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03 August 2022
The armed conflict and terrorism waged inside the Ancestral Domains (ADs) and Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) of our Indigenous Peoples (IP) brothers and sisters continues to hinder the full implementation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA) as well as the delivery of basic social services to this conflict ridden Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs).
Our IPs’ ways of life and environment are continuously threatened by invasive conversion of their lands into New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla bases. The IPs are caught in the crossfire of wars that are not their own and are forced to join the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) or leave behind their homes, lands, and livelihood.
The IPRA is a landmark legislation not only in the Philippines but in the entire international indigenous community. The Philippines was the first country to pass legislation that upholds the inherent rights of all IPs towards their land in an effort to correct the historical injustices they have suffered since time immemorial.
By virtue of IPRA, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was created to correct these historical injustices and to recognize, respect, promote, protect, and fulfill the thirty-six (36) Specific Rights under the four (4) Bundles of Rights of the IPs namely: (1) Rights to Ancestral Lands, (2) Right to Self-Governance and Empowerment, (3) Social Justice and Human Rights, and (4) Cultural Integrity.
Still, the struggle of the IPs around the country is far from over, that is why the NCIP Commission en Banc (CEB) passed 4 substantive Resolutions last year to condemn the continued atrocities being committed by the CTGs against the ICCs/IPs as follows: (1) CEB Resolution No. 08-071-2021, Series of 2021 “A Resolution Condemning the Continued Killings of IPs by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF)”; (2) CEB Resolution No. 08-072-2021, Series of 2021
“A Resolution Condemning the Radicalization, Recruitment, and Exploitation of IP Youth by the CPP-NPA-NDF”; (3) CEB Resolution No. 08-073-2021, Series of 2021 “A Resolution Condemning the Acts of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Creating their
“IP Organizations” Misrepresenting the True Interests and Situations of the ICCs/IPs”; and (4) CEB Resolution No. 08-074-2021, Series of 2021 “A Resolution Urging for a Concerted Effort for the Freedom of Bae Bibyaon Bigkay Ligkayan and Condemning Her Exploitation by the CPP-NPA-NDF Front Organizations”.
The 4th CEB Resolution focused on Bae Bibyaon, a 90-year-old cultural bearer of the Matigsalug ICC, who was deceived to leave her community and was transformed by the CTG into a living propaganda to generate funds from the international community in order to advance their armed struggle.
When various tribal leaders in Mindanao demanded the closure of the Salugpongan schools for turning their sons and daughters into rebels and terrorists, it was Vice President (VP) Sara Z. Duterte, who was then Davao City Mayor, who assisted the Department of Education (DepEd) to close these schools based on various regulatory violations and links with the CTGs. Now that VP Sara Duterte is the DepEd Secretary, may the lessons we learned from the Salugpongan schools be put into action.
May the CPP-NPA-NDF and their front organizations and supporters be eliminated not just inside the schools and ADs but also in every institution of the government where they continue to spread lies and deception to further the armed conflict. Let us denounce the atrocities committed by the CPP-NPA-NDF and their fifty-three (53) years of terror.
The new Administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte will maximize their efforts to protect us from the atrocities of the CTGs.
We call everyone to defend individuals and groups who continue to serve and stand with our IP brothers and sisters as they continue their struggle to protect their rights.

Official Website of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Region III