‘Lumad’ ask Cebuanos for food aid
CEBU CITY—Saying they were not getting help from the government, “lumad” (indigenous) people from Mindanao have come to this city to appeal for food and medical assistance for fellow lumad who are still staying in evacuation centers.
Jong Monzon, secretary general of Pasaka, a confederation of lumad organizations in Southern Mindanao, said the number of lumad who sought shelter at the Haran compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City had increased while food supply had been running low.
Some have even occupied the gym in the city’s Matina District to avoid the congestion in the compound, Monzon told the Inquirer.
Some 900 people, including the Pulangihan Manobo from Barangay White Culaman in Kitaotao town, Bukidnon province, are the most recent evacuees.
Monzon came with 21 other people belonging to the Manobo, Mandaya, Matigsalug, and Tigwahanon who organized the “Lakbayan ng Lumad sa Cebu.” He said the movement, which he chairs, was seeking support from the Cebuanos in their call to pull out military troops in their villages.
The evacuees refuse to go home out of fear for their lives because of alleged “militarization” in their communities, Monzon said. “We are still not safe,” he said.
At least P23,000 is needed a day for food alone since at least eight sacks of rice could feed 900 daily, he said.
The people also need medicines as many of them have been suffering from cough and colds for sleeping on laminated tarpaulins at the Haran, he said.
Other concerns are the health condition of 30 babies who were born at the compound without physicians attending to them and the need for clothes, especially for the children.
Monzon said his group had decided to seek assistance in Cebu since government agencies in Davao City had not given them assistance. Personnel of government agencies go to the evacuation site but would only tell them that the evacuation center was already congested, he said.
This Thursday, they will hold a protest rally in front of Camp Lapu-Lapu, headquarters of Armed Forces Central Command.