Kalumaran tells President Duterte: ‘We fought the colonizers before NPA came’
DAVAO CITY — The indigenous people in Mindanao has been waging war against Spanish and American colonizers, long before the communist New People’s Army (NPA) existed, said a militant lumad group on Tuesday, taking offense from President Duterte’s statement’s that the NPA has been using the Lumad.
“Long before there was the NPA (New People’s Army), the lumad was already fighting for its ancestral lands against plantations and mining. We never stopped fighting since the time of the Spaniards and the Americans,” Dulphing Ogan, speaking for Kalumaran, said on Tuesday. Kalumaran is an alliance of ethnolinguistic groups in Mindanao.
Ogan was reacting to President Duterte’s statement that the NPA is using the lumad for their insurgency campaigns against the government.
“You heard they were lectured upon by the Lumad and it’s all controlling the lives of the natives. ‘Yan ang mahirap sa komunista, ginagamit nila ang Lumad, kaya karamihan ngayon na namamatay Lumad,” Duterte said in a Palace press briefing on Monday.
(That’s the problem with the communists, they are using the Lumad, that’s why most of the Lumad get killed.)
Ogan, however, said it was Duterte’s administration that pushed the Lumad to go against the government, citing the spate of killings, harassments, and attacks perpetrated by the military and paramilitary groups.
“Duterte’s government is pushing the Lumad to join the NPA. If it’s true that 75 percent of the NPA is Lumad, then (Duterte) better ask himself what are the violations done by the military and their attack dogs, the Alamara,” Ogan added. The Alamara is a paramilitary group in Mindanao.
Ogan also suspects that the filing of trafficking and kidnapping charges against the so-called “Talaingod 18” was just a smokescreen to cover the real intent of the government in the hinterlands of Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
“There must be a plan by the government to sell off the Lumad ancestral lands to big business,” he said.
He said earlier this year that Duterte said he would open the ancestral domains in Mindanao to investors. To do that, Duterte, himself, would personally look for investors to bring developments in these poverty-stricken areas.
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