Macario Liwanag, Rizal province spokesperson of the New People’s Army, reported how local police forces and the 80th Infantry Battalion – Armed Forces of the Philippines summoned 30 indigenous Dumagats on 29 April to Antipolo City to supposedly receive financial aid from the Duterte government. The Dumagats, however, were promptly arrested and charged with ‘association’ with the revolutionary movement in Rizal province.
In San Jose village of the same city, the AFP 2nd Infantry Division forced another group of Dumagats, supposed former ‘NPA supporters’ in various provinces in the region, to surrender.
According to Liwanag, the Dumagat indigenous communities are being attacked because of their opposition to the construction of the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project in barangays of Rodriquez, San Mateo and Antipolo city. This PhP 24.5 billion 30-year raw water supply project, approved by the Duterte government, will displace the communities and adversely affect the livelihood of peasant and indigenous peoples in the area.
Military operations of the AFP Southern Luzon Command, coupled with deceptive government propaganda, have been disturbing the peace of Rizal’s towns. The Philippine Army and PNP-Rizal have imposed restrictive military lockdowns in the villages of Antipolo City and Rizal Province.
Liwanag added, “Justice has not yet been served to victims of the ‘Bloody Sunday’, yet the 80th AFP Infantry Battalion and Philippine National Police in Rizal are on the rampage again… In March, a few weeks after the ‘Bloody Sunday’, a similar tactic was implemented wherein 30 minority peoples of Barangay Puray were arrested on charges of rebellion.”
Arman Guerrero, NDFP-Rizal spokesperson, said that amid these attacks, the struggle of the people in Rizal is “like a surging water that the regime cannot stop… The US-Duterte regime is fast-tracking the Rizaleños’ desire to take the path of armed revolution and overthrow his terrorist reign.”
The targeting of indigenous peoples is also happening in other areas in the Philippines. Marco Valbuena, Communist Party of the Philippines Chief Information Officer, stated, “For more than four years now, Duterte and his military cabal… have intensified their attacks against national minorities.”
Valbuena cited the massacre of nine Tumandoks and the arrest of 17 others in Tapaz, Capiz on 30 December 2020, the persecution of Aetas under the Anti-Terror Law, and the murder of Dumagats in the recent Bloody Sunday in Southern Tagalong as among the recent cases.
“The regime continues to target national minorities as they defend their ancestral lands from entry of destructive dam projects, plantations, and multinational mining operations,” Valbuena said.