Lumads tell gov’t: Mindanao is not for sale
“Mindanao is not for sale.”
Thus said Lumad leader and Datu Jomorito Goaynon, echoing the sentiments of his tribal community amid large-scale mining and militarization in Mindanao.
Goaynon said Friday that the massive large-scale mining and the intrusion of big plantations in their communities have displaced thousands of Lumads.
“Ngayon sa kalagayan ng Mindanao ay ibenebenta na ng gobyerno natin dahil marami nang pumapasok sa ancestral domain ng mga katutubong mamamayan sa Mindanao na pinapasok ng mga dambuhalang kumpanya ng pagmina at mga plantasyon,” Goaynon said.
(At present, Mindanao is practically being sold due to incursions of ancestral domains of indigenous people by giant foreign mining firms and foreign-owned plantations.)
He said the mining activities in their ancestral lands have been rampant despite their plea to the goverment to stop these activities.
“Para sa amin ay parang walang kinabukasan ang mga Lumad kapag di matutulan ang programa ng gobyerno na payagan ang mga dambuhalang kumpanya ng pagminina na pumapasok sa aming ancestral domain,” Goaynon said.
(For us, there is no future if the government fails to stop these foreign firms from entering our ancestral domain.)
The tribal leader also scored the government for the continued militarization in their communities, which he claimed had led to extrajudicial killings.
On September 1, lumad leader Dionel Campos and his cousin Aurelio Sinzo were brutally murdered by paramilitary forces.
Emerico Samarca, a school administrator, was also found dead inside a classroom.
“Sapilitang inaatake ang mga paaralan namin ng mga militar, sapilitang inaatake ang mga komunidad namin ng militar at patuloy yung extrajudicial killing sa Mindanao,” he said.
(The military has been attacking our schools, our communities and extrajudicial killings in Mindanao continues unabated.)
On October 26, hundreds of Lumad from various tribal communities in Mindanao arrived in Manila as part of the “Manilakbayan,” a caravan protest to demonstrate their struggles to bring stip militarization and intrusion in their communities.
The Lumads camped out at the University of the Philippines then transferred to the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.
On Friday afternoon, the Lumads trooped to Mendiola in Manila near Malacanang to urge President Benigno Aquino III to address their plight.
“Sana irespeto at kilalanin ng gobyernong P-noy at ng pamahalaan natin ang karapatan sa sariling pagpapasya ng mga katutubo at irespeto ang karapatan sa lupang ninuno,” Goaynon said.
(We hope the Aquino government respects and acknowledge our right to make our own decision and to respect our ancestral domain.)
He called on the government to give justice to the extrajudicial killings that he claimed include Lumads as victims.
The Lumads were given by the Manila government to stay at the Liwasang Bonifacio until 6 p.m. Friday due to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit that will be held in Manila next week.
The Lumads said they were uncertain where to stay.