“Get out of our communities NOW!” the group Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination demanded today at the gate of the Camp Aguinaldo, headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Sandugo and Lumad organizations together with other progressive organizations held a protest action against the AFP’s all-out war “which includes intensified attacks against Moro and indigenous peoples communities,” Sandugo said.
“Our communities in Abra, Mindoro, Saranggani and Compostela Valley were bombed as Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said ‘go ahead and flatten the hills.’ We were forced to leave our communities and abandon our fields. Now, we have nothing to eat and our children are hungry,” Sandugo said.
Around 60 Lumad leaders and farmers representing communities from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte and Kitaotao, Bukidnon which have returned to their communities after forcibly evacuating their areas two years ago are in the National Capital Region to demand immediate assistance and response from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for rebuilding and rehabilitation of their communities destroyed by the previous Aquino regime’s military operations. “Our communities remain militarized because of the current AFP’s all out war,” Sandugo said.
In response to the GRP-NDFP statement on the forging of the interim bilateral ceasefire agreement in the recently concluded fourth round of peacetalks, “The AFP troops should immediately pull out from our communities and stop all forms of counter-insurgency operations now and in the event that an interim bilateral ceasefire will be implemented by the Government and the National Democratic Front. Only then the rehabilitation and rebuilding of communities as well as socio-economic reforms can be freely implemented,” Sandugo further said.
“The national minorities with the Filipino people long for just and lasting peace. The drafting of a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms (CASER) in the on-going GRP-NDFP peacetalks and its eventual implementation can only be relevant if it truly upholds our collective right to ancestral land and territory and self-determination. It will only succeed if the national minorities themselves are involved in forging and undertaking these reforms. Genuine reforms cannot proceed and be realized if we continue to be victims of state repression and fascism. Even to date, many of our tribesmen are still unable to return to their homes because of intensified AFP military operations and paramilitary threats,” Sandugo concluded.###
Pya Macliing Malayao 09275400839
Kerlan Fanagel, 09187692888
*Photo credit: Kilab Multimedia