‘Ethnic cleansing!’ – protesting Bangsamoro, Mindanao ethnic leaders to Manila under Lakbayan 2017

Photo courtesy of Baretang Bikolnon

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA. Bicol Region – “Killing our peoples are reaching ethnocidal and genocidal proportions”, lamented ethnic leaders from Mindanao travelling to Manila to voice out their protests, Bicol Today.com in Naga City learnedWednesday about the group’s travel in convoy.

The convoy, within a day or two, will pass the Bicol mainland highways with brief “solidarity” stop-overs in Sorsogon, Albay, and Camarines Sur.

Delegations from various Ethnic and Indigenous People groups in Mindanao are on their way to Manila, travelling in convoy of busses, for a few-day protest visit dubbed as “Indigenous Peoples and Bangsamoro’s Lakbayan 2017, or broadly as “Pambansang Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya”.

From various areas of Mindanao, the groups’ Lakbayan 2017 is not an educational, tourism travel, just-for-fun tour, but a travel saddened with tales of grief, killings, and dislocating, oppression, and forced evacuation.

“Ethnic cleansing”

It is large-scale protest against “Ethnic cleansing” perpetrated by state troops, sanctioned by the Duterte regime, the groups encapsulated their message, in a nutshell.

“No one is safe under the reign of Duterte. Just over a year in power, his disregard for the rule of law {”tirahin na ‘yan} resulted in thousands of deaths that makes the Ampatuan massacre pale in comparison, as security forces and vigilante groups are emboldened by his words to “kill!”, the participating Lakbayan 2017 groups said in a manifesto.

“This is not to mention the killings of the national minorities that has reached ethnocidal and genocidal proportion without the public’s awareness,” Lakbayan 2017 said.

“Ethnic killings, bombings”

 Lakbayan participant protesters said: “Our people have been killed, our resources being raped, our houses and heritage have been bombed and our race being wiped out – this is why we travel thousands of miles to Metro Manila  – for the rest of the nation to hear our cries and resistance.”

Just as we were travelling to Manila, two of our kin have been killed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the group said.

On August 23, Roger Timboco, a Mansaka farmer and member of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Maco Com Val (Farmers’ Federation of Maco, Com Val) was shot and killed at a habal-habal terminal. He was an active supporter of the Lapanday banana plantation farmers during their land occupation campaign. Another Lumad, Lomer Gerodias was shot dead on the night of August 27, in Poblacion Maragusan. He was a member of a militant farmers group called Abante.

It was the same thing last year, when as we were about to reach Manila, a Lumad leader, Jimmy Saipan was killed. It was also last year when the whole nation witnessed how we were rammed over by a police patrol car while protesting in front of the US Embassy.

Pambansang Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya

Dubbed as Pambansang Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya, we, members of national minorities under the flag of Sandugo, are coming back to Metro Manila on August 31 until September 2, as an assertion to our right to self-determination and to condemn the US-Duterte regime and demand justice for the escalating attacks against our communities, tribes, schools, said the manifesto

“All 3000 of us, from the different regions nationwide, call on the Duterte regime to Stop the killings.  Stop the plunder.  We call on the Filipino people to Oppose the US-Duterte regime’s attacks against national minorities.  Stand with Marawi.  Stand with the Bangsamoro”, the Lakbayan manifesto declared.

Marawi City dying; Moros, IPs at center of attacks 

The daily airstrikes in Marawi has resulted in the thousands of missing Moro and are feared dead.  Devoid of CCTV and media attention, aerial bombings, artillery shellings, indiscriminate firing, assassinations, abductions and torture had struck other Moro communities in Lanao del Sur as well as in Lumad communities in Compostela Valley, the Mamanwas in Agusan del Sur, the Blaans in Sarangani Province, the Tingguians in Abra, the Igorots in the Cordilleras, the Mangyans in Mindoro, the Aetas of Central Luzon, the Dumagats of Rizal, etc.

Duterte has come to a full circle as a fascist thug, and in conspiracy with the US has declared martial law over Mindanao, which could also be extended throughout the country.

This, on top of the counter-“insurgency” Oplan Kapayapaan and its all-out war that put the national minorities at the center of attacks.

Capitalists secret agenda: grab for Moro, IP ancestral lands

Beneath the attacks is an evil scheme to gain more control over the resource-rich territories and ancestral domain of national minorities.  Duterte’s move to continue the US-instigated neoliberal economic policies of past regimes ensure this.

Sitting on Moro land are hundreds of thousands of hectares of pineapple and banana plantations of transnational corporations like Unifrutti, DOLE and Del Monte.

About a hundred thousand hectares more of Moro territory and IP ancestral territories are reserved for the expansion of oil palm plantations. Giant foreign mining corporations continue to eye over half a million hectares of ancestral land of national minorities throughout the country.

Marawi City “rehabilitation”: Maranaos out, business capitalists in

Lakbayan suspects a secret agenda behind the planned rehabilitation of Marawi City.  On the former homes of Maranaos that were razed to the ground shall rise businesses, infrastructure and military reservations all in the name of Duterte’s BUILD BUILD BUILD, while evacuees rot in evacuation centers and lose their dreams of ever reclaiming their city, their lives, and livelihood.

Call for unity

We resist the fascist US-Duterte regime for its mounting crimes against the national minorities and the entire Filipino people. We shall not be cowed.  Our Lakbayan unites us with our fellow Filipinos to oppose the attacks not just in our communities but in all communities of the poor, as we are linked by a bloody trail of extrajudicial killings and other forms of state violence. [BicolToday.com]

Posted by on August 30, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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