- Kim’s Dream
- Orlando R. Ravanera
They were ones the masters of the land that no one owned because private ownership was not in their language for no one can own the land that outlasts him/her. On the contrary, the land will own us as we will all must bow down to the majesty of the land because all will succumb to it when we die. That cultural heritage of Res Communis, that spirit of sharing and service has continued through the years, passing on to the present generation the harnessing of collective power of the Indigenous Peoples.
But today, that amazing cultural heritage of sharing and service has been debunked by so much greed, first by the colonizers that introduced private ownership through the enclosure or privatizing the commons (i.e., land and natural resources). In American colonies, for example, that would include the Philippines before, the taking over of natural resources was justified during the American Occupation, ,depriving the “brown monkeys.” of their natural resources, Indeed, they occupied the Philippines and no less than Sen. Alfred Beveridge of US Senate urged his colleagues not to leave the Philippines contending that “the forest of the Philippines will supply the timber needs of the world for century to come.” When the colonizers left, a new breed of “colonizers” loomed who have introduced a more horrible kind of enclosure of the commons by oppressing, if not, killing the Indigenous Peoples.
In San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, the more than 5,000 hectares of the ancestral domain of the Higaonon Tribe led by Bae Merlita Mayantao had been fenced in 2015 by rich and powerful ranchers with well-armed security guards, When the Tribe stood firm to protect their Ancestral Domain right, there was this order to kill them. As narrated by Bae Mayantao, on July 12, 2016, at more or less 5:45 in the morning, her group were drinking coffee the security guards who were armed with different kind of long arms came and without warning, just let loose barrage of bullets killing on the spot three persons, namely: Reymar Mayantao (son of Bae Mayantao), Cenon Nacaytona and Rogen Sindangan. Albert Mayantao and Lelian Mayantao (children of Bae Mayantao) and Ely Dalita were wounded.
The enclosure of the commons is not just limited to land-grabbing. It also included the enclosure of the IPs’ water rights. And when a lady datu named Bae Leah in San Fernando, Bukidnon led to stop such blatant violation of their water rights, she was murdered a year ago.
Yes, many leaders of the Indigenous Peoples have either been killed, harassed and even imprisoned tagging them as members of the New People’s Army. They told me that they are now willing to sell their lands even cheaply, the choicest at that, because they cannot anymore sleep well at night.
As I touch base with different tribes of the Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao, I received outpourings or reports, so painful even to contemplate. In tears, the chieftains narrated to be how they are harassed, and oppressed. They told me that in cohort with the rich and powerful, some barangay officials and even so called Indigenous People Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs) are intensifying the enclosure/privatizing the commons by employing diabolical tactics and approaches, i.e. putting some infrastructures in the land of the IPs, or convert the IPs’ lands as ranches, or start to develop the IPs’ lands even without the IPs’ permission. These outpourings of complaints have reached me lately which they said have already been presented to some offices of the government but until now, no action. Usa lang ang ilang –pangutana sa ako, “KAMI PO BA AY TAO? KASI ANG PAGTRATO SA AMIN AY PARA KAMING BASURA!”
The IPs should not be treated as disposable wastes. One of the great modern philosopher of all time, Immanuel Kant expressed the truism that human beings occupy a special place in creation. In his view, human beings have an intrinsic worth or dignity which make them valuable above all price., Yes, the IPs are human beings with human rights that dwell on every human being wherever they are and/or whoever they may be.
Based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which the Philippines is one of the signatories: “Indigenous Peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the Indigenous Peoples concerned and international human rights.”
The right of the Indigenous Peoples to self-determination is engraved both under the International and local laws. Hence, their right to their ancestral land and their right to governance must be both respected and protected by no less than the State who is duty bound to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.
Please remember the biblical lines – “serve the least of your brethren and you serve the Lord.” Feel the pains of our Indigenous Peoples because we will be judged not on the wealth or aggrandizement that we have achieved but on how we have treated the least of our brethren, the poor, vulnerable and the oppressed!
PLEASE HAVE A LISTENING EAR TO THE PITIFUL PLIGHT OF OUR INDIGENOLUS PEOPLES. THEY TOLD ME THAT THEY PLAN, ABOUT 10,000 OF THEM, TO MARCH IN PROTEST ONE OF THESE DAYS SO THAT THEY WILL NOT BE TREATED AS DISPOSABLE WASTES ANYMORE. THEY ARE APPEALING AND IN FACT, SUMULAT NA PO SILA THROUGH SENATOR BONG GO. ANG SABI PO NILA: MAHAL NAMING PANGULO RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE, PAGHINDI PO NA HINTO ITONG PANG-AAPI SA AMIN, KAMI PO AY HANDANG MAGPAKAMATAY AT PUMATAY!” As we are now empowering the IPs into cooperatives, liberation day has come to the IPs under the PRESENT DISPENSATION THROUGH COOPERATIVISM!