Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Serbisyo Caravan to continue in Lumad communities, says government

The government will continue holding its Serbisyo Caravan to reach more poor communities in remote areas, especially territories hosting indigenous people, Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice and Peace, said on Tuesday (Oct. 20).

"That is what the Serbisyo Caravan is all about, the Whole of Nation Initiative (WNI) is all about -- to bring government to those far-flung communities, especially to our Lumad brothers," Undersecretary Bautista said.

"We will continue to bring services to them and we will continue to perform the mandate of government, regardless of whatever they say," he said, emphasizing that Lumads will not be left behind.

Bautista also denied that the government is engaged in a propaganda war with communist rebels in Lumad communities in Mindanao, noting that the administration is always transparent and is after the truth.

The Armed Forces, accused of taking part in some of the violence, is always open to investigation and will let appropriate investigative bodies to conduct inquiries to know the truth, he said.

Bautista pointed out that the hierarchy in the Lumad culture has become more complicated with the entry of mining companies operating in the Lumads' ancestral domain.

There are divisions among the Lumads, with some leaders siding with the New People's Army (NPA) and some against the NPAs as a way of protecting or preserving a particular land domain, he explained.

He said the government wants the Lumads to settle their differences among themselves, without outside intervention and under the existing mechanism.

"It has been very complicated right now. What we want is for them to resolve all of these issues among themselves, without interference from any outside forces," he said.

According to Bautista, the Lumads have the facility and structure to resolve their internal squabble and they just need empowerment.

"It is just empowering them and leading them to resolve all of these issues in leadership, in the baganis, in the ancestral domains and who controls the ancestral domains, who will deal with the mining companies, and we should allow them to do that."
(PCOO News Release)

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