By Francis Wakefield
Members of the Indigenous People’s Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL) on Thursday released a manifesto condemning violations on Indigenous People’s (IP) rights and infiltration of the ancestral domain in Mindanao by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
The group also assailed the recent child trafficking, kidnapping, and exploitation of 14 IP minors in the municipality of Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
In Resolution No. 20, series of 2018, the Mindanao IP Council of Elders and Leaders also condemned the early released of former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and ACT Party-list Rep. France Castro from police detention while investigation was still ongoing.
Ocampo and Castro were arrested and held for investigation after they went to Talaingod at the dead of the night and spirited away 14 minors from Salugpungan Learning Center to unknown destination without appropriate courtesies to local government executives and devoid of any parental authority or permission.
On December 3, 2018, the group met in Davao City where they discussed the arrest of Ocampo and Castro for illegally transporting the 14 IP minors from various provinces in Mindanao where Salugpungan school is located.
During the emergency meeting, the IP Council of Elders and Leaders heard testimonies regarding the violations allegedly committed by Ocampo and his group among the IP/Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and the numerous other concerns of the IP and other atrocities and violations by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
The MIPCEL also declared the prohibition of all non-government and government organizations of all schools and other institutions without Free Prior and Inform Consent (FPIC) as provided for by Republic Act 8371.
The group also declared the unlawful intrusion of Ocampo and Castro a deliberate violation of Section 10 of Republic Act 8371.
“Despite the submission of resolution to the different national government agencies regarding the 17 atrocities/violations committed by the CPP-NPA-NDF, still they continuously commit violations on the rights of the IPs,” the resolution read.