OAKLAND, CA — The Stop Lumad killings campaign started during the Aquino administration — and according to the indigenous people of the Philippines, it has not stopped under President Duterte.
Over the past two years, Fil-Ams across the US shared their condolences and their support for numerous slain Lumad leaders, who they believed were killed as part of Philippine military intimidating the indigenous people out of their land.
Recently, as part of the 2017 just peace tour, Filipino human rights experts and indigenous people who have said to survive survived the brunt of state-sponsored violence and political repression in the Philippines stopped in Oakland.
The Lumads say they are victims because they are protecting their land that still have untapped natural resources.
“Because of the interest like investment like mining, agribusiness plantations, large scale energy… these really gets the ancestral land,” said Dulphing Bayang Ogan, Secretary general of Kalumaran. “[They] grab the ancestral land of the indigenous people–which affects our livelihood, which affects our lives.”
Activists in the Philippines and in the US accused the then-Aquino government of close to 100 Lumad deaths, and says the number continues to rise under the Duterte administration.
“But now with Duterte… the harassment continues,” said Josephine Engyo Pagalan, a Lumad-Caraga representative. “Like for example, the leaders, they threaten the people who speak out like this, who give media interviews.”
The Lumads said that they forwarded their concerns to the peace talks between Philippine government and the communist national democratic front, in order to avoid any more unnecessary deaths of people in the community by the military.
The military says the deaths of certain Lumads are justified, because of they believe them to be communist rebels.
These people say the military is lying.
“They’re civilians, the community, who establishing programs for the real development of our territories. But this one is part of beneficiation, intimidation, and tagging,” said Ogan.
The Lumads said they were aware of and thankful of the demonstrations being held on college campuses across the US for the Stop Lumad killings campaign.
They hope that with the continued worldwide support — justice and peace will be brought to the Lumad people.