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    Project

    From June 2011 until March 2016 IPON had opened an office on the second largest island of the Philippines, Mindanao, in the provincial capital Malaybalay. After extensive studies, a partner organization was found in the province of Bukidnon: PADATA. The Panalsalan Dagumbaan Tribal Association is an indigenous organization, which was founded in 2004 to coordinate the struggle for its ancestral domain. PADATA currently applies for a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title for its land. The Indigenous People’s Rights Act requires that the residing indigenous groups must be consulted about every single project on their territory (even if they do not yet have official land titles, but live in the area as a matter of fact). This often leads to violent conflicts of interests between big companies and landowners based in Mindanao and the affected indigenous groups. In the case of PADATA, the land dispute resulted in the expulsion of PADATA members from their ancestral land through the land tenant. The now returned PADATA members are exposed to constant danger, which emanates from the security forces of the farm tenant. In 2011 only, many cases of arson, destruction of houses and shooting attacks were recorded. One PADATA member was even murdered.

     

    Due to the threats, the human rights defenders of PADATA are in an ongoing, precarious security situation. As a result, they are accompanied by IPON – officially since January 2012 when the mandate conference took place. The human rights observers of IPON are in touch with various state actors on the local, provincial, regional and national level to advocate for the security of the indigenous group and accompany PADATA members to meetings.In 2013 PADATA has signed a Memorandum of Agreement which guaranteed them some land, but not the extent of the required ancestry domain. The dispute over recognition and return of their property continues. Currently 39 members of the organization are accused of illegal logging, including warrants of arrest, which makes it impossible for them to enjoy access to state institutions because they have to fear imprisonment an unpredictable period of time. IPON is to permanently accompanying negotiations and hearings and continues its presence at PADATA.

     

    Another mandate partner is the human rights defender Temogen Cocoy Tulawie from Sulu. He is the founder of the human rights group Bawbug and a member of various Philippine civil society organizations. Furthermore, he took part in various campaigns to democratize local politics, increase transparency of government and to uphold the civil rights of the inhabitants of Sulu. Those campaigns revealed several human rights violations committed by the local government, including the declaration of an unconstitutional state of emergency in Sulu by the local official at the time, Governor A. Tan. In 2009, a bomb exploded during a convoy of the Sulu politician and Cocoy was accused of having masterminded the attack. He was arrested three years later and jailed in Davao City. IPON considers that his arrest served to put an end to his protest against human rights violations committed by authorities. Cocoy and IPON established their partnership in 2013 before his trial commenced in October of the same year. He was transferred to Manila in the beginning of 2014, where IPON observers monitored his court hearings. IPON together with other civil society organizations and the EU raised awareness for his case to get a fair and speedy trial for him to continue his work as human rights defender. In July 2015 Cocoy has been acquitted from all charges against him and released from prison. He continues to be an active member of civil society and resumed his position in Bawbug.

    Observer

    Partner

    Panalsalan Dagumbaan Tribal Asociation (PADATA)



    Headquarters:

    Purok West

    Barangay Panalsalan

    Municipality of Maramag 8714

    Province of Bukidnon

     

    President: 

    Vilma Monera 

    phone: +63 (0) 9268595827

     

    Vice President: 

    Jessielyn Colegado 

    phone: +63 (0) 9069128118

    Contact

    Office Bukidnon

     

    IPON, c/o Cyrus A. Ellorin,
    Ruiz Street, Sumpong
    8700 Malaybalay

     

    observer.mindanao[at]ipon-philippines.org
    phone: +63 (0)9393205776