Around 500 moro and lumad people from Mindanao will arrive in Cebu next week to express their grievances about land grabbing and plunder of their ancestral domain and the environment through the Lakbayan sa mga Nasudnong Minorya 2017, which will kick off on August 22.
The minority groups from Mindanao will be joined by other tribal groups from the Central Visayas during their four-day and three-night encampment “kampuhan” at the Plaza Independencia and Fuente Osmeña Circle from August 22 to 25.
Bayan Muna Central Visayas head John Ruiz said this is also a venue where the Mindanaoans can call for an end to the intensified attacks and militarization and US intervention and its war against terrorism, and to claim their rights to self-determination.
Jaime Paglinawan, chairperson of Bayan-Central Visayas, said the Lakbayan also carries the call to stop the different policies of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, especially the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Paglinawan said in a statement that the worsening situation of the people in Mindanao especially the minorities should be re-echoed in Cebu because they are bringing legitimate calls that do not only affect them but also the entirety of Filipinos.
“Under the first year of Duterte administration, about 3,000 lumads have evacuated from their communities and ancestral lands due to aerial bombings and militarization,” he said.
He also said that it was easier for the government to attack the communities when President Duterte announced in his press conference after his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) that he will bomb lumad schools that propagate subversive thoughts among their students.
Paglinawan added that out of 80 recorded political killings in the country, 35 happened to the lumads and farmers in the Southern Mindanao Region, based on the Save our School data.
These attacks are the response by big companies and businesses to their decades of resistance against land-grabbing, mining and land-use conversion of their ancestral domain, he said.
A psychosocial debriefing will be held on the 24th for the victims of violence in Mindanao. It will be conducted by psychology students from the different universities in Cebu, and some professionals.
A walk for peace with leaders of some religious groups like Muslims and Roman Catholics, and a visit to the different schools will also be done under the Save Our Schools program.
Paglinawan said activities prepared for their four-day stopover in Cebu include school forum, church and mosque visits, solidarity and cultural nights
and donation drive.
To ensure their safety and security, Ruiz said they coordinated with the Cebu City government, and will ask for assistance from the Cebu City Police Office.
On September 21, about 3,000 moro and llumads are expected to go to Manila to air their grievances to President Rodrigo Duterte.