Ascent’s ties with minorities to go on
Assert Socio-Economic Initiatives Network in the Philippines (Ascent) wholeheartedly supports the call of national minorities for self-determination and just peace. Members of different minority groups all over the country converged in Manila last Oct. 13 in what has been called the “Lakbayan (Journey) of National Minorities for Self-Determination and Just Peace.”
Ascent has a long history of partnership with grass roots-based minority organizations. Because the government has time and again failed to provide them with basic social services and has long ignored their socioeconomic rights, these groups, exercising their right to freely determine how to govern and develop themselves, have turned to Ascent and its member-organizations to ask for assistance through socioeconomic programs and projects.
Ascent willingly provided them support in the form of programs/projects promoting capacity building, food security and sustainable agriculture, disaster risk reduction and management, environmental protection, community-based health development and community learning.
However, these development initiatives have come under intense pressure from the government and the military in recent years. Community schools have been closed, food security and sustainable agriculture programs forcibly halted, entire minority communities displaced, and development and community workers mercilessly killed.
Ascent deplores these attacks and strongly condemns the continued attacks on minorities, development initiatives and community workers.
As the minority communities continue to advance their rights, Ascent pledges anew its constant support in their fight for self-determination and just peace and in defending their territories and way of life.
RENMIN VIZCONDE, spokesperson, Assert Socio-Economic Initiatives Network, [email protected]
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