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  • Writer's picturePanaghiusa Philippine Network

Panaghiusa Network condemns the latest attempt at Charter change

Panaghiusa rejects the latest attempt of the Marcos Jr. administration to amend or revise the current Philippine Constitution as it will only aggravate the attacks on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (IP).






Land Is Life


Opening our lands to 100% foreign ownership will intensify various encroachments into IP territories. This drives development aggression that history and concrete experience have proven detrimental to our lives, lands, livelihood, culture, and rights.


According to RBH No. 7, foreign ownership will not include agricultural lands, but such exclusion can be overrode by simple reclassification and conversion. Worse, the proposal does not exclude indigenous territories from coverage, threatening the constitutional guarantee of IP rights. With such intensification of development aggression, the violation of the IPs’ right to self-determination, particularly their right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) will also worsen.


This will result in the wholesale plunder of our natural resources by foreign corporations, denying indigenous communities of their right to develop and leaving them with nothing but the disruption of our ecological and social fabric.


This proposal under the latest cha-cha attempt ultimately surrenders our national sovereignty to the interests of foreign countries and big businesses.


Foreign-owned basic social services


Currently, the IPs are the most marginalized in terms of basic social services, having little to no access to clean water, electricity, health services, and education that is culturally-relevant.


When they try to access health and education services, they face grave discrimination. When they built their own schools, they were tagged as terrorists, their schools were bombed, and their teachers were massacred. This dominant culture of discrimination and state neglect on IPs will worsen, as the proposal to charter change also opens education and media to 100% foreign ownership.


Thus, our people’s national and political consciousness and basic needs will be placed in the hands of foreign companies who do not hold any responsibility to our people, and whose interests are solely for profit that leaves nothing for us to benefit from.



On IPs’ Rights and Advocates


IP and IP Human Rights Defenders (IPHRDs) who stand against foreign, extractive, and destructive projects, and the acts of deceit and manipulation by the government, are subject to harassment, vilification, terrorist tagging, criminalization, and extrajudicial killings.


Indeed, foreign investments have been heavily securitized leading to the widespread militarization of IP communities.


The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) particularly during its tenure of ELCAC chairpersonship, have leveraged the Anti-Terrorism Law to red-tag, criminalize, and arrest IPs and IPHRDs who oppose these projects.


The Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Philippine National Police, along with paramilitary groups and private armies, harass and ultimately kill the most outspoken critics and dissenters to subjugate resistance to big business.


With the encroachment of foreign, extractive and destructive companies into ancestral territories, there will be an escalation of militarization, bombing, and direct attacks on the lives of the IPs.


Amending the Constitution will place our civil and political rights at risk; provisions protecting social justice and human rights will be at risk of removal. As such, the state will become more emboldened in its violent attacks.


Ethnocide


We sense nothing but ill intent from the Marcos Jr. administration’s push to amend the Constitution to advance foreign corporate interests at the expense of people’s rights. Charter change will ultimately lead to the ethnocide of our people.


The national government must instead refocus on promoting the rights of the Indigenous Peoples, protecting their ancestral lands, and prioritizing the welfare of the people. Instead of Charter change, we call for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.


We IPs and IPHRDs will be vigilant in defending our rights from the threats of Charter change.

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Signatories:


BAI Indigenous Women’s Network, Central Luzon Aeta Association (CLAA), Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Cordillera Women's Education, Action Research Center (CWEARC), Defend Panay Network (DPN), Integrated Development Program for Indigenous Peoples in Southern Tagalog (IDPIP-ST), Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino (KATRIBU Youth), KADUAMI (Katinnulong Daguiti Umili it Amianan- Peoples Partner in Northern Luzon), Inc., Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU), Legal Rights and Natural Resources (LRC), LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women's Rights), Maporac Ayta's Organization Inc., Philippine Indigenous Peoples Community-Conserved Territories and Areas Consortium (Philippine ICCA Consortium/Bukluran), Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples' Rights (TFIP), Sabokahan Youth. Sandiwa Network of Advocates for National Minority Rights, Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, Save Our Schools (SOS), Siklab Philippine Indigenous Youth Network, TAKDER Cordillera Youth Movement for Democracy and Prosperity, Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG), and Tunay na Alyansa ng Bayan Alay sa Katutubo (TABAK)

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