MANILA New People's Army (NPA) fighters are actively targeting Indigenous Peoples (IPs) for recruitment as they do not have real awareness on the rebel group.
This was disclosed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato when asked why the rebels focus their recruitment efforts on the IPs in Mindanao.
"Sila yung nasa bundok, sila yung madaling lokohin dahil nga di naman sila exposed sa (They are in the mountains. They are gullible because they are not exposed to) external information. Sila yung (They are) uneducated (to our standards) but they are considered as intellectuals, depende sa status nila sa (depending on their status in the) IP community," Detoyato said in a message to the PNA Tuesday.
"In short, they are the most vulnerable sector for exploitation," he added.
Aside from recruiting IPs to fill up rebel ranks, a military powerpoint presentation said NPAs are also supplanting traditional leaders and replacing them with revolutionary ones.
This is tantamount to stripping a traditional IP leader of his authority within the "Indigenous Political Structure" to control and manage ancestral domain.
This starts with the NPAs infiltrating IP domains by posing as human rights and environmental activists and entering into peace pact agreements with the IPs.
Through this, the rebels gradually introduce their radical and ideology to the IPs and will eventually begin manipulating traditional IP leaders in implementing their revolutionary laws.
Also, IP leaders who opposes the NPA's revolutionary laws are killed and replaced with revolutionary ones.
Earlier, Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders (MIPCEL) chairman Lipatuan Joel Unad said the NPA targets communities where settlers are particularly uneducated.
"Pinipili nila (ang) mga ignoranteng tribo, doon sa mga 'di marunong magbasa, doon sa mga parents na walang alam kundi magtanim ng kamote, maghanap ng usa at baboy ramo, iyon ang pinupuntahan nila (They choose those ignorant tribes. Those who don't know who to read, whose parents' only livelihood is to plant sweet potatoes, to hunt for deer and wild boars. That's their target)," he said.
Showing parts of the MIPCEL Resolution No. 20, Series of 2018, Unad, who personally submitted the document to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) office in Quezon City, urges the body and other groups to start a probe over alleged human rights violation against IPs in the region.
Unad said the 52 IP signatories to the resolution represent 18 major tribes in Mindanao.
"'Yong nag-attend ng emergency meeting almost 51. Ang context doon, i-condemn ang ginawa ni Satur Ocampo. Pangalawa, declarationna kailangan ipasara na ng DepEd (Department of Education) ang Salugpungan, kung hindi nila maipasara, ang IP mismo ang magpapasara (Those who attended the emergency meeting reached almost 51. Its context is to condemn the actions of Satur Ocampo. Second, a declaration that the DepEd must close Salupungan. If it can't close it down, the IPs would close it for them)," he said.
Unad and Datu Jomar Bucales submitted the MIPCEL resolution before the CHR office last December 6.
The resolution surfaced right after former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and 17 others were arrested over alleged trafficking and kidnapping of 14 minors, who were students of the Salugpungan Ta'Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc. in Talaingod, Compostela Valley. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency