GENEVA, Switzerland – The National Security Council on Thursday handed over to Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and other International Organizations in Geneva, the documents containing the official complaints of the different tribal communities.
In a simple ceremony held at the Philippine Mission office here, National Security Council Deputy Director General Vicente Agdamag gave Garcia the official documents from IP groups represented by the Mindanao Indigenous People Council for Peace and Development pertaining to 17 atrocities committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army (CPP-NPA) against the Indigenous Peoples.
“Thank you for these information. Rest assured that this will be properly handed over and move forward for the sake of our country and prosperity of our IPs,” Garcia said in his brief remark.
The submission of documentary evidence was in reference to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Resolution 33/12 dated Sept. 29, 2016 which defines the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur for Indigenous People.
“We humbly submit the official complaints of the different tribal communities represented by the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council for Peace and Development relative to the ongoing persecution of peace-loving IPs by the CPP-NPA-NDF and their front organizations like Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Mindanao Interfaith Service Foundation, Incorporated, IBON Foundation and KARAPATAN,” said the letter dated Feb. 21, 2019, addressed to the UNHCHR.
“The 17 violations of tribal culture and tribal rights include: the recruitment of IP children to become child warriors; encroachment of tribal ancestral domain through the CPP schools without free and prior informed consent (FPIC); rape and molestation of IP children in these schools; trafficking of IP children by CPP allies; and the continuous killing of tribal leaders opposing the CPP-NPA programs in the ancestral domain,” the letter signed by Agdamag added.
The documents also include IP affidavits and resolutions.
The NSC letter said “all the violations have been going on for years since the communist groups indigenized the revolution (communist) in the 1980s.
“It must be noted that the current UN Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz seems to have never lifted a finger to intervene in these communist terrorist groups’ (CTGs) violations and has rather trained her attention to government forces who have been trying to defend the human rights of the IPs,” the letter said.
Tauli-Corpuz, a Filipina development consultant and an international indigenous activist of Kankana-ey Igorot ethnicity, assumed responsibilities as the third UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on June 2, 2014.
Agdamag, in a separate interview, said this is the first time that the Philippine government submitted documentary evidence against the CTGs.
“It becomes very clear that the government is serious in ending the local communist armed conflict,” he added.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte, on December 4, 2018, signed Executive Order No. 70, which also institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an “inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a National Task Force to end local communist armed conflict, and directing the adoption of a National Peace Framework. “
“There is a need to create a national task force that will provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of the collective aspiration of the Filipino people to attain inclusive and sustainable peace,” the order read.