THE NATIONAL Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) on Thursday rejected President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s plan to “hamlet” IP, locally referred to as lumads, to protect them from harm and the influence of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
NCIP officials said they will to reach out to the Office of the President (OP) to clarify the matter.
Lawyer Erwin M. Caliba, executive assistant to NCIP Chairperson Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo, told BusinessWorld in a phone interview on Thursday, Dec. 20, that Mr. Duterte’s “hamletting” approach is different from what the commission has proposed to the OP.
“‘Yung hamletting kasi nakakatakot ‘yun (That hamletting is scary). I am sure the President has high respect for the rights of the indigenous peoples,” he said, explaining that hamletting connotes isolating the community.
Hamletting, which involves the isolation of civilians in a small settlement, was used by the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos to combat communist guerrillas in the southern Philippines.
The NCIP is hoping that the President will adopt the agency’s Integrated Ancestral Domain Development Approach (IADDA), which is “close” to the new town development approach wherein a new settlement is built in order to give IP an opportunity to transform their area into a self-sufficient town.
“When you say new town, it’s the IP who will identify their new center within their ancestral domains… The idea is for them to identify a center or they could put a settlement, but without giving up their original places in the ancestral domains,” he further explained.
The priority areas, he added, are the conflict-affected zones so that IP who are dispersed in wide areas could be gathered together and can be more easily protected by soldiers.
Mr. Caliba said the pilot testing of the IADDA is actually being conducted in Davao City, Mr. Duterte’s hometown.
Meron ng (There is a) pilot area sa Davao City, in Paquibato and Sitio Paraiso…. It started two or one year ago,” he said, adding that it covers the Ata Manobo tribe there. — Arjay L. Balinbin