The government has stepped up efforts to deliver on its commitment to indigenous peoples (IPs) all over the country aimed to resolve all IP issues and assert their rights by 2030, a Cabinet official said.
Secretary Allen Capuyan, who chairs the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), told the radio program “Usapang Pangkapayapaan, Usapang Pangkaunlaran (UP, UP) Pilipinas!” on Sept 15 that only 25 percent of the NCIP’s goals have been delivered in the past 22 years.
“In our strategic planning, we have found that over 22 years, only 25 percent of the goals of the NCIP has been accomplished. And our IPs have 36 specific rights that need to be recognized and protected,” he said.
Capuyan, a former military colonel, said the government already recognizes that this problem has become an opportunity for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) to exploit and target IPs for recruitment into its armed struggle.
While the government is winning the fight against the communist insurgency, he said President Rodrigo Duterte is equally concerned about accomplishing its commitment to protecting the rights of IPs particularly their ancestral domain.
“We have already made a policy direction out of the President’s desire for a whole-government approach, which will move forward the accomplishment of 70 percent of the NCIP’s goals from 2021-2025 and reach 100 percent accomplishment from 2026 to 2030,” he added.
He said there are 1,500 ancestral domains all over the country and he has already been making the rounds of IPs.
“I have been going around to engage local government units (LGUs) to honor and address the most pressing of these rights of the indigenous people. “I have been making the rounds of their ancestral domain on a listening tour to hear from the IPs and, so far, we have gone to 83 places in 44 days. I have 40 more places to go in the next two months or 60 days,” he added.
He told “UP, UP Pilipinas!” host, Col. Gerardo M. Zamudio Jr., that per province, there are about 5-6 places per trip.
Capuyan’s next stops will be in parts of Mindanao, specifically 23 towns in Region 10; 30 in Region 11; 23 in Region 13; 21 in Region 12; and 20 in Region 9 plus another five in Misamis Oriental.
“When I speak in their towns — about five or six of them per province — I have been warning them of the movement of communist rebels. IPs are their favorite targets to spread their propaganda of lies against the government,” he added.
He underscored the embodiment of Duterte’s whole-government approach to addressing the needs and concerns of the IP sector through the creation of the National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“We have to remember that we have 12 lines of effort or major undertakings (in the NTF-ELCAC) to counter the 10 major programs of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” he said. “We have local government empowerment; basic services; infrastructure and resource management; poverty reduction, livelihood and employment; legal cooperation; international engagement, strategic communications, law enforcement, and Intelligence; a pledge of the Armed Forces; task force on the Rogue E-clips, local peace engagement, and Sectoral Unification Capacity Building and Mobilization,” he said.
This has been set up in 17 regions of the country, with the two implementing arms – the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) — now a joint task force under Executive Order No. 70 which created the NTF-ELCAC.
Public and private sector
The NTF-ELCAC, he said, is a whole-government approach, but whose effort involves both the public and private sectors.
“All these efforts are guided by and within the framework of good governance in order to achieve genuine transparency, participative government, and accountability and we can see this now in the provinces with our Barangay Development Program,” said the NCIP chief. “The Barangay Development program is a very transparent undertaking which exemplifies how government services are brought down to localities and reaching out to our masses.’
Intelligence gathering and township fora are continuing to expose the real threats and deception posed by the communist CPP-NPA-NDF which has 10 programs to bring down the government, he added.
“Lumalabas na talaga ang tunay na kulay ng mga kaliwa (The true color of leftist groups is showing), how they work their way into the poor communities by spreading their lies and deception. In the end, it is still the government that will help the people,” he said.
The government, he said, views this as a political, not a military problem.
“And so it requires a political solution and government, under President Duterte, is doing all it can to address the needs of the people who are drawn into taking up arms out of deception,” he said.
He renewed the government’s call for rebels to listen to the government and see the efforts in pouring out these programs and projects into their communities for their welfare.
“Of course, the government is always open to welcome them back, for as long as they are sincere. Sa mga rebelde, buong puso ang gobyernong tanggapin sila (The government whole-heartedly welcomes rebels) and restore their dignity and honor,” Capuyan said.
As a political ideology, he said, communists have already proven in its 50 years of fighting the government that it is not a good position.
“Napakarami nang sinirang pamilya at mga komunidad (ang idolohiyang) ito sa ating bansa sa nakaraang 50 years at wala itong papupuntahang maganda (The communist ideology has destroyed hundreds of thousands during the last 50 years),” he said.
Joining Capuyan as reactors in the radio program were Civil-Military Operations (CMO) officers, ROTC cadet officers, Supreme Student Council leaders, Campus Journalists, and media practitioners Ariel Fernandez of Pasay Press Club and Noche Cacas of DZRH and co-host Emil Carreon.
“UP, UP Pilipinas!” is a program of the PAF in fulfillment of the public affairs requirements of the National Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and NTF-COVID-19 and aired on weekdays at 3 p.m. over DWGV AM 792khz-Central Luzon, DWDD 1134 kHz-Manila and other radio stations all over the country.
It is also heard every Saturday in Lucena City, Quezon via DWLC-Lucena; every Thursday in Cebu via DYMR-Cebu; and every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in Batangas via 99.9 GV FM-Batangas and Balisong Hot Radio online with 98,000 followers.
A video recording of the program, produced by the PAF 355th Aviation Engineer Wing headed by Brig. Gen. George A. Blanco in partnership with the Air Force Reserve Command, Air Defense Command, Air Logistics Command, and the 5th Fighter Wing, is uploaded every day to the social media accounts of NTF-ELCAC, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), UP UP Pilipinas, and PAF Virtual TV. (PR)
Source: Philippines News Agency