PNP initiates 457 activities for IPs, Lumad tribes

MANILA The Philippine National Police (PNP) initiated close to 460 activities for the benefit of Indigenous Peoples (IP) and various Lumad tribes, Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Thursday.

The PNP is privileged to take part in this event with representatives from the various Lumad tribes and Indigenous Peoples' organizations, Albayalde said during a press briefing at MalacaAang on the updates of government security agencies' activities for the IPs.

He reported that since January, a total of 457 activities have been established, 126 of which were the setup of IP Desks in police stations, 29 livelihood programs, nine dialogues, 48 IPRA (Indigenous Peoples Rights Acts) seminars, and 141 medical/dental and gift-giving outreach missions.

Last Oct. 17, in line with the national observance of Indigenous Peoples Month, Albayalde met with Lumad leaders from Mindanao who denied allegations that they are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

We discussed lengthily on issues of security, particularly the encroachment of Lumad ancestral land and infiltration of some Lumad communities by the communist New People's Army through dubious front organizations misrepresenting the Indigenous Peoples sector, he said.

Albayalde said the Lumad leaders, led by Lipatuan Unad, 54, chairperson of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples' Coalition for Cultural, Justice and Integrity, claimed that many of those who were seen wearing tribal clothes in rallies are not members of their tribe.

I had the opportunity to meet Datu Joel Unad during a dialogue in Camp Crame, along with his party of Lumad youth leaders. It was a fruitful meeting that allowed us to share our thoughts and insights on the prevailing situation affecting the Filipino indigenous peoples in general, he noted.

There had been some documented cases of NPA-initiated violence in Mindanao involving Lumad victims, most notably in the Caraga region where the local police, on All Souls' Day, provided decent burial to Lumad tribesmen who were killed by the NPA and whose bodies were hidden in shallow graves to conceal the crime, Albayalde said.

The police chief also assured protection of Lumad and other tribes and urged them to coordinate with the nearest police station.

Consistent with our mandate to enforce the law and solve crime, the PNP vows to render justice for the Lumad victims of violence, he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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