The revolting collusion of the NCIP and NTF-Elcac
Indigenous Filipinos have long called for the abolition of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the repeal of the law that created it, the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act. The NCIP has long betrayed its mandate of protecting and upholding the interests and welfare of minorities. Indigenous peoples have exposed that besides corruption, the agency has committed gross treachery in its sale of ancestral lands to foreign and local companies with mining, logging, commercial plantations and energy operations.
The agency became even more anti-minority after Rodrigo Duterte appointed Allen Capuyan, a corrupt and retired ex-general, as head.
Capuyan was a colonel with a bloody record of attacks against minorities. He became head of Task Force Gantangan which organized paramilitary groups to defend large mining operation and was notorious for unleashing terror and murder of Lumad leaders. Capuyan is also involved in various crimes and anomalies including trafficking illegal drugs. He served as chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under Gloria Arroyo and was involved in large-scale election cheating.
While serving as NCIP head, Capuyan was also appointed as executive director of the NTF-Elcac. Under him, the NCIP has served as a main instrument to “neutralize” indigenous peoples in the name of “counterinsurgency.” The agency is the worse instigator of red-tagging that precedes mass killings, arrests, oppression and forced surrender and driving away minorities from their land. It has de-fended the worst crimes of the military and the regime against the national minorities.
Capitalist grabbing of ancestral land
Land grabbing and driving national minorities from their resources-rich land intensified under Capuyan. As much as 5 million hectares of ancestral land was opened up by Duterte for foreign mining exploration and operations. Rivers and lakes were also opened up by the regime to allow Chinese companies to erect dams and expand plantations.
The main role of the NCIP has been to manipulate and force affected communities to give their “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent” (FPIC) to favored companies. In the past years, it became an instrument for manufacturing an FPIC in Kalinga to allow the construction of the two Gened Dams. It also issued questionable FPICs for the TVI-Pacific mining company in Zamboanga del Norte and the Sagittarius Mines Inc. in South Cotabato. The communities in these areas, as well as those defending their livelihood and culture, have been targets of combat operations and subjected to intense militarization.
To justify its large-scale combat operations, bombing, prolonged militarization and suppression of minorities’ resistance, Duterte has repeatedly claimed that these communities serve as a deep source of new recruits for the New People’s Army.
The NCIP has served as agent for forcible surrender of civilian indigenous peoples. The agency used fake datus (who are actually heads of paramilitary groups) to smear the New People’s Army, as well as tribe members accused of supporting the armed movement. People who do not fall for their deception are outrightly murdered.
In 2021 alone, among the worst crimes of the regime include the massacre of three Manobo youths in Lianga, illegal arrest of minorities Renalyn Tejero, Gary Catamin and Beatrice Belen, and filing of false charges against Igorot leader Windell Bolinget. Towards the end of 2020, state agents massacred nine and arrested 17 Tumandoks who opposed the megadam construction in Panay.
In addition, it also attacked the Bakwit School in Cebu where 25 participants were arrested, and seven detained. One of those arrested in that incident was Chad Booc, who was killed by military forces last February, together with Lumad Jurain Nguho and three others while travelling in New Bataan, Davao de Oro.