Calls to spare IPs from exploitation aired

The safety and protection of Indigenous Peoples against any form of harm must be recognized nationwide.

Calls for sparing IPs against the exploitation perpetrated by the Communist Terrorist Groups have even gotten stronger as the government pushed a regular advocacy event that promotes resilience among tribal communities.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, local government units, IP organizations and other concerned agencies as well as private sectors, commenced a two-day advocacy activity on “Healing, Reconciliation and Operationalizing the 11 Building Blocks in the Ancestral Domain” at the Cagayan State University, Carig Campus gymnasium in Tuguegarao City over the weekend.

The initiative is in support of the government’s continuing whole-of-nation approach to address insurgency in the country, which includes empowering former rebels as well as IP youth, leaders and women.

It targets to fast-track coordination and facilitate efficient implementation of projects and programs in different indigenous communities within Northern and Central Luzon.

Through the activity, the government aims to level-off understanding and people’s awareness on the significance of operationalizing 11 Building Blocks revolving to respect; protection; promotion of the IP rights; and recognizing tribal communities as the country’s partners for nation-building, peace, security, and development.

It also ensures that the government’s basic services are also delivered in the IPs’ far-flung communities.

NCIP chairperson Allen Capuyan, in a statement Sunday, pointed out the necessity to protect the tribal rights and resilience of IPs as Filipinos.

“We shall take action on what our natives are fighting for, including their rights to high school and college education,” he added.

Meanwhile, Northern Luzon Command commander Lt General Ernesto Torres Jr., said the military forces, as peace advocates, will continue to collaborate and partner with the different government agencies and other concerned stakeholders, for the implementation of programs and projects that will capacitate and empower the indigenous people and improve their living condition.

“NolCom recognizes the important role of the indigenous people in promoting peace and development in this part of the country,” he added.

The previous NTF ELCAC reports, as confirmed by former New People’s Army rebels, stated that about 75 percent of IPs were deliberately deceived and radicalized by the CTGs.

Noel Legaspi, former NPA cadre, said the CTGs are primarily targeting the recruitment of IPs, as they are the most vulnerable sector for deceptions, radicalization, and exploitation.

The CTGs can easily infiltrate IP communities because of being “most isolated, discriminated, and neglected areas in the country,” he added.

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