A total of 126 tribes of Indigenous Peoples on Monday called for the resignation of Makabayan Bloc members in Congress.
During the virtual press conference of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict , Gaye Florendo, NTF ELCAC Assistant Spokesperson for Public Affairs and Indigenous Peoples Concerns read the resolutions of the IPS that they will “no longer tolerate and allow Rep. Eufemia Cullamat and all the other members of the Makabayan Bloc in Congress, including Kabataan Rep. Elago and Bayan Muna Rep. Zarate, to misrepresent, manipulate, and use the indigenous communities to serve their violent political agenda.”
“This is actually a call for them to resign from their posts,” Florendo said, “and this call was made after the Makabayan Bloc blocked the budgets of the agencies mandated to provide basic services to IP communities, and particularly because the link and support of these party- list groups to the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) have become clearer, from statements of former high-ranking leaders of the CPP-NPA who surrendered and were recruited to the NPA through these partylist groups.
Through the resolutions, the 126-strong IP communities declared Cullamat as a persona non grata. The resolutions also stated that Cullamat does not represent the IP communities and her claim to be an indigenous representative is a grave violation of the indigenous customs and practices.
Florendo is confident that this unified call against Cullamat and the Makabayan bloc is “only the start and will continue.”
On the other hand, Datu Rico Maca, Municipal Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur said, though Cullamat is also an IP member of the Manobo Tribe, she failed to represent them, while receiving no action or support from Cullamat even as they helped Bayan Muna gain a seat in Congress.
Datu Rico said he saw no remorse and condemnation from Rep. Cullamat in the killing of IP leaders and the unabated recruitment of indigenous youth and women to Bayan Muna and the CPP-NPA-NDF through alternative schools, ALCADEV and TRIFPPS in Surigao del Sur.