IPs hold ritual to seek justice for EJK victims

INDIGENOUS peoples under the progressive Katribu Indigenous Peoples Partylist and the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) together with the human rights organization Karapatan  held a a “tuyada”, an indigenous ritual, in front of President Aquino’s residence  in Times Street Quezon City as a protest and to condemn the unabated killings of indigenous peoples and the continued prevalence of  the culture of impunity.

According to Ms. Kakay Tolentino, a Dumagat and Secretary General  the Katribu Partylist, “ Of the total documented 114 cases of extra-judicial killings under the term of the Aquino administration, thirty  (30) are  indigenous peoples. This clearly  highlights  the utter  failure  of the Aquino government to stop the wanton   killings  and  the culture of impunity  despite its avowed “daang matuwid’”mantra.

Toletino further said, “The Aquino government also  failed to give justice to all the victims the Ampatuan massacre and other cases of the extra-judicial killings. Such failure manifests  the continued injustice for the victims and a threat to those who assert their human civil and political rights”.

The group was able to conduct a picket rally in the front of Aquino’s residence as the policemen manning the presidents home was caught off guard by the Lumad protest.

Representatives of different  Lumad tribes from Mindanao performed  a ritual  “tuyada”   to call on Mambabaya  (God) to guide the group  in seeking justice to their  fellow indigenous peoples who fell victims  of extra-judicial killings.

Genasque Enriquez, Vice President of the Katribu Partylist stated, “the tuyada also aims to bind bad luck to President Aquino if he fails to address the injustices against  the indigenous peoples”.

The documentation of KAMP and  the Katribu Partylist cited  27 reported cases of extra-judicial killings of indigenous peoples,  victimizing 30 individuals. The most recent case was the brutal massacre of Juvy Capion, two-months pregnant and her two children  by elements of the 27th IB of Philippine Army in Tampakan, South Cotabato. Juvy Capion was the wife of a Blaan warrior waging a pangayaw (tribal war) against the Xstrata-Sagittarius Mining Incorporated .

Enriquez cited the cases of Jimmy Liguyon, a Lumad leader killed by the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army Reform  (NIPAR) in Bukidnon last March 5, 2012.  A warrant of arrest was issued for Alde Salusad alias “Butchoy” but  warrant is yet to be served despite the police knowledge of the suspect’s whereabouts.

“The unsolved case of  Liguyon and the other cases of extra-judicial killing of the indigenous people is  piling up and the government has done nothing  to halt this grim situation. Despite the alarming cases of killings of indigenous peoples,  investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators moves in snail pace. Justice  continues to be elusive. It is ironic that President Aquino whose family was a victim of human right violations in  the Marcos era does virtually nothing to solve these cases., Enriquez elaborated.

KAMP and the Katribu Partylist also stated that they will not be cowed and will continue to be vigilant despite the culture of impunity existing under the Aquino administration.

“We  survived the dark era of  the Arroyo administration, and we are confident  we can surpass the violations of our rights and attacks against our lives under this inutile government. We nay not get justice from the Aquino administration but we will ensure that justice will prevail”, Enriquez added.

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