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Ascent joins IP call for free foreign policy

12:01 AM October 25, 2016

The Assert Socio-Economic Initiative Network in the Philippines (Ascent) condemns the violent dispersal of national minorities by the Philippine National Police in the morning of Oct. 19, 2016.

The right to self-determination is a guaranteed right under the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Therefore, this should be enjoyed by national minorities in the country.

The IP (indigenous peoples) call for an independent government foreign policy free from external intervention is not only a call for support for national minorities, it is  also a call for government to steer for the country a course free from agreements and treaties that are detrimental to the interest of the Filipino people.

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Yet, this call by the national minorities for self-determination and against foreign intervention was met harshly by state security forces. Unnecessary force was used against the protesters, and lives were placed in danger because ranking police officials would rather protect the seal and embassy of a foreign country than the lives of the citizens they have sworn to serve and protect.

We laud the government’s action temporarily relieving police officials who were involved in the incident. However, Ascent believes the move is not enough. State agents responsible for the bloody clash must be held accountable, and justice for the national minorities should be served.

Ascent and its member organizations have been working for years with different national minority groups in implementing development projects that uphold their right to self-determination. Ascent continues to support their call, as well as the push for an independent foreign policy so that the Filipino people may be truly free to chart their own course to development.

RENMIN CRISANTA VIZCONDE, spokesperson, Assert Socio-Economic Initiative Network in the Philippines

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TAGS: Ascent, foreign policy, Indigenous People, letter, Letter to the Editor, Lumad, opinion, violent dispersal
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