Songs carry voices of nameless ‘lumad’
(Last of two parts)
DAVAO CITY—For the “lumad” children, singing was one way of expressing what they want, not only for themselves but also for the tribes and their ancestral land.
Datu Duluman Dawsay of the Talaingod Manobo tribe in Davao del Norte province said the denuded mountains and hills proved the connection of their dreams for education with respect for their ancestral land and environmental protection.
“These are all responsibilities of the government and the tribe. But without the help of the government, we can do only a little. What is ironic is that the government is doing the contrary of what it should be doing,” he said.
Defend ancestral lands
He said the government was still peddling their lands for investors to exploit their forests and mineral resources.
“The government observed Earth Day but it should understand that it cannot promote environmental protection without defending our ancestral lands,” Datu Dawsay said.
What was more infuriating, he said, was the massive presence of government forces in their lands and communities, which had hindered their farming and other activities, and the schooling of children.
“No one wants to live in the communities fearing that they will be harmed or be labeled as supporters or members of the communist movement. They even called our tribal schools as schools of the New People’s Army. They failed in providing education for our kids, and now that we found ways to build our own schools they will demonize it?” Datu Dawsay said.
The military has consistently denied abuses or violations in their conduct of operations in the communities, explaining that their presence in the villages was part of their peace and development programs aimed at bringing in social services to isolated, poor communities.
Roshell Royo, 16, from Matigsalug in Davao City’s Marilog District, said even the children knew about the complexity of the situation in their communities.
“These are simple songs, but these convey messages from the history of our people forgotten by the government in Manila. Our songs carry the voices of many nameless lumad who continue to seek your attention and help,” she said.
“These are our songs and we hope that these will touch your hearts.”
The album “Salugpongan” by Tunog Bobongan can be bought at P150 through [email protected]
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