AIPP Header Logo

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Philippines: STOP THE ATTACKS AGAINST THE PEOPLE! (Official Statement of the CPA on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s SONA)

Attacks against the people is bound to worsen

Duterte’s 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) did not tackle the true state of the nation today. Instead of putting an end to the culture of impunity that reigns in the country, he will continue to disregard human rights and rule of law, and intensify the extrajudicial killings of thousands more people through the War on Drugs. In a span of two years, more than 23,000 have already been killed in the implementation of the War on Drugs.

Duterte has neither acknowledged nor addressed the situation of national oppression against indigenous peoples, which is now at its worst especially for the Lumads in Mindanao. Duterte has once again mentioned environmental protection and prohibiting open pit and irresponsible mining. But over the past year this has already proven to be an empty rhetoric. Large scale destructive mining continues as well as dams and other energy projects that are encroaching in ancestral lands and will cause further destruction to the environment. Areas of mining, dams and other energy projects are militarized, resulting in various human rights violations.

Duterte also did not say anything to stop his attacks against the church and God, women, and the press media.

Pro-Oligarch and Anti-poor Policies

The empty promise of an “independent foreign policy” is nothing but lip-service with his outright treacherous subservience to foreign powers, specifically US and China. Never had his government asserted our national sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea in exchange for hefty but onerous loans from China. The US has been given free pass to build military structures all over the country and even conduct military operations.

Neoliberal policies has granted foreign corporations easier access to the Philippine market to compete with local producers and traders, hence the massive imports of agricultural products and basic goods that has pushed local produce to rot on the side instead of supporting our farmers and small-time traders. His new tax reform package will also lower corporate income taxes to benefit big businesses and oligarchs. Instead of addressing the current economic crisis and widespread poverty that is aggravated by the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law and high inflation rate, the regime will continue implementing TRAIN Law and other anti-people policies such as the Jeepney Modernization Program. His universal healthcare bill is directed towards privatizing hospitals and making business out of health care.

Cordillera peoples’ situation to worsen

In a span of two years of the Rodrigo Duterte administration, no meaningful change in the situation of the Cordillera people have happened. the Cordillera people are now put in an even dire situation, with the worsening economic crisis, further intensification of militarization and political persecution, and increasing efforts to plunder the Cordillera land and natural resources.

The mighty Chico River is once again threatened with a series of hydropower projects including the Karayan Dam project in Kalinga, which is being opposed by affected communities. The Chico River Irrigation Project has been approved without public consultation and Free Prior Informed Consent of affected communities. US-owned Chevron energy giant is making a come back for its geothermal energy project in Kalinga province, which was staunchly opposed by affected communities as early as 2008.

Human rights violations are escalating, with no let-up in the harassment and intimidation of leaders and members of peoples’ organizations such as the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and its member organizations in the different provinces. Various communities in Abra, Kalinga, Ifugao and Mountain Province are currently militarized creating a climate of fear among community people. Indigenous human rights defenders are being tagged as terrorists, including key leaders of the CPA at regional and provincial levels. Trumped-up charges were filed against at least six leaders and members of peoples’ organizations, including health worker Rachel Mariano whose arrest warrant is expected to be out soon.

The mercenary group Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) is re-building itself by recruiting new members using as a disguise Duterte’s proposal for a federal form of government. A government that coddles such paramilitary group does not deserve an ounce of support from the very same people who are victims of terrorism. A government that links arms with opportunist mercenaries, who perpetrate vigilante killings and all forms of crimes against the people, is to be ousted.

No to Charter Change and Dictatorship

Instead of putting an end to tyranny, Duterte will purse Charter change towards a federal form of government, which will pave the way for his dictatorship. These are not the solutions to the worsening economic and political crisis in country, more so the national oppression against indigenous peoples. In truth, Duterte’s Charter change and federalism will only worsen the situation by establishing his dictatorship that continues to kowtow to imperialist countries US and China.

We shall never allow another dictator to rise!

Tama na! Sobra na! Wakasan na!

Bestang Dekdeken
Secretary General

Source: Cordillera Peoples Alliance