On Dumagat Day 2019: Defeat the adversary, inspire courage and unity!

With highest salute and solidarity, the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) extends its greetings to the indigenous Dumagat and Remontado, and all who attended the Dumagat Day 2019 with the theme “Advance the unity in the defense of the environment and strengthen the movement that promotes the right to ancestral lands and self-determination of Indigenous Dumagat and Remontado!”

The Indigenous Peoples (IP) of the Dumagat and Remontado are facing an enormous monster, and it is just and right that people come together to show their readiness to stop and defeat those who trample indigenous rights: be it destructive mega-dams, a murderous government and military, or even foreign invaders who rob our lands.

Throughout the world, various States, in connivance with big foreign companies, international financial institutions dominated by imperialist countries, have been relentless in allowing large energy projects such as dams, extractives, large plantations, and logging companies. In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has given the go signal to mining and corporate ranchers to capture previously protected ancestral territories. Along the Mekong River, which passes through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, large dams funded by China, aiming to make the region the “battery of Asia,” will affect the way of life and livelihood of indigenous communities. In West Papua, where the US-company Freeport-McMoran operates the biggest gold mine in the world, the IP are being murdered and threatened by the Indonesian government by refusing to recognize their right to self-determination.

Like President Duterte and the Chinese government, railroading the Kaliwa, Kanan and Laiban dams, imperialist nations and foreign corporations do not hesitate to profit from the world’s natural resources. All these at the expense of blatantly disregarding the rights, culture and tradition of 20,000 Dumagat and Remontado, despite communities that will be uprooted from their sacred sites and home of their ancestors, despite the irreversible environmental destruction of Sierra Madre mountain ranges, despite the onus that will be carried by the people in paying privatized social service, and despite using the people’s taxes to pay for the 12.2 billion-peso foreign debt. And it is alarming how ongoing military aggression, violence and attacks in various forms used to push for the signed projects.

But Dumagat, Remontado and people’s resistance will not be daunted by the manipulation of Free, Prior and Informed Consent by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, with a history of dubious and non-inclusive consultation with IP, or by the disregard of the Environmental Management Bureau and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System in conserving the rivers, forests and wildlife of Sierra Madre. The struggle of Dumagat and Remontado is one with the fight of IP of the world. And their triumph against destructive dams is a step to weaken the common monster that discriminates, kills, and oppresses all IP.

Let’s take inspiration from IP’s victories across the globe, from the ancestors and martyrs who stood in defense of these lands. May Dumagat Day inspire the next generation in courage and unity. The adversaries and monsters may be enormous but our struggle is mightier!

Dumagat and Remontado, stand and unite to fight!

Stop Kaliwa, Kanan and Laiban Dam!

Defend and fight for ancestral lands!

Struggle for self-determination and liberation!

Photos by: Mich Lado

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