US is biggest plunderer of ancestral lands in PH – IP group

Nov 18, 2017

BAGUIO CITY – Organized left-leaning indigenous peoples group “Katribu” tagged the United State of America (USA) as the biggest plunderer of indigenous peoples lands in the Philippines.
Environmental destruction, resource plunder, internal displacement and US-instigated armed conflict in IP communities in the country will worsen, Katribu feared with the conclusion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2017 and East Asia summits.
The United States of America has the biggest economic interest in indigenous peoples’ ancestral land compared with the other countries present in the East Asia Summit 2017, said Pya Macli-ing Malayao, a Bontok tribewoman from Mt. Province and Katribu secretary-general.
“The US dwarfs other ASEAN and EAS countries in terms of their economic interests in IP ancestral domains,” Malayao said, adding, “The US is already exploiting at least 242,000 hectares of ancestral lands for mining, energy, and plantation.”
Malaysia, China, and Australia tail far behind the US with at least 150,000 hectares, 78,000 hectares, and 74,000 hectares, respectively with their plantation and mining corporations, Malayao said.
“Environmental plunder,” she said, “mining, energy, dams, and agro-industrial plantations in ancestral domains will only worsen the damage on our environment that will lead to famine among our indigenous brothers and sisters.”
She added, “This will surely lead to the destruction of our environment and the identity of the indigenous peoples. This will aggravate the poverty and exploitation the national minorities experienced. Dams and mines have destroyed the rivers, our burial grounds and farmlands! More than 1.2 million hectares of agricultural lands are to be taken by new agro-industrial plantations under the Duterte regime. The farmlands and the rivers are the main sources of food for our indigenous peoples.”
The Katribu official added, the situation “will also push the national minorities to protect their land against environmental plunder committed by foreign corporations with the consent of the Philippine government.”
Malayao noted the Philippine government has reportedly been intensifying its counter-insurgency campaigns especially in indigenous communities that are opposed to the encroachment of their ancestral domains.
Katribu reports that Philippine state forces have allegedly killed at least 24 national minorities since July 2016.( (
“The US, with the aid of the Philippine army, will surely militarize the indigenous peoples communities and kill our indigenous leaders to protect and pursue their economic agenda in the ancestral lands of our indigenous peoples,” Malayao lamented. ACE ALEGRE / ABN

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