BERLIN, Germany — Tribal leaders from Mindanao said communist terrorist groups are killing tribal leaders who avail of much-needed government support.
In a meeting with the Filipino community here on Thursday, Bae Magdalina Iligan of the Mamanwa-Manobo tribe said the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) is forcing Indigenous Peoples (IPs) to reject government infrastructure and social development projects, as anyone who supports them gets killed.
“My uncle, who was a datu of our tribe, decided to request an infrastructure project for our community and got killed by the terrorist group,” she added. “They even demanded for a percentage from the project funds of the development to happen in our community. They’re demanding for millions of pesos.”
Iligan, who was also a former NPA member, said they created the group of tribal leaders to go to Europe with the goal of exposing all the lies made by the CPP-NPA about their community.
She said she wants to cut the communist terrorists’ large financing source from international donor organizations.
“When I was still with the NPA, I was the one who collects the donations, so I know where most of the funds are coming from,” she said. “And we are here to tell you everything, what has been happening to our community and help us spread the truth… We are here not because we want to ask you money. We are here to ask your help. This is our chance to expose the truth.”
Meanwhile, Bae Matumpis Anna Crisostomo of the Ovu-Monuvo tribe said the NPA bans government projects and welfare assistance programs from entering their tribal communities, which hinders development in their area.
“The NPA says that the government is our enemy and we should not follow their rules, but it’s the other way around,” Crisostomo said.
Langilan-Manobo tribe’s Datu Nestor Apas said they have badly wanted to access government support.
“Is it our fault to not listen to the CPP-NPA because we want development in our community?” Apas said.
He said the communist terrorist groups also seize government welfare support for themselves, and are not distributed to the IP communities.
The tribal leaders are seeking the international community’s help to support the IPs directly through the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), to stop the funneling of funds into illicit activities by some front communist international organizations.
The NCIP was created by virtue of Republic Act 8371 to recognize, protect, and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities.