Close to 100 indigenous peoples from different parts of the country will be at Metro Manila on March 3 to 6 to represent their organizations for the fourth Congress of the country's largest alliance of indigenous peoples.
Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) will hold its fourth National Congress with the theme "Intensify the struggle for ancestral land and self-determination within the frame of national liberation and democracy" in Quezon City.
According to Piya Macliing Malayao, KAMP's spokesperson and national coordinator, KAMP remains in the fore in advancing the rights of indigenous peoples to ancestral lands and self-determination in the Philippines.
"KAMP was steadfast in its aim to represent the voice of Philippine indigenous peoples since it was established two decades ago. It was the oppressed and marginalized situation of the indigenous peoples that called for an organization that advances our rights as a people all those years ago. In our fourth Congress, we are looking forward to look back on our triumphs and tribulations, and strengthen our ranks and determination to continue the struggle for our lands and self-determination alongside the struggle of the Filipino people," Malayao said.
KAMP's affiliate organizations numbers to more than 600, including Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (Kalumaran), Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA), Central Luzon Ayta Association (CLAA), Bigkis at Lakas ng Katutubo sa Timog Katagalugan (Balatik) and Bai Indigenous Women's Network.
Big rally set on 20th anniversary of the Mining Act
KAMP's National Congress is in time with the 20th year of the enactment of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 on March 3. Malayao said that the law had legalized wholesale land-grabbing of ancestral lands by mining corporations, and is considered as the largest threat to the survival of indigenous peoples across the nation.
"This gathering of indigenous peoples will start with a big rally in Mendiola protesting the two decades of the implementation of the Mining Act of 1995. Around 200 indigenous peoples from all over the country will be joined by environment advocates and other support groups to demand the scrapping the Mining Act of 1995," Malayao shared.
Indigenous peoples have suffered the worst from dislocation and environmental destruction caused by liberalized mining espoused by the Mining Act of 1995, Malayao said. According to KAMP's study on existing mining permits, five of the six Financial Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA) are located within the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples. Also in IP territories are 148 of the 339 approved Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA), 23 of the 61 Exploration Permit (EP), 30 of the 84 Mineral Processing Permits (MPP), and 45 of 222 industrial sand and gravel operations. More than 60% of all mining permits, amounting to 607,779 hectares encroaches on ancestral lands of indigenous peoples.
KAMP and Scrap the Mining Act Network is gathering 20,000 signatures to scrap the Mining Act of 1995. "In the occasion of the 20th year of the Mining Act of 1995, the Congress of KAMP restates our firm.#