Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Manifesto of Concern on the Continuing Disrespect for and Violation of the Rights of our Indigenous Peoples and a Challenge to all Presidential Candidates

WHEREAS, the Philippines has had a history of discrimination against indigenous peoples;

WHEREAS, while the IPRA law is considered as a landmark piece of legislation, many particularly our indigenous peoples, consider this law as inadequate to safeguard them of their rights to their ancestral lands and resources up to this day.

WHEREAS, there are estimated fifteen million indigenous peoples in the country, their concerns hardly figure in the National Consciousness. A great number still live in extreme poverty, are discriminated against, and have been subjected to the theft and plunder of their land and traditional habitats.

WHEREAS, National Relief Programs like the "Conditional Cash Transfer Program" (CCT) or the so-called "Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program" or 4 P's, pursuant to H.B. 6590 known as the Bulsa Pamilya Act of 2009, funded nationally and supported with a World Bank $450 million grant, conspicuously omitted the Indigenous Peoples (IP's) living in the fur-flung poverty-stricken areas of the land. Even those
running for high offices of the land, hardly mention the welfare of indigenous people as a priority concern of theirs.

WHEREAS, the 2010 national elections is a historic opportunity for the indigenous community to now let their voices be heard;

WHEREAS, we call on all candidates for national positions, particularly those running for President to make their positions known on the following issues: (a) Will they continue to adopt the policy of oppression and suppression of the right to self determination of our indigenous brothers and sisters; (b) Will they continue to adopt the policy of impunity with respect to indigenous peoples' rights to their ancestral domain; (c) Will they continue the policy of wanton disregard of the indigenous peoples' rights to exercise their free and informed prior consent to the exploitation of our natural resources; (d) Will they continue to ignore the plight of the indigenous people's (IP's) who are invariably left behind as social victims, ever struggling to seek a better quality of life

WHEREAS, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, to challenge all national candidates to: (a) Review and recommend to Congress the amendment of the oppressive provisions of the IPRA law; and (b.) Review and rescind all other national policies which continue to disrespect the right to self-determinstion of our indigenous brothers ancl sisters.

17ft day of March 2Al}, Davao City

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