A Lumad alliance warned that President Rodrigo Duterte’s invitation to a paramilitary leader to join the fight against the New People’s Army has dire consequences against indigenous peoples’ communities in Davao.
In a statement, the PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao Region said Mindanao Indigenous People’s Conference for Peace and Development chairperson Joel Unad is only seeking to benefit from the entry of large scale mining in their ancestral lands.
“Joel Unad is a fake tribal leader who claims thousands of hectares through faulty Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT),” PASAKA said.
The group also accused Unad of leading “his bunch of crooked paramilitary,” which was formed in 2006 under the counter-insurgency program of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Oplan-Bantay Laya 2.
The group said the MIPCPD was formed on the same year that the 10th Infantry Division was established under the supervision of the Eastern Mindanao Command and whose office is located inside Camp Panacan, Davao City.
Duterte thrust Unad into the limelight Monday (November 26) when the President acknowledged the leader’s presence during the inauguration of Davao City’s Bulk Water Supply Project and asking him to join the war against revolutionary forces.
“Kita ko si Joel Unad, tribal leader ng Manobo tribe. Buti ‘yan, andito ka. Kasi the earlier we finish this insurgency, the better for us all,” Duterte said.
“Kailangan talaga, Joel, Datu Unad, na tapusin natin ang giyera dito. Tumulong na kayo,” he added.
PASAKA, however, said Unad Joel “is nothing but a fake and a full-pledged tribal dealer.”
“Unad, along with his military cohorts, [are] responsible for the relentless attacks against the schools and communities of the Lumads in Davao Region,” the group added.
PASAKA said that Duterte recognizes he could not defeat the revolutionary forces but still pushes for a “futile militaristic plan” with Unad which only exposes the President’s role as “patron of environmental and economic plunderers in IP communities especially in surrounding areas in the Pantaron range.”
“Duterte regime’s real intent is to pave the way to big companies’ intrusion to Lumad’s rich ancestral domain for mining, logging and expansion of trans-national plantations,” PASAKA said.
“Unad, after all, has a long history of being a tribal-dealer (not a leader) bringing and defending the interest of the military and big companies,” the group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)