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  • Legal Rights Center

New paper on impacts of govt's human security framework on IP rights

LRC's new paper analyzes to what extent the concept of human security as used by the Philippine government makes indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) more susceptible to economic, social, and physical insecurities. This paper critiques several policies to expose particular areas of tensions and argues that despite the emerging trend to adopt a human centric approach to human security, Philippine state policies have largely remained path-dependent,  resisting changes that take cognizance of communities’ current realities, and state-centric in its framing of human security. The tension between the state and ICC/IPs has traditionally involved land rights and natural resources. With the advent of the Torrens system – the current system of private land titling – which led to the commodification of land resources, IP domains and their forms of ownership became the subject of the state’s discipline and control. The expansion of the neo-liberalist creed for development in the 1970s greatly intensified the pressures on IPs as the state increased resource exploitation to spur economic growth. Simultaneous with this developmental aggression was the militarization of IP territories as the government attempted to suppress the growing resistance in the upland areas. Rather than address the root causes of conflict, such as poverty, land rights, and social needs, the government used a state-centric and militaristic framework to define policy outcomes.

The militaristic approach also led to the rise in human rights violations and red-tagging incidents among IPs. The Mining Act of 1995 and the Indigenous People Rights Act only paved the way for abuse inasmuch as they established perfunctory mechanisms to legitimize development aggression. Notably these same legitimizing mechanisms likewise justify the use of brutal force against ICCs and IPs struggling to protect their rights inasmuch as it draws the outer borders of permissible defiance.

The enactment of the Human Security Act of 2007 (HSA) gave the state new justifications to use excessive force on IPs and legalize the curtailment of dissent. Bereft of any clear standards and parameters, the government has in fact weaponized the HSA’s ambiguity to engage in extensive red-tagging and arrests of IP leaders. Recent efforts through the Anti-Terrorism legislation intend to increase the breadth of state power.

Other government policies likewise observe such a path-dependent trend. Economic or corporate interests are privileged while resistance from indigenous communities are met with aggressive militarization and rights violations. Instead of prioritizing IPs rights, they are tagged as rebels or insurgents. To address the root cause of conflict, it is thus vital for the Philippine government to reorient its understanding and appreciation of human security, and thereby embrace a people- centered human security development framework in crafting and implementing its various policies.

Read it here.

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