Woe to the plight of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of the Philippines from North to South. The rape and plunder of the ancestral lands have never abated since time immemorial. It is not simply a matter of displacing the natives from their domain, it is the domination of the indigenous peoples of their wealth, usurped by greed of capitalism.
Capitalism? Nay. More than that. The rich resource of the land has been exploited from the beginning since the colonial era. In the feudal epoch of the Philippines the exploitations have been evident. Spain in its quest to augment its need to support her vast empire has made slaves of the natives in its colonies by persuasion and swords. Notwithstanding extracting, siphoning, sucking the very blood of the land and rendering the Indigenous Peoples and the Filipinos in abject misery.
It did not matter for Spain if it had the hundreds of revolts, the suppression of the uprising by the native led it to believe she has control. The impact on these series of revolts made the Filipinos, indigenous or not, to realize that they have been enslaved and need to be free. The resistance in the later years of the 19th century unified the Filipinos to assert its quest for freedom. Eventuality was further quashed by the coming of the Americans. Spain sold the Philippines colonial rights to the United States in the dying days of its empire and the US became the new colonial master.
The north was not totally subjugated nor was the south. The indigenous peoples have fought hard and have sustain their community. The north because of their terrain and the tenacity of the Indigenous peoples have subdued the onslaught of colonialization same with the south. The fierce resistance of the south against colonialization prove to be the challenge both for the Spaniards and the Americans. Schemes, corruption, militarisation have been a mainstay in the struggle of the IPs.
But in this modern time the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines never had a respite. From the granting of a de facto independence by the United States, puppet regimes have been installed to secure the real intent of the puppet master, to control the socio – political and economy of the Philippines. The extraction of natural resources, the deforestation of the mountains that once was teeming with old growth, the exploitation of the rich ocean has left the Country in deplorable state. The fight to regain ownership of the ancestral land have intensified.
Mindanao, the south island, in the Caraga Region where 25 mining companies, half of the 50 mining exploration in the entire Philippines of gold, copper, coal, iron and other minerals, the mining operation forcibly displaced the indigenous peoples out of their ancestral domain. The intense militarization of that region to secure the mining sites against IPs resistance has grown leaps and bounds. They have been made to evacuate, beg for relief that came in trickles if not absent, harassed, attacks and sometimes killed. The supposed rehabilitation of the mines and the surrounding areas have never been implemented as part of the requirement on the 1995 mining act. Water and agriculture have been heavily polluted by the effluent.
The same can be said on the northern part, the Cordillera Region and Cagayan Valley. Tribes are continually in battle with the incessant exploration, harassment and now extra judicial killings of the activist and community leaders.
The mining act of 1995 at the behest of the corporate masters opened up the whole Philippines for mineral exploration. The act provided a 75-year of exploration and mining rights to foreign investors, a 10-year tax break, a 100% ownership contrary to constitutional provision. The government of the Philippines even guaranteed these explorations with its military and paramilitary units as guards and attack squads against resistance from the community. Fitting tribe against tribes, bombing of tribal lands, black propaganda, EJKs, burning of school built by the Indigenous community for their children to eradicate illiteracy, the occupation of houses by the military to instil fear are basic tactics employed to assure that the resources that are in the ancestral domain are accessible to Foreign investors.
The most corrupt regime is the present. How much bribe have they amass leaves everyone to wonder?
Where would this plunder end? When the whole Philippines are strip of its assets? When all the ancestral domains regardless of how strong the resistance are overtaken? When the Government mandated to serve the people have ceased to be gluttons? Or when the people revolt and regain its ownership of the land for their own benefits? The day will come. The regime may kill thousand, tens of thousands, even more but the raging water of resistance will continue flowing taking with it the hope of the nation. People as one truly united and independent. The traitors, plunderers, murderers, and tyrants will be served with their dues.
First image source: World Mission Magazine