The 10th Tumanduk General Assembly

A total of 925 IP and IP advocates participated in the TUMANDUK General Assembly from April 8-10, 2016.  A total of 739 delegates came from 33 Tumanduk communities, and 186 delegates and IP rights advocates came from different organizations and communities.

The TUMANDUK General Assembly is the biennial assembly of the Tumanduk indigenous cultural communities in Panay Island, forming the organization: Tumanduk nga Mangunguma nga Nagapangapin sa Duta kag Kabuhi (Indigenous Farmers in Defense of Land and Life). The organization was established 20 years ago in 1996, in Sitio Pola, Brgy. Jaena Sur, Jamindan, Capiz. It was founded by 300 delegates from 15 different Tumanduk communities.

Twenty years later, the TUMANDUK now has a membership of 27 IP communities in the provinces of Iloilo and Capiz. And every two years, the TUMANDUK assembly is attended by 700 to 1000 IP delegates.

This year, the 10th TUMANDUK Assembly aimed to bring the Tumandok people’s concerns and struggles into the forefront in order to raise awareness on the question of ancestral domain and ethnocide among the non-IP communities and to raise the TUMANDUK’s capability to face such challenges. The Assembly was also launched with the intent to further strengthen the unity among the indigenous people and their communities. It served as a venue to connect with other indigenous people’s communities in Panay and Guimaras islands. Lastly, it facilitated the reactivation of Panay’s IP women’s and youth organizations: Anggoy and Tumanduk Youth.

The gist of these concerns and challenges were discussed during the TUMANDUK Council of Leaders meetings, at the community assembly meeting, and with media institutions during the radio troopings and press conferences that were held before the actual GA. The GA workshops deepened the discussion on such issues as IP rights, mega-dams and it’s social and environmental impacts, the manifestations of climate change and other issues. Supplementing the discussion were the input from IP advocates who have had years of experience working in campaign and lobby work.

The GA ’s main workshops were: (a) On the Jalaur River Multipurpose Dam and Pan-ay River Basin Development Project; (b) On the National Greening Program; (c) On Socio-Economic Works in IP Communities; (d) On Human Rights and IP Rights; (e) The Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security

The workshop resolutions aimed to unite the IP communities on how to deal with these challenges. This unity was further strengthened with the presentation and approval of the Chairperson’s 2-Year Report. The report summarized the campaigns and lobby work that the TUMANDUK and its members have launched and led from 2014-2016. The highlights of the report included the TUMANDUK campaigns and lobby work against the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project, and the communities’ campaigns for food security and rehabilitation after super-typhoon Yolanda.

The assembly of the IP women’s organisation, ANGGOY, and that of the TUMANDUK-Youth indicate the growing consolidation of the organizaiton. The TUMANDUK have also expanded their reach into 3 other municipalities, having members in the remote communities of u