NCIP Chairperson, Undersecretary Allen Capuyan. (File photo)

MANILA -- The Mindanao Indigenous Peoples (IP) Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL) said it will never support efforts to discredit newly-appointed National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) chair Allen Capuyan. 

The group issued the statement Thursday following leftist group SANDUGO's strongly-worded protest to the former military officer's appointment to the NCIP which was made public Tuesday. 

"The appointment of Capuyan speaks loudly of the NTF (National Task Force) to End Local Communist Armed Conflict that in fact targets the Indigenous Peoples organizations and leaders. These attacks against us with Capuyan at the helm of the NCIP will further intensify as if we are the enemies. The appointment of another soldier in a civilian post shows that the Duterte government is mustering all its agencies against. This is the core of the 'Whole of Nation Approach' in the government’s Oplan Kapayaan counter-insurgency program. These are instruments that Capuyan and Duterte’s other military minions will use hand in hand with direct military actions," the group said.

MIPCEL claimed there is nothing original with the statement issued by SANDUGO as it merely parroted it from Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Such allegations, the group said, will never be supported by the IPs and the public in general.

Part of communist alliance 

"SANDUGO, by the way, is a CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) established alliance whose main mission is to advance the concept of self-determination and liberation. This alliance is composed of the KATRIBU Kalipunan ng mga Mamamayang Katutubo ng Pilipinas and the Moro Sector," the group said.

It added that these organizations are linked and run by National Democratic Front (NDF) member organizations which include the Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF), "Rebolusyonaryong Organisadong Lumad" (ROL) and the Moro Revolutionary Liberation Organization (MRLO).

Also, MIPCEL has no plans to support groups known to be calling for the abolition of laws and agencies mandated to serve the country's various IP communities.

"It is ironic that the same organizations are calling for the abolition of IPRA (Indigenous Peoples' Right Act of 1997) from whose provision established the NCIP. Why are they worried (on whose is to be) appointed as NCIP chair when they call for the abolition of IPRA and subsequently (the) NCIP," it said.

The group added that SANDUGO also rendered itself immediately useless by designating itself as "National Minorities", a concept already discarded as the Constitution has already recognized IP rights and so-called Indigenous Cultural Communities. MIPCEL said this eventually became the Constitutional basis of the passing into law of Republic Act 8371 otherwise known as the IPRA.

"Ironic also, because their cohorts are supposedly advancing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the IPs (UNDRIP). But look, their dual revolutionary tactics are showing because now they are calling the Indigenous Peoples as National Minorities. What is really your truth? IPs or National Minorities?" the group pointed out.

MIPCEL also dismissed SANDUGO's claims that Capuyan had a hand in the incident where a large amount of “shabu” managed to pass through the Bureau of Customs sometime in May 2017.

"Your basis is the Senate Investigation that did not result in the filing of a legal case against the person. Why? Because it is an investigation only that give a right to any person to explain his side on the issue. It does not give judgment of any criminal liability. In fact, it was in the investigation that Undersecretary Capuyan provided a three-page report included in the five-page report of the DOF (Department of Finance) about the incident. USEC (Capuyan) reported the incident to both PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)," it said.

On claims that Capuyan's time as Task Force Gantangan commander in 2008 resulted in the setting up of several paramilitary groups which include the Alamara and Magahat-Bagani and reportedly are responsible for the murder of many Lumad leaders opposed to the entry of mining companies and agro-corporations in the ancestral lands, MIPCEL said that it was upon the request of Council of Elders and Leaders of the IPs in Mindanao to set up this military unit to safeguard their rights, as provided by the IPRA, which the communist rebels wanted abolish.


SANDUGO also showed their true intentions when it made mention of Capuyan's post as head of the National Secretariat of the NTF-ELCAC.

"That in including his position as Executive Director of the NTF-ELCAC show their true intention and that is they are afraid that their National Democratic Revolution will soon become insignificant as the Whole-of-Nation and Whole-of-Government Approach are now in the pipeline. This explains that this is the first time, these CTG (communist terrorist group) Gangs are ganging against the appointed Chairperson of the NCIP," MIPCEL pointed out.

It added that tirades against the new NCIP chief are mere rhetorics of the communist rebels and their allies and just a rehash to foil ongoing efforts to make insignificant and totally defeat the CPP-NPA, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)