YOUTH ACTION FOR ANCESTRAL LANDS, RIGHTS, AND NATURAL RESOURCES (YARN) MANIFESTO OF UNITY
We, the undersigned organizations of the youth, stand in solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Moro—National Minorities in their long-standing struggle to genuinely attain their rights to ancestral lands and self-determination. We believe that, as youth, our vigor and fervor can contribute to amplifying campaigns that the people in power choose to neglect.
Contrary to the popular belief that National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 safeguard the rights of IPs, the news from the ground show the opposite; these jeopardized the lives of IPs and further brought disunity—a scheme which advances the political agenda of NCIP alone instead of protecting every IP who suffer from three main problems in their community—issues linked on their ancestral lands, human rights, and natural resources.
Dialogues to solicit the consent of the IPs are often bypassed or manipulated, which pushes the IPs to be banished from their territories. This is carried out under the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) processes of Republic Act No. 8371, Section 3, Paragraph G, which leads to development projects being aggressively implemented in ancestral lands without the indigenous community’s consent. Moreover, external factors that result in forced evacuations are due to militarization, bombings, and relentless red-tagging of NCIP per se—the Marawi siege, Lumad bakwits, and the recent Himamaylan indiscriminate firing.
Rights issues are linked to a history of neglect and deprivation of basic social services among national minorities, which is mirrored in the emergence of rampant service missions initiated by the church and private individuals. Moreover, basic human rights of National Minorities are consistently trampled, as perpetrators of several massacres of IPs and Moro remain at large and unaccountable, which is a manifestation of a culture of impunity vested by the state to allow armed individuals to abuse their power—the Bloody Sunday Massacre, the Lianga Massacre II, and the Tumandok Massacre.
Natural resource issues have long plagued National Minorities, who have been on the receiving end of ongoing development aggression such as hyper-extractive mining permitted by the Mining Act of 1995, as well as logging, plantations, and dams, among others—GenEd Dams 1 and 2, Kaliwa-Kanan-Laiban Dam, Agus Pulangi Hydropower Project, and Didipio Mining.
The looming conditions of national minorities deteriorate, particularly during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, as draconian policies such as Oplan Kapayapaan and Kapanatagan, Executive Order No. 70, or the National Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 are implemented and maintained. In fact, KATRIBU Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamamyan ng Pilipinas (National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines) submitted documented evidence of human rights violations experienced by National Minorities to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2022.
As we mark the end of the year and commemorate the bloody Tumandok Massacre, now more than ever is the time to emphasize that the fight of National Minorities will perpetuate as long as the conflict affecting their rights to ancestral lands and self determination exist. We may be bereaved with the huge loss that we received in 2022 due to several attacks against Moro and IPs, but we will remain steadfast in the following years that will come fighting back and asserting the rights of National Minorities.
Youth fight back! Together, let us foster and build solidarity towards establishing Youth Action for Ancestral Lands, Rights, and Natural Resources (YARN).
Stop the Attacks on National Minorities! Defend Ancestral Lands!