(File photo)

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. has paid tribute to indigenous peoples (IPs) for their role in fostering peace and order in the communities and vowed to uphold the protection of their rights.

Kinikilala ng PNP ang mahalagang papel na ginagampanan ng mga katutubong Filipino sa paghubog ng ating pambansang kultura at pamana. Ang PNP ay buong-galang na nagpupugay at nagpapasalamat sa mga katutubong Filipino dahil sa kanilang mga naitulong sa atin sa pagpapalaganap ng kaayusan at kapayapaan sa mga komunidad (The PNP respectfully pays tribute and thanking the indigenous Filipinos for their help in spreading order and peace in the communities),” Azurin said during the kick off rites for the National Human Rights Consciousness Week and 74th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Monday.

Coinciding with the event is the visit of National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) chairperson Secretary Allen Capuyan.

During the visit, PNP and NCIP officials discussed opportunities to forge active partnership and collaboration for important policies in preventing human rights violations among indigenous peoples.

"The whole Philippine National Police joins the nation and the NCIP on our shared goal of a genuine and lasting transformation and development. The PNP leadership assures everyone of a peaceful and orderly nation as we redefine our organization to better serve and protect the community and ensure public safety and security,” said Azurin.

He added that the Philippine government can take pride in the PNP being very progressive in human rights advocacy where necessary mechanisms have been set into place to ensure that human rights are protected, and violators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“By law and by demands of faith and morality, we in law enforcement are called upon to uphold civil, political, economic and socio-cultural rights. We do so, not only because the law demands it; we must uphold human rights simply because it is the right thing to do," Azurin said.

Capuyan was joined by other NCIP executives and directors from Mindanao Indigenous People Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL), Mindanao Indigenous People Youth Organization (MIPYO) and the Mindanao Indigenous People Conference for Peace and Development (MIPCPD).

MIPCEL, MIPYO and MIPCPPD comprise the third party in the whole of government/nation (WOG/WON) approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).

The healing and reconciliation as well as the operationalization of 11 building blocks and workshops and ancestral domain visitations were the recent programs of the groups in partnership with the NCIP which aims to level off the understanding and significance of operationalizing the 11 building blocks on the recognition, protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples to all stakeholders for a resilient, relevant and responsive Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) as partners for nation building, peace, security, and development. (PNA)