Lumads call for scrapping of the IPRA Law, NCIP

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—A Higaonon datu along with tribe leaders of the Bagobo and Manobo nations called for the dissolution of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the scrapping of the Indigenous People’s Rights Acts (IPRA) for allegedly legalizing development aggressions against lumad territories.

Jomorito Goaynon, also known as Datu Inbanwag of the Higaonon tribe of Bukidnon said companies supported by the government are using the IPRA Law and the NCIP to further divide the indigenous peoples for their own ends.

“The NCIP is the root cause of the continued division of the indigenous peoples,” he said in native language.

Goaynon, chairperson of the Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, which counts as members hundreds of lumad people irregardless of tribe from the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte and even from the Davao provinces, said that the NCIP is siding with the government, which he said only pay token recognition to the lumad communities.

He said that the IPRA Law seems very good for the indigenous peoples at first glance but glaringly failed to uphold the rights of the lumad when scrutinized against the culture, tradition and practices of the indigenous peoples.

“Only very few provisions of the IPRA are good for the indigenous peoples. The bulk of its provisions are bad for the indigenous peoples,” he said.

Roger Plana, a Manobo and secretary-general of the Kalumbay explained that the IPRA Law introduced the concept of land titles to the lumad which created friction among the tribes because the concept of land title is alien to the indigenous people in the Philippines.

“We call our territory ancestral land because it belongs to the whole tribe and not just a few individuals. If a tribe leader dies, he bequeaths the land to the next generations,” he said.

Plana said that the land is very sacred to the lumad because it is the source of life of the lumad and their culture and tradition is identified with the land.

But when the IPRA Law was enacted in October 29, 1997, the struggle of the lumad communities all over the Philippines, especially in Mindanao, came to the fore, highlighted by bloodshed and strife within the lumad communities.  Albus D. Estabas

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