On the struggle of indigenous people for their Ancestral Land and the struggle for genuine reform

By ALAN JAZMINES
Detained NDFP peace consultant
Member of the NDFP part in the GPH-NDFP RWCs on SER 
07 August 2013

Ednar Dayanghirang, who heads the present Philippine government’s part in the Government of the Republic of the Philippines – National Democratic Front of the Philippines Reciprocal Working Committees on Socio-Economic Reforms (GPH-NDF RWCs on SER), has come out either totally lying all the way or else totally knowing nothing, or a combination of both, in his statements to the media in an interview last Saturday with the DZRH radio station.

Dayanghirang stated that the New People’s Army (NPA) has been killing indigenous people, even if what is true is the other way around – it is the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) regular and paramilitary forces that have wantonly been killing indigenous people and national minorities, especially the leaders of these and protectors of their communities and rights, and committing other gross human rights violations against them.

The NDFP/NPA (on the part of the armed revolutionary movement) and KARAPATAN (on the part of human rights and legal cause-oriented people’s movement) have, in fact, been coming out with concrete real data exposing the atrocities that the fascist military and paramilitary forces have been committing left and right. The following are just some of such atrocities committed against indigenous people in Mindanao alone:

On 29 January 2013, Kitari Capion, a well-known and widely respected B’laan leader of the Red Pangayaw, a B’laan tribal movement against the destructive foreign big mining (particularly that of the Xtrata-Sagittarius Mining Incorporated) that has been eating up and destroying the tribe’s ancestral land, was killed by combined elements of the 27th and 39th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and paramilitary forces of these, who were then conducting security operations in the area. Kitari Capion was hit by a bullet in the head when the operating army troopers and their paramilitary forces rained bullets at the home of Kitari Capion. Kitari was brought by his family to the hospital, but died on arrival. 

The Kimlawis, community of the Capions and 150 or so other B’laans in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, protested the ruthless attack at the home of the family of Kitari Capion and the killing of the father of the family. The B’laans of Kimlawis also reiterated their protest at the earlier merciless killing of other members of the Capion family, particularly that of Kitari’s brother, Daguil, another well-known and widely respected B’laan leader of the Red Pangayaw and lead protestor against the destructive foreign big mining of the Xtrata-Sagittarius Mining Incorporated in their B’laan ancestral land. (As if to spite the Lumad indigenous people to which the B’laans belong, on Lumad month, the Bravo Company of the 27th IB PA under the command of 1st Lt. Dante Jimenez, raided the home of Kitari’s brother, Daguil Capion, to seize him, and, not finding him there, seized instead his two-month pregnant wife Juvy and their sons Jan-jan, seven years old, and Jorge, eleven years old, tortured them and, right in front of the Kimlawis community, mercilessly killed them. A daughter, Juvicky, and another female relative were also assaulted and hurt).

The entire B’laan Kimlawis community reiterated their long-standing demand for the exit from their ancestral land of the Task Force KITACOM (composed of the 27th IB PA, the 39th IB PA and their paramilitary forces), who have been operating in the area and wreaking havoc on the B’laan community there for the protection of the destructive foreign big mining firm they are serving.

The B’laans were only further threatened by the Task Force KITACOM and ignored by government. They were thus forced to vacate their homes and community on 01 January this year. In the meantime, the Task Force KITACOM and the destructive foreign big mining it serves continue unfettered in their operations against the B’laan and their exploitation and destruction of the B’laan ancestral land.

More indigenous people in Mindanao alone, extrajudicially killed by military and paramilitary forces of the present Aquino regime, include the following:

Gilbert Paborada, a Higaonon indigenous leader, was killed on 3 October 2012 in Opol, Misamis Oriental for leading his fellow Higaonon’s resistance to the expansion of the A. Brown Oil palm plantation, that would in effect landgrab their ancestral land.

Genesis Ambason, a Banuaon indigenous leader was killed on 13 September 2012 in San Luis, Agusan del Sur, for leading his fellow Banuaon’s resistance to the Malampay Mining’s destructive exploration of their ancestral land.

Jordan Manda, a Subanen indigenous child was killed on 1 August 2012, in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur, victimized in reprisal for the Subanen’s resistance to the expansion by the Toronto Ventures, Inc. of its mining operations to cover more Subanen ancestral land.

Totong Mabinsi, a Dibabawon indigenous farmer, was extrajudicially killed on 22 July 2012, in Laak, Compostela Valley, with his killing justified for his purportedly being an NPA fighter, even if he is just an ordinary farmer.

Jimmy Laguyon, a Matigsalog indigenous leader, was killed on 5 March 2012 in San Fernando, Bukidnon, for his refusal to allow large-scale mining in the Matigsalog ancestral land.

Dioguino Scuadro, a Tagakaolo indigenous leader was killed on 4 August 2011 in Barangay Ticulan, Malita, Davao del Sur, for his being – like the B’laans’ Capions – a leading advocate of opposition by the Tagakaolos to the Xtrata-Sagittarius Mining Incorporated’s destructive mining of the Tagakaolo ancestral land.

Arpe Datu Lapugotan Belayong and Solte San-ogan, both Higaonon indigenous leaders, were killed on 30 June 2011 in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, for their leading Higaonon resistance to destructive large-scale logging and mining operations in Higaonon ancestral land.

Ruben Gatong, Itik Auwisan, Nicodemedes dela Peña, Sr. and Nicomedes dela Peña, Jr., Matigsalog indigenous people, were killed on 27 April 2011 for their resistance to destructive large-scale mining explorations in Matigsalog ancestral land.

Florita Caya, another anti-large-scale mining indigenous leader was killed on 27 April 2011 in Monkayo, Compostela Valley for resisting the operations of destructive large-scale mining in their ancestral land.

Rudyrick Dejos and Rudy Dejos, B’laan indigenous people were killed on 27 February 2011 for their active organizing of B’laan farmers in their ancestral land.

More than a score more of indigenous Lumads have been killed from the onset of the present Aquino regime in June 2010 until the present for resisting the landgrabbing and destruction of their ancestral land.

While it is the destructive foreign large-scale mining, logging and other extractive interests and their puppet military and paramilitary that have actually been grabbing, exploiting and destroying the ancestral land of indigenous people and national minorities in the country, and, on the other hand, it is the NDFP/NPA which have been supporting them in their struggles for their claim to their ancestral land and their other rights, Dayanghirang goes further with his lies to claim that the NDFP/NPA proscribes the eventual state ownership of all land.

Dayanghirang is again a total liar, or is totally ignorant, or is a combination of both. The NDFP/NPA vigorously promotes and pushes for genuine land reform, starting from the free distribution of land to the tillers and indigenous people as the real owners of land and not the feudal lords, the capitalists and/or the state; the increasing cooperativization of labor, administration and production in the land; and the eventual communal ownership of the land. Claiming that the objective and end product is the state ownership of the land is a total falsity.

We, in the NDFP part of the GPH-NDFP RWCs on SER, strongly suggest that Dayanghirang seriously read the NDFP’s proposal for a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), long ago submitted to the GPH peace panel. This, so that our exchanges and commentaries should be based on actual facts and ideas, and not on lies, ignorance, or a combination of both.