IPs on 'lakbayan' angry over snub by government
Some 250 members of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Northern Mindanao who went on a nationwide people's caravan to Manila last August 23 has returned home, albeit upset and dismayed over the apparent snub by high government officials at the nation's capital.
A ritual of thanksgiving for safe voyage was held at the Press
Freedom Monument at the Capitol grounds on Tuesday, September 23, before the lumads from different tribes went back to their respective communities in the region.
The month-long `Lakbayan’ was undertaken to press the IP’s rights to self-determination, call for a just and lasting peace, and to urge the government to lift martial law in Mindanao.
Datu Jomorito Goaynon, chairperson of the Lumad organization Kalumbay in Northern Mindanao, said they are disappointed because government agencies that were supposed to address and answer their concerns failed to face them for a dialogue.
Goaynon said they went to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Education (Deped) and even the Malacañan Palace, but not one opened their doors to them.
“Dismayado ta kay walay taga gobyerno nga nag-atubang ug nakig-istorya sa ato para unta mapaabot atong mga issues sa illegal nga pagdakop ug pagtumo-tumo og kaso sa mga lumad; pag-atake sa mga lumad schools ug uban pa,”Goaynon said.
Goaynon said only the social welfare department listened to their concerns.
The tribal leader said those agencies that snubbed them when they needed them most are insincere to help them fight for their rights.
“Gipakita lang sa gobyerno nga dili sila sinsiro nga motabang sa mga lumad especially sa human rights violation. Gipakita nila nga wala silay plano nga irespeto ug tubagon ang mga issues nga giatubang karon sa mga lumad communities,”Goaynon said.
Goaynon said the lumad people have sacrificed for a month to press their cause even some were afflicted with minor cough, fever and stomach aches, but it ended with nothing.
He also said two lumads from the region were slightly injured during the picket rallies outside the US embassy and DOJ.
“Safe ang byahe pero naay uban nagkasakit tungod kay kulang sa tulog ug naulanan pero walay dakong problema,”Goaynon said.
“During sa picket rallies naay usa nga nasamdan ang ulo kay nabunalan sa batuta ug ang usa nasumbagan sa police sa gawas sa DOJ,”Goaynon added.
However, they are thankful to people from the church and academe and other groups who consoled them and showed their support.