200 Lumad youth leaders participate in Mindanao wide Indigenous People youth peace assembly

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – In pursuit of a better and peaceful future, more than 200 Indigenous People (IP) Youth Leaders and selected IP Council of Elders participated in the recently conducted 3-day Mindanao IP Youth Peace Assembly with the theme: “Arise and Shine: IP Young Leaders for the Next Generation”, held at Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center, Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City on June 12-14, 2019.

The 3-day activity was jointly facilitated by the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Youth Organization (MIPYO), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process-Davao Management Area (OPAPP-DAM), Office of the Presidential Adviser on IP Concerns (OPAIPC), Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL) in coordination with the Regional Line Agencies in Region 10 and the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army.

The IP youth and council of elders, who come from Regions 9, 10, 11, 12 and CARAGA, actively participated in the peace assembly which discussed and gave emphasis on the 14 Thematic Issues of IPs, Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), Peace and Development in their ancestral domain and the preservation of IP cultures.

Edgar Manangan Sansitiba, a member of the Subanen Tribe in Dinas, Zamboanga del Sur said, “Maayo kay nahisgutan og klaro ang yutang kabilin. Isip usa ka IP adunay katungod kita na mamuyo nga malinawon og mogamit sa yutang kabilin. Dapat mosobay usab ang tanan sa balaod sa IPRA og i respito ang katungod sa tribu.” “It’s good that ancestral domain was properly discussed. As an IP, we have our right to live peacefully and utilize our ancestral domain. All people must also abide with IPRA law and respect the rights of the tribe.”

Datu Nahikyad Jumar Bucales, 47, a member of Manobo tribe in Brgy. San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur also said, “Nagapasalamat kami nga nagpahigayon kamo og IP assembly, dugay na ang among problema sa panginabuhian, edukasyon og seguridad. Padayon gihapon me gisamok sa mga NPA, nanghinaot kami na masulbad na ni nga problema pinaagi sa inyong tabang. “We are thankful that you conducted the IP assembly, it has been our perennial problem, the source of living, education and security. The NPA continuously bothered us. We hope that this problem will be addressed through your help.”

Meanwhile, Col Philip S Lapinid, Assistant Division Commander for Reservist and Retirees Affairs (ADC-RRA) of 4ID gave lecture about the Command’s effort on the operationalization and institutionalization of Executive Order 70, the Whole-of-Nation Approach (WNA) to end local communist armed conflict through the implementation of Convergence of Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) in Region 10 and Peace and Development Zones (PDZs) in CARAGA Region.

“The IP youth and council of elders must understand the efforts of the Local Government Units, Line Government Agencies and the 4ID in the implementation of CAPDev and PDZ. It is the best solution to address the peace and development concerns in your ancestral domain.” We believe that your support in this endeavor will pave way to attain durable peace and conflict resilient communities.” Col Lapinid said.

Maj Gen Franco Nemesio M Gacal, Commander 4ID said, “Several IP communities are located in the conflict affected areas in the region. NPA terrorist have been exploiting them for a very long time. They were made fighters, couriers and militia, and it must be stopped. Through EO 70, the government will prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development to these vulnerable communities. The implementation of CAPDev and PDZ will ensure participation of all sectors to address peace and development concerns. “This is for the future of our youth and the generations to come. This is a shared responsibility so let us all contribute to finally end local communist armed conflict in Mindanao,” Gacal concluded.