IP, Moro groups rally against Charter change

February 27, 2024

Indigenous Peoples (IP) and Bangsamoro groups on Friday have expressed opposition against attempts to amend the 1987 Constitution. 

During a protest action in Manila, the groups lambasted the proposal to allow 100 percent foreign ownership over ancestral lands and territories. 

The groups claimed the proposed changes threaten “ancestral lands and territories” and will aggravate the “already dire situation caused by destructive state and foreign-owned projects”.

“The encroachment of foreign interests not only violates land rights but also tramples upon fundamental human rights,” said Beverly Longid, national convenor of Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas. 

Longid said foreign intrusion into Indigenous territories will “exacerbate and likely become more frequent” if Charter change is pursued. 

“We fear heightened militarization and increased violence against national minorities, often utilized to suppress local resistance. With [Chartger change], the plight of Indigenous and Moro Peoples will deteriorate, also impacting their access to essential services. [It] threatens to perpetuate ethnocide,” she said. 

The groups cited the current situation of IPs and Moro people in communities with existing development projects including the Kaliwa Dam in Rizal and Quezon, Gened Dams in Apayao, Jalaur Dam in Iloilo, and Oceanagold mining operations in Nueva Vizcaya.

The groups also lamented the alleged “massive land grabbing,” oil exploration in the Liguasan Marsh and the Sulu Sea Basin, and the expansion of vast plantations in the southern Philippines. 

“These are due to heightened interest from the state and foreign corporations towards their territories, which [Charter change] will allow to continue and intensify,” the groups said. 

Among the organizations that joined the protest mobilization were Sandugo – Alliance of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, Bai Indigenous Women’s Network, Siklab Philippine Indigenous Youth Network, TAKDER (Cordillera Youth Movement for Democracy and Prosperity), and Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino.

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