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2017 SONA

300 ’Lumads’ join protest during Duterte’s 2nd Sona

By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 11:54 PM July 24, 2017
Sona protesters

Thousands of protesters from different groups carrying placards and flags along Commonwealth Avenue marched towards the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City where President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) was held on Monday, July 24, 2017. (Photo by EDWIN BACASMAS / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

For two days, Lumad student Jomar Malibato walked from Capalong in Davao del Norte to Loreto in Agusan del Norte just to catch a bus to Davao City and resume his schooling.

Malibato, 19, is an eighth grader at Misfi Academy in Capalong.

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On June 5, barely two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao, a member of paramilitary group Alamara warned him that his teachers would be killed if he would not stop attending his classes.

These threats continued until June 22, when Malibato and 22 other students decided to travel to Davao City.

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Malibato was one of the 300 lumads who joined the rally against President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday outside the House of Representatives.

They called on the president to lift martial law in Mindanao, which, he said had caused the shutdown of several Lumad schools on the island.

“Nandito kami sa Sona para iparating sa pangulo ang mga nangyari sa Mindanao. Yung mga paaralan namin ipinasara ng military [at] yung mga paramilitary groups na tinatawag na Alamara,” Malibato told Inquirer.net in an interview.

(“We’re here at Sona to tell the president what happened in Mindanao. Our schools are shut down by the military and paramilitary groups called Alamara.”)

Since May 23, when martial law was implemented, 27 out of some 200 Lumad schools in Mindanao have been forced to close because of military presence in communities, said Beverly Gofredo, spokesperson of youth group Liga ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan.

“Binabantaan po kasi yung mga boluntaryong guro na pag magtuturo doon, papatayin,” Gofredo said in a separate interview. “May mga paramilitary groups po kasi na inaarmasan ng military na [manakot] sa mga guro na wag nang babalik sa Lumad na eskwelahan.”

(“Volunteer teachers are threatened and told that they will get killed if they continue teaching there. Military arm paramilitary groups to threaten teachers not to go back in lumad schools.”)

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She said that attacks against Lumad communities did not stop since 2015, when Alcadev Executive Director Emerito Samarca, community leader Dionel Campos and his cousin, Aurelio Sinzo, were killed by suspected paramilitary groups.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said that these cases of human rights violations are one of the main reasons to lift martial law in Mindanao.

“Kaya ito naman ay sinasabi natin na isang rason para tanggalin na ang martial law sa Mindanao dahil nagiging weapon ito ng mga mapang-abuso para mang-abuso sa mamamayan,” Brosas said.

Malibato had no other aspirations but to finish his studies. But it seemed to be impossible to achieve anytime soon, as Duterte maintained to uphold martial law in Mindanao until the end of this year.

“Panawagan ko po kay presidente Digong na itigil na ang martial law dahil hindi na kami makapag-aral nang mabuti,” the student said. /atm

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TAGS: 2017 Sona, Jomar Malibato, Lumads, Rodrigo Duterte
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