Delivered by Secretary Allen A. Capuyan, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples

Thank you, Mister President. 

The Philippines considers the protection of the indigenous peoples as a priority and maintains its support for the mandates on the rights for indigenous peoples and the expert mechanism.  

We note that the reports of the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism recognize the comprehensive guarantees provided by our landmark Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (or IPRA), which served as the model for the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples adopted 10 years later.

We cite the study of EMRIP on migration and displacement, and support recommendations on addressing vulnerabilities of indigenous peoples. The government continues to delineate ancestral domains, confirms indigenous political structure, set up ancestral domain development and sustainable plan and protection, install the indigenous peoples’ mandatory representation in the local governance, and strictly implement the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process when developments and projects are introduced.

EMRIP's study attributed the displacement of Lumads people in southern Philippines to the alleged militarization of indigenous territories. The reality on the ground is more complex, and in fact different, than this. We refer to the countless cases of illegal occupation of ancestral domains and the systematic abuse and exploitation of our indigenous peoples by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, a terrorist group, and its front organizations, leading to enforced displacement.

The government is fully conscious of its social contract with the indigenous peoples and is unwavering in its resolve to ensure justice and remedies for the victims, hold perpetrators to account, and  to end the atrocities committed by these non-state actors against our indigenous peoples.

In this regard, we request the Special Rapporteur to share best practices from other regions, within the framework of national laws as well as customary laws, on ensuring accountability for atrocities and grave violations of human rights of the indigenous peoples that are perpetrated and committed by non-state actors, such as killings of thousands of traditional IP leaders, setting up kangaroo courts, ordering the killings of family members and relatives, and use of child warriors, accessing of funds from abroad to finance the armed struggle.

Thank you, Mr. President. END.