By INNABUYOG-GABRIELA Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan condemns the massive military operations and human rights violations against the Aetas of Porac and Floridablanca, Pampanga, where the 72nd Infantry Battalion and the 3rd Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been deployed since July 10 as part of the Investment Defense Force scheme of the Arroyo government. “The deployment of military troops in indigenous communities under the guise of protecting the national economy but at the expense of the IPs is ridiculous. It is unlawful as it violates the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which state that the rights of indigenous cultural communities should never be compromised for the sake of development, “ Ilagan said in a press conference with the Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP). The Mindanaoan solon pointed out that it is not only the Aetas of Pampanga who experience state-perpetrated abuses. Since the Revitalization of the Minerals Industry Program was launched in 2004 and 18 indigenous territories were selected to be part of the 24 priority mining areas in the Philippines, complaints of human rights violations committed against indigenous peoples have increased. “In Mindanao, for example, the Lumads of Compostela Valley and Subanens of Zamboanga del Norte are being pushed away from their homes by the easement rights granted to foreign mining firms by the Arroyo government. Any resistance is immediately quashed through the deployment of military and paramilitary forces and men, women and children who show the slightest hint of opposition are tortured, harassed, raped and murdered,” the militant party-list representative said. In the Cordillera, military operations had been going on in Abra. The militarized areas are also the areas where mining companies have their applications, the Innabuyog, an alliance of indigenous women’s organizations in the Cordillera reported. “This situation not only sows terror among indigenous women and children but also destroys the key source of livelihood and identity for the indigenous peoples,” comments Innabuyog chairperson Vernie Yocogan-Diano. GWP Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan added that as of 2007, 130 cases of extra-judicial killings that victimized IPs have been recorded. Ilagan, together with KAMP, supports the call of the Aetas and other indigenous peoples in the Philippines for the government to pullout the elements of Armed Forces of the Philippines deployed in their ancestral lands. #


By MIRIAM U. GUILLERMO*

From the dictionary the word misunderstand means “to take a wrong meaning; to define wrongly; or to take in a wrong sense.” As the word grew to its existence, it evolved in this meaning. But does the definition makes you naïve?

I am a teenager in a judgmental world called earth filled with critics, opinionated eyes and a tight social standard. As I grew and evolved, the word misunderstood has acquired me different, more complex and deeper meanings.

Getting out from the house , old people will stare at your dress, you will hear voices telling how bad you actually looked. Those criticisms like mirrors are about to kill you. For this side, you suddenly realize that being misunderstood meant a big voice shouting, “How thick can you get?”

Getting into school, forgetting your ID turns out to be a crime. Guards will reprimand you and teachers scold you. Your parents do not have any luck having a child like you. They are sending you to school to study and not to lose your memory. Analyzing it, you will know that being misunderstood meant a whole lot of embarassment- disgusting you in the middle of nowhere when you have not fought for your reasons.

Getting into the canteen, they will call you spender- burning money just for food not thinking the value of thrift. In here, when you are misunderstood, your rights are taken away.

Getting into a department store to entertain yourself, they call you a flirt for getting in such places to sight guys. Telling, you do not have any right roaming there. Misunderstood meant discrimination.

Getting home after being judged by the world, you get home being judged by the last people you expected for understanding. They ask you why you were late and where in the world were you wandering despite their hard works. They call you names and feed you with shouts and sermons. Being misunderstood is being misunderstood.

The society always had a typical judgments to teenagers- that they are too hard to be understood and that they are the worms of destruction. But is it really that?

Misunderstanding exists because the society’s standard cannot try to understand. Being misunderstood causes pain. But when you feel pain, you learn to fight. In the end, being misunderstood is not that bad. #

* Mirriam Guillermo is a 4th year AB Communications student of Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

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