Internationalist solidarity with the peoples of the Philippines fighting large scale development projects


 Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines are fighting large scale development projects that destroy highly biodiverse areas and dispossess them of their land and their rights. Many of them are paying with their lives.

In 2018, the Philippines saw the highest number of defenders killed in the world. The country consistently ranks as the most dangerous place for environmental defenders in Asia (2019, 2021). A new report - the first released under the Marcos government - raises new concerns for the millions of Indigenous People living in the Philippines. Land grabbing, social and economic marginalisation, red tagging, human rights abuses and violations risk continuing, and becoming even worse than under the previous Duterte government.  

The State of Indigenous Peoples Address Report

The 2022 State of Indigenous Peoples Address (SIPA) Report by Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center/Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-FoEPH) gives a comprehensive overview of the socio-economic and environmental trends affecting the lives of the Philippines’ 14 to 17 million Indigenous Peoples. Their situation is stark: 

  • Half of all Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles* (CADTs) are embroiled in environmentally-destructive projects.
  • Half of all approved large-scale mining contracts and 87% of all large-scale logging projects are within or close to registered ancestral domains.
  • Three in every four indigenous persons remain among the poorest 40% of Filipinos. They face significant gaps in access to education, public health, water, electricity, and other public services.
  • From 2019 to 2021, at least 45 killings of indigenous persons were linked to land and environmental conflicts. There was a 67% spike in killings in 2021, compared to the previous year.  
  • At least 27,430 more experienced human rights abuses, such as forced illegal arrests, judicial harassment, and forced evacuation, among others.

Filipino indigenous killed

Source: 2022 State of Indigenous Peoples Address Report


The SIPA report raised a number of concerns over the new Marcos administration’s policy leanings, indicating business-as-usual in economic policies from the previous government. Their current plans for energy and mining, and public-private partnership for infrastructure development, threaten ancestral domains and indigenous territories. Meanwhile, no reforms are planned to curb the cost-of-living crisis for peoples who are already among the poorest of the poor.

Internationalist Solidarity with the Philippines

We highlight cases from the Philippines, so as to build a common understanding of the reality in the country, generate support for the environmental defenders who are threatened there, and create internationalist solidarity with Filipino struggles against extractivism.  


The Lumad's story

Lumad, the collective term for indigenous peoples in Mindanao, are some of nature's most ardent defenders. In this video, we trace the history of the term Lumad and how such a term helps to surface the enduring struggles of indigenous peoples.