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NCIP statement on AFP's Tapping IP Soldiers to Fight Against NPA

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  Divi.........

The Bagani is real, not a fictional and not even a mythological group of warriors which the ABS-CBN TV series would like to portray. Bagani is an exclusively indigenous term that refers to the peace-keeping force of the Manobo Indigenous Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) and other ICCs/IPs in Mindanao. The Bagani defends and protects lives, properties and territory. Its prime duty is to guard the ancestral domain against any intrusion from outside forces that pose threat to the lives of the ICCs/IPs. It is a sensitive position and class not lightly ascribed to just any person and never to those outside the ICCs/IPs.

By portraying Bagani as merely fictional or mythological, and without reference to its historical and cultural significance, the TV fantasy show distorts, misleads and confuses rather than educate the Filipino TV viewers on the indigenous concept and term "Bagani". It is not surprising that members of the Manobo and other ICCs/IPs took deep offense on the appropriation of the term Bagani the TV show.

Hence, we call on ABS-CBN to IMMEDIATELY RECTIFY the injustice committed in using the word "Bagani" and to prevent misleading or confusing the general public by giving false information about the concept. Otherwise, the NCIP together with the concerned ICCs/IPs will be constrained to take all necessary remedies to protect and fulfill the rights of the indigenous peoples to their cultural integrity as guaranteed by the Constitution and by law.

 5 March 2018, Quezon City, Philippines