On its Tuesday (December 19, 2017) issue, page A8, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published an article written by Funston Lim titled "AFP taps 'lumad' soldiers vs NPA". The news item stated that "At least 1OO "lumad" (indigenous peoples, or IPs) soldiers would be sent to their communities in “Southern Mindanao to guard their ancestral domain against communist insurgents, military officials said on Sunday”. It further reported that a study of a Davao-based Army Division revealed that “at least 80 percent of the communist insurgent recruits 1n Southern Mindanao came from the tribes”.
We understand that the ancestral domains are, for decades, "hosts" to the armed conflict between the military and the New People's Army. For many years as well, the NPA had been recruiting members of the indigenous cultural communities / indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) from several communities not only in Mindanao but throughout the country. There are, however, many indigenous communities who are not sympathetic and has been resisting NPAs in their respective ancestral domains. They have prevented their members from joining them. Consequently, these communities have been the target of harassment by the rebel group and have been left with no other recourse but to request the military for assistance in protecting their domains.
While we laud AFP's assistance to the IP communities, we would like to remind the IP soldiers to use their skills to resist harassment and repel attacks against the IP communities and to secure and maintain peace in the ancestral domains, IP soldiers should also remember that the force they will be facing are also ICCs/IPs. They must not forget that there are IP core values which must be sustained.
We in the NCIP has, for years, supported and facilitated IP-to-IP dialogues. We call on all leaders and elders of IP communities to continue IP-to-IP dialogues to thresh out issues and address concerns affecting their respective communities using their customary ways of resolving disputes. We should consistently stick to the «ideology" which communities stand for: to live in peace and harmony within their indigenous communities. Armed response should always be a last resort.
We also call on all concerned government agencies to assist in institutionalizing dialogues between / among IPs and indigenous communities as a mechanism to resolve conflicts.
AFP taps ‘lumad’ soldiers vs NPA (News Article from Inquirer)
Military says local fighters to protect IP communities, ancestral lands