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Twisting a life-giving law to justify murder

 

MANILA (UCAN): On November 11, the archbishop of Manila, Luis Cardinal Tagle, made his widely publicised visit to displaced tribal people from Mindanao and called for an end to the military occupation of their schools and communities.

On the very same day, a commander from a military-backed paramilitary militia defended the execution of the principal of an indigenous children’s school before the congress.

At the other end of the country on November 23, Ulas Salanganie, a leader with the Manobo people and an official with the local Parents, Teachers and Community Association, was murdered in Davao del Norte.

Critics say that government officials and paramilitary commanders are using the landmark law on self-determination for tribal people to justify the murder and execution of indigenous leaders and their supporters.

The senior minority leader in the House of Representatives, Neri Colmenares, reported that the murder prompted the wholesale evacuation of the area.

On the following day, Malacañang announced that the president, Noynoy Aquino, had met with representatives of the indigenous people to discuss what an official press release described as their concerns.