There are three things we can learn from the disaster brought about by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
One, natural calamities intensifies the ill effects on our people already faced with man-made disaster brought about by poverty; the inutility of government to provide basic social services; and its promotion of policies/programs that result in environmental degradation. After a natural disaster strikes our country, it is more a common sight to see the poor people - who in the first place do not have adequate livelihood before a typhoon or an earthquake strikes - to line up for relief goods to survive on a daily basis. In the case of typhoon Yolanda, the poor people have become desperate enough to “loot” food and water from business establishments just to survive because of the lack of relief goods.
The indigenous peoples (IP) under the progressive KATRIBU Partylist joins the immediate family, relatives, friends and comrades of Dagil Capion in remembering the life and struggle of the Juvy Capion. KATRIBU likewise joins them in seeking justice for the Juvy Capion and her two children.
A year passed since the brutal massacre of Juvy Capion and her two children. Yet justice has not been served. The absence of justice adds more pain and suffering to their family and, to us indigenous peoples. The saying goes “justice delayed is justice denied”. Each day that justice is not served is a day to remind us that the Aquino administration is not sincere and becomes an accomplice to deny justice for Juvy and her two children. The Aquino administration is lightning fast in defending the PDAF and DAP including his associates implicated in this issue but is slothful to pursue justice for Capion family and the more than 30 IP victims of extra-judicial killings under the current regime.
He was an indigenous leader who lived to serve his fellow Higaonon in the defense of their ancestral land.
He was the chairperson of Pangalasag, a member organization of the regional alliance Kalumbay and an organization of Higaonon indigenous people in Opol, Misamis Oriental.
His organization has a firm stand against the oil palm plantation of A. Brown Company, Inc. which operates in barangays Tingalan and Bagocboc in Opol.
He and his organization took serious steps towards the resurgence of their customary laws especially in decision-making and granting of consent which decades of dispossession of their ancestral lands eroded.
He was active in researches, fact-finding missions, dialogues with government officials, petitions and protest actions against the oil palm plantation of A. Brown in their ancestral land.
In 1995, then President Ramos signed into law RA 7941 or the Party-List System Act that gave life to section 5, Article VI of the Constitution. This constitutional provision states, “(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, xxx who shall be elected from legislative districts xxx, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. xxx from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.”
The party-list law provided in its Declaration of Policy (Section 2), “The State xxx through a party-list system xxx will enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, xxx.” Section 5 further added, “the sectors shall include labor, peasant, fisher folk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.”
In the first few months of the Aquino presidency in 2010, more than 60 organizations gathered to forge an Indigenous Peoples (IP) Agenda. Three years hence, there has been no substantive response from this administration on the IP Agenda, nor has there been any significant development in favor of indigenous peoples. In fact, indigenous peoples still suffer the same problems raised in the IP agenda.
The IP Agenda was originally divided into six themes such as: (1) On the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), titling of ancestral lands and domain, Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP); (2) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Indigenous Peoples; (3) The GRP and MILF Peace Talks, the Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity (BJE) and the GRP and NDFP Peace Talks; (4) Human Rights Violations; (5) Mining and other Development Projects; and (6) Conflicting Laws.
Gathering this time on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we, indigenous peoples under the umbrella of the Philippine UNDRIP Network, a loose network of indigenous peoples’ national and regional networks, organizations and institutions, met on August 7, 2013, to celebrate the International Day of the World’s People and agreed upon an updated Indigenous Peoples’ Agenda, building upon previous statements and declarations of various indigenous peoples’ meetings and formations. We are submitting these to the government and the newly elected Congress, the multilateral bodies based in the Philippines and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014, which is a High-Level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly.
The Assembly expressed full support to the Alta Outcome Document agreed upon by 700 indigenous representatives from all over the world in the Alta Conference from June 10-12, 2013.
While the Filipino people are demanding for the abolition of the pork barrel system, we are confronted with yet another situation where national government, AFP and PNP spends the people’s money over something senseless. Today, August 30th, aerial bombings and ground military operations of the police and military shook Mountain Province, immediately affecting at least the northern communities of Sagada and upland communities of Bontoc.
CPA strongly condemns this, and we call for an immediate stop to the military operations before community properties, livelihood, and resources are destroyed and before any civilian becomes a victim of the military bombings and operations. We demand for the accountability of State armed forces, and we call on the local officials of Mountain Province and the Cordillera, all peace-loving individuals and organisations, to condemn the militarisation and push for the resumption of the peace negotiations of the Government of the Philippines (GPh) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to address the roots of the longstanding armed conflict towards attaining genuine, just and lasting peace.
Agosto 21, 2013, pasado alas-9 ng gabi, inihatid ni Barangay Kagawad Alfonso Shog-oy si Bryan Epa, 35 years old, isang organizer ng KATRIBU Partylist sa Nueva Viscaya at kilalang anti mining activist. Nagpaiwan si Bryan sa Brgy. Salvacion, Dumlao Blvd upang kunin ang iniwang bag sa isang kakilala at babalikan na lamang siya doon. Sa puntong ito, napansin ng isa nilang kasama ang tatlong pulis sa kantong pinagbabaan ni Bryan.
Pagbalik ng kagawad upang sunduin si Bryan, nakita nya ang anim na pulis na nakasakay sa patrol car. Tatlo ang bumaba at lumapit kay Bryan. Narinig niyang tinatanong ni Bryan kung bakit kinukuha ang kanyang bag. Pinilit na siyang isakay sa loob ng patrol car. Tinanong niya kung ano ang kanyang kaso at sinabihan siyang kakausapin lamang siya dahil siya ay suspicious looking.