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Indigenous Peoples (IP) are being used and exploited by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) to solicit funds from foreign donors, according to a local IP leader in Mindanao.

“Ginagamit kaming mga katutubo para makakuha sila ng pondo,” Datu Lito Omos of the Mangguangan Indigenous Tribe of Davao del Norte said in a radio interview.

Speaking during the UP UP Pilipinas radio program on Tuesday, Omos disclosed that capitalizing on IP issues is part of the CPP-NPA-NDF’s deceptive scheme to get donations from abroad.

A church worker, Omos became a community organizer and one of the founders of LUMAD MINDANAW, a front organization of the CPP-NPA-NDF, after he was recruited by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) as an IP representative. He has since parted ways with the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) and returned to the fold of the law.

When asked about the reports of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) that the CPP-NPA-NDF had been getting billions of pesos in funding, he said that this has been going on for decades through “re-cycled” project proposals of allied or linked CPP-NPA-NDF organizations which are then submitted to several funding agencies and individual donors abroad.

Omos said, “Totoo na malaki ang pondo, iba pa yung galing sa Kongreso. May mga liaison officers na nag iikot sa nga funding agencies. Gawain talaga nila yan. Binibigay ang isang project proposal sa madaming funding agencies.”

However, he said that the IP communities which CPP-NPA-NDF were supposed to be helping remain poor and in dire need of assistance because any funds obtained are diverted to the CTGs high-ranking leaders and not to the intended IP beneficiaries.

“Ginamit ang katutubo sa fund raising pero ang pondo na iyan ay hindi para sa katutubo, para sa kanila (high-ranking officers of the CTGs),” he stressed, adding, “Sa totoo lang, wala talagang mga proyekto kaming natatanggap. Kung meron man, palliative solutions lang. Binebenta lang talaga kaming mga katutubo.”

Moreover, Omos pointed out that IP leaders like him are threatened and even killed by the CPP-NPA-NDF for refusing to support the CTGs and its front organizations.

It was only when the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Barangay Development Program were created that the IPs were finally given attention and government services started pouring in, Omos added.

When he was still with the CPP-NPA-NDF, Omos said he joined several multi-sectoral meetings and assemblies which were attended by different sectors to further their militant cause. Foreign groups were also invited in one meeting called the International Forum for Solidarity (INFOS).

In 1987, he along with Fr. Eduardo Solang of the Cordillera People’s Alliance was tasked by BAYAN and the CPP-NPA to attend the 5th Session of the United Nations (UN) Conference of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, Switzerland.

They were met and assisted by the then head of the NDF’s International Department and now MIGRANTE’s leaders, Cesar Taguba and Yvonne Carino. After the UN conference in which he spoke about the IP situation, their group travelled to other European countries for the International Alliance for Solidarity Campaign to attend meetings, assemblies and conventions, campaigning and handing over project proposals, and requesting for funding.

He said they were able to get funding support as a result of these visits and the funds were received by LUMAD MINDANAW. However, upon orders by the CPP-NPA-NDF leadership, most of the funds went directly to the CTGs’ political leaders while LUMAD MINDANAW was left with the task to account for the donated funds.

Omos said it was difficult to account for funds that were neither spent nor was given to the intended beneficiaries. This is when LUMAD MINDANAW decided to sever ties with the CPP-NPA-NDF because of fund misappropriations. The CTGs then created another group called PASAKA to replace them, according to Omos.

“Naalala ko nag-usap kami ni Joma (Jose Maria Sison) sa train station sa Utrecht at sinabi niyang, Datu pagbutihan natin ang ating samahan, susuporta kami sa inyo. Sinabi ko sa kanya, pumunta nga kami dito para makakuha ng pondo. Pero wala kami talagang natatanggap. Ang kanilang ginagawa ay para sa kanilang kilusan,” Omos added.

In the recent virtual presscon of the NTF-ELCAC, NICA Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo revealed that the CTGs have collected a whopping P5.4 billion from 2016 to 2018 alone to finance their terroristic activities in the country and to support the lavish lifestyles of their leaders.

Monteagudo said the bulk of the funds came from foreign donors deceived by the CTGs into giving donations using issues on human rights and the IPs. While others were collected through the Rebolusyunaryong Buwis Ukol sa Kaaway na Uri (RBUKU) or revolutionary tax imposed and extorted from businesses in rural and far-flung areas, he added.

Atty. Emet Manantan, Deputy Director and Head of Financial Crime Investigation Group of the Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC), said they are now investigating some 18 international NGOs that funded the CPP-NPA-NDF’s project proposals bearing false advocacies with their allied organizations and the partylist groups.

The amount of donations varied from millions of 'euros' to thousands of 'dollars' based on what the CTGs have asked from the donors. These were remitted through banks and received in percentages.



Ref: Usec. Joel M. Sy Egco



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