IP’s reaffirm unity against development aggression

OZAMIZ CITY, May 27, 2008— Indigenous peoples from different towns of Misamis Occidental gathered in a consultation-seminar to reaffirm their unity against what they call “development aggression” brought about by mining operations.

The two-day consultation-seminar which started May 26 was held under the auspices of the Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation-Society of St. Columban Mindanao at the Lopez Jaena Cultural Center this city.

In an interview with CBCPNews, Nitz Clamunti of the JPIC-SSC said they will help indigenous peoples from all over Mindanao to stand for their rights.

About 75 indigenous people and advocates from different towns of the province are attending the consultation-seminar.

Clamunti added they talked about the Mining Act of 1995 and Republic Act 7942 which has affected lumads’ lives.

“Because of these mining laws, human rights violations in this era of development aggression continue to worsen, even with the passage of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), which the Philippine government boasts as landmark legislation in international gatherings, aggression have continuously affected the lives of the region’s indigenous peoples,” said Clamunti.

Clamunti further said due to these national laws and policies, development aggression led to the unprecedented plunder of ancestral territories and destruction of the environment and sources of livelihood of indigenous peoples.

In a related development, DIOPIM Committee on Mining Issues (DCMI) Fr. Riolito Ramos said there have been a series of documented Human Rights violations made by the Special Citizens Armed Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary over the past years. He expressed doubts whether complaints against those responsible would be acted upon by local authorities. (Wendell Talibong)

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