CLANS promotes the Lumad right to self-determination by supporting indigenous people’s movements to address the root causes of inequality, disrespect, injustice, discrimination and plunder of ancestral lands. It provides and facilitates extension programs and services such as education, community-based health care systems, sanitation programs, water systems, small-scale alternative electrification, irrigation systems, and sustainable agriculture to its partner Lumad communities. CLANS was an organizational awardee of Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan 2018.
Lumad rights advocates have complained of human rights violations allegedly committed by government troops in Tinagdanan, where many residents are members of the Kesasabanay Dulangan Manobo, a local organization that has been resisting the entry of DM Consunji Inc. in their ancestral lands within the Daguma Mountain Range, which stretches over parts of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and South Cotabato.
Intensifying attacks from the military and paramilitary groups are directed at CLANS to pacify their staunch opposition to the entry of mining and plantation companies in their partner Lumad communities. Even their volunteer teachers and staff members are experiencing intimidation, harassments, illegal arrests, and trumped-up charges.
Teacher Jolita Tolentino, a lumad teacher was arrested in Sultant Kudarat province over murder and frustrated murder charges filed against her and several colleagues and community leaders over a clash between communist rebels and Marines last year that left one soldier dead and nine others wounded.
PTCA member Pastor Kama Sanong was also arrested and remains detained after he was falsely charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
As of today, CLANS was forced to close 33 campuses due to the threats from soldiers against teachers and children. Their remaining 6 schools in four provinces in Region 12 are still under the threat of being closed. Despite submitting the requirements, their permit to operate has been withheld by the Department of Education. This has made them more vulnerable to attacks and harassment from the military especially under the existing Martial Law in Mindanao.
There have been 56 extrajudicial killings of environmental defenders under the term of President Rodrigo Duterte and countless more harassments, illegal arrests, filing of trumped-up charges and other human rights violations. The Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines remembers the brave environmental heroes awarded in the biannual Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan to remind and inspire us to continue protecting the environment and people’s rights.