Twenty core members of the Mindanao Indigenous people’s Council of Elders and Leaders (Mipcel) issued a statement of support for the anti-terrorism bill.
In a statement, the tribal elders said they personally witnessed how terrorism has disrupted development projects and potential investments, especially in ancestral domains. They also saw the torching of heavy equipment, communication towers, and other facilities for revolutionary taxation in Mindanao.
“We lost many of our leaders and members in the continuing terrorism, and unabated killings in trying to bend the IPs knees in their terroristic agenda of sowing terror and attempt to seize political power,” the statement said.
“We were the victims of the so-called duplicitous revolutionary dual tactics that had deceived us for a long time by NGOs (non-government organizations) and POs (people’s organization) established by the terrorist groups in the guise of helping us but siphoning off funds to their pockets,” it added.
Also, the tribal leaders said that alternative schools are used to recruit their children into joining the New People’s Army.
“We are talking here of our rights as Indigenous People and the duty of the government to protect our rights,” they said.
“Our ancestral domain is a place of worship and life for us and not a lair of terrorist groups,” it read.
The position letter was signed by Lipatuan Joel Unad, Binggala Jorge Mandahay, Datu Ramon Bayaan, Bae Norma Rivera, Bawan Jake Lanes, Datu Camilo Andy Jr., Datu Guillermo Miones, Datu Rio Miones, Gukom Jimmy Jaictin, Datu Lolong Miones, Datu Reynaldo Gerongay, Gukom/ Pinaligan Roberto Ending, Datu Romeo Dansigan, Datu Delfin Omos, Hawudon Bardo Bando, Timuay Bobby Lingating, Datu Mahikyad Jumar Bucales, Datu Maca Ubong Requilito Ala-an, Datu Lito Omos and George Galvano.
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