Group launches ‘Pinag-aapoy’ to honor IP martyrs

PROGRESSIVE indigenous people under the KATRIBU Partylist together with Kalipunan ng mga katutubong mamamyan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) gathered at the National Council of Churches of Philippines (NCCP) to hold a symbolical “Pinag-Aapoy” ( burning of pine wood) to honor the souls of the martyrs of the indigenous people (IP) and all those who fell victims to extrajudicial killings.

According Ms. Kakai Tolentino, a Dumagat and spokesperson of KATRIBU, “As the whole nation devotes time to honor their departed loved ones, the indigenous people too should do the same but in doing so we should also take time to honor our martyrs. We should honor the lives of our fellow indigenous people who wholeheartedly dedicated and devoted their lives to the struggle for self-determination and genuine recognition of our right to land and life.”

Among the martyrs deeply remembered today are Kalinga martyrs Macliing Dulag and Daniel Ngayaan, Aeta Nelson Mallari, who championed the call to reclaim their ancestral land, and Dumagat leader Nicanor Delo Santos, who defended their land against the Laiban dam Project of former President Marcos. Likewise, Katribu remembers today Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio and Willem Geerthman, two foreign missionaries who dedicated their lives in uplifting the life of the indigenous people.

“We should honor our martyrs for they offered the most precious thing a man or woman can offer to the struggle — their life. We should honor them by emulating their life and sacrifices.” Tolentino added.

Pinag-aapoy is a pratice of indigenous people from Sagada Mt. Provice during all-souls day to honor their departed relative.

Continuing call for justice

The group also calls for justice for the IP victims of extrajudicial killing.

“In the two years of the Aquino administration, we have documented 27 cases of extrajudicial killings with 30 victims. What is more frustrating about this is that no cases have been solved and the perpetrators continue to roam free.”

The most recent case of extrajudicial killing is the Tampakan massacre of a B’laan family in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. Judy Capion and her two children aged 8 and 13 years old were brutally shot allegedly by elements of the 27th IB brutally killed during their so-called pursuit operation to arrest Daguil Capion, a Blaan tribal warrior who is waging an armed defense war against the land grabbing of mining firm Sagittarius Mines Inc.

“It is unfortunate to say that for as long as the culture of impunity prevails under this administration we will not attain any justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings,” Tolentino said.

President Aquino in his recent visit to New Zealand has dismissed reports on human rights violations in the Philippines as mere cases of propaganda by the “noisy militant”. The President’s remark earned the ire from different human organizations as well as human right victims.

Kakai Tolentino lamented that ‘for as long as the attitude of denial is pervading in this administration, the resolution of the cases of human right violations will never be solved”.

On the occasion of this year’s All Souls day celebration, the group unveiled an 8 x 16 feet Tally Billboard containing information on the number of indigenous people who are victims of extra judicially killings.

“We have initiated this project so that the public may know how serious the issue of extra judicial killing of indigenous people”, Tolentino said.


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