Bukidnon IP groups train to monitor human rights violations

Bukidnon tribal elder Nancy Daonlay from Dalwangan, Malaybalay City: Human Rights Training will help us protect ourselves from violations like extra-judicial killings prevalent in rural communities| Bukidnon News photo

Bukidnon tribal elder Nancy Daonlay from Dalwangan, Malaybalay City: Human Rights Training will help us protect ourselves from violations like extra-judicial killings prevalent in rural communities| Bukidnon News photo

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/30 January) Datu Jomar Libanda from Manalog village in the city’s Upper Pulangi district lamented the government’s alleged neglect of the rights of indigenous peoples. He said, as quoted by organizers of a human rights training here, that they felt bad when the government ignored their request for a farm to market road from their area years ago.

He added in his sharing that he felt even worse when road was finally built in the area not because of their request but to facilitate entry of mining.

He said lack of farm to market roads has affected the transportation of their products to the city. Libanda was quoted as saying they load farm products from the village and arrive in the city only to earn just enough to pay for cargo.

Some of their people migrated to the city proper just to be able to access government services, he added.

Libanda was one of around 50 participants from indigenous people’s groups in Malaybalay City to the Human Rights Education training conducted by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines from January 28 to 31.

Nancy Daonlay, one of the elders of the Bukidnon tribe in Dalwangan barangay proper said she is happy to be included in the training even if she is already a senior citizen.

“This will help the tribes equip themselves against human rights violations,” said Daonlay, an active member of the Tribal Artists and Designers group.

She noted that what struck her hard is the occurrence of extra-judicial killings in rural communities.

“It’s good that we know that international humanitarian laws and local human rights laws have been there all these years to protect us from these abuses,” she added.

She added that the tribes should use this knowledge to protect themselves.

Orly Gravador, TFDP in-charge for education, said they have worked on the human rights education especially among IP communities because they are among the most vulnerable to abuses.

“Many of them are subjected to eviction from their own territories because of government and private projects.

Gravador said Libando’s people in Manalog experienced violation of their right not to be deprived of their means to subsistence, provided in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966.

Basic concepts in human rights, human rights principles, and international humanitarian laws are among the topics discussed in the training. There were two batches in the training: representatives from Malaybalay’s indigenous peoples on January 28 to 29 and from Impasug-ong town from January 30 to 31.

He added that Barog Bukidnon, a local good governance advocacy group affiliated with the Citizens Action Network for Accountability (CANA), facilitated the training in Bukidnon and recommended the priority areas from which participants were nominated.

Gravador admitted that for the HR education project they prioritized provinces in the Philippines where the extractive mining industry is prevalent. Among the provinces where they have conducted HR education training include Zamboanga provinces, Eastern Samar, Cebu, Cagayan Valley, and Nueva Vizcaya.

He said the business community particularly mining are among the most commonly noted non-state actors to human rights violators.

He cited the need to organize the indigenous communities aside from them seeking recognition for their ancestral domains. Human rights education, Gravador added, is needed as the IPs organize among themselves.

“IP communities should monitor and document their experiences with human rights violations,” he added.

According to Gravador’s presentation, the TFDP is a national human rights organization established in 1974 as a response to the massive human rights violations committed during the martial law.

“For almost 40 years, TFDP has been working for the release of political prisoners and at the same time defending and promoting the rights of other victims of human rights violations,” it added. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)