Leni-Kiko tandem signs Indigenous People’s Covenant, receives the backing of various IP groups in Rizal Province

Vice-presidential candidate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Tuesday evening assured the groups under 1Sambubungan, a coalition of indigenous peoples (IPs) in Rizal Province, that he remains committed in forwarding the interests of the marginalized including the IPs.

“Pinirmahan na po natin ang covenant na ito upang sang-ayunan ang pagsuporta sa agenda ng ating mga katutubo…At sa pagpirma nito, ganoon din ang ating commitment para sa welfare, para sa issues na dinadala ninyo bilang mga katutubo — ang ating mga IPs,” Pangilinan said after he and running-mate vice-president Leni Robredo signed the Indigenous People’s Covenant which outlines the 1Sambubungan agenda.

The agriculture sector advocate said that it is easy to make promises especially in the middle of the campaign period, but what sets the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem is their clean track record and their ability to deliver on their campaign promises.

“Tayo po estudyante pa lamang sa UP ay ipinaglalaban na ang mga karapatan ng mga katutubo, ang mga nasa laylayan, mga magsasaka, manggagawa, mangingisda,” Pangilinan said.

“Tayo po ay naging abogado para sa mga mahihirap. Inuna po natin ang mga marginalized sectors noong nagpa-practice pa tayo ng abogasya at itong nakaraang isang dekada, tayo po ay champion ng mga usapin ng mga nasa laylayan,” he said.

“Hindi po tuwing eleksyon lamang. Sampung taon mahigit na po nating isinusulong ang mga programa, mga batas hinggil sa mga usapin ng mga magsasaka’t mangingisda,” he added.

The items under the Indigenous People’s Covenant include the recognition of the important role of indigenous peoples in national development, respect of their right to self-determination, and the call for long and lasting peace.

1Sambubungan’s spokesperson Beverly Longid said that the groups under the coalition are tired of empty promises and rhetoric made during electoral campaigns by politicians who fail to fulfill them when elected.

But members of 1Sambubungan trust that the Robredo-Pangilinan leadership will respect and fight for their rights and interest.

“Naniniwala po kami na sina Vice-President Leni Robredo at Senator Kiko Pangilinan ang mag-aangat sa amin mula sa karahasan at kahirapan,” Longid said.

“Ang agendang ito ang naglalaman ng ating mga batayang hangarin at interes bilang mga katutubo at natutuwa tayo na kaisa natin sina President Leni Robredo at Vice-President Kiko Pangilinan. Kailangan natin silang ipanalo para ito ay maipatupad dahil sila ang magbibitbit ng mga ito,” she added.

1Sambubungan is composed of IP communities from the tribes of Aeta, Dumagat, Igorot, Monobo, and Remontados scattered across the country, particularly in the Southern Tagalog provinces.

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