IPs on 'lak­bayan' an­gry over snub by gov­ern­ment

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page - By Al­wen Salir­ing

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.

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