Indigenous people, New People’s Army, Peace Talks
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.