Lumad tribe describes ongoing persecution, met with political skepticism

by Pat Nabong, ABS-CBN News

CHICAGO — A group of leaders of the Philippines’ Lumad tribe shares their struggle with what they describe as persecution — by the New People’s Army.

But many in the Chicago community who came to hear them say their claims don’t add up.

“They deserve our attention and understanding. They will relate to you the story of indigenous people in the Philippines, the struggle to be recognized, respected, promoted and protected,” says Gina Jamoralin, PH Consul General in Chicago.

Eight Lumad leaders from Mindanao traveled to Chicago to talk about the alleged atrocities of the New People’s Army against their communities. But they were met with skepticism.

“Our lives have been in constant danger…”

“It has come to our attention that the communist terrorists of the Philippine personalities disguised as human rights advocates have also come here to promote the narratives of the communist terrorists.”

The event, which was organized by the Philippine Consulate General, was seen by many attendees as an attempt to red-tag organizations that are critical of the Duterte administration.

“Nakakabahala dahil sa punto na umabot sa lebel na ng ang red tagging ay tunay ano at hindi lang nangyayari dito sa pilipinas kundi umabot na dito sa ating komunidad dito sa Chicago,” said Rey Belen from Malaya Movement.

Representing the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Conference for peace and development, the leaders demanded an end to the support of Filipino groups in the U.S., because they claimed that they are front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF. The named organizations are also critical of the Duterte administration.

But Chicago activists said that their claims were unfounded.

While leaders said they are breaking their silence, others thought it was a propaganda move that was reminiscent of Marcos-era tactics, adding that the narratives of the leaders were incomplete.

“Parang hindi masyadong nabigyan ng atensyon yung human rights violations, yung militarization, yung killings,” said Ligaya Lindio Mcgovern, PhD.

Leaders said it is the NPA, not the military, that continue to attack their communities.

But their claims were contradictory to stories of other Lumad leaders who had visited the U.S. before, and raised awareness about alleged attacks by the Philippine military.

“They have their narrative saying that the government is persecuting and attacking schools and communities. It is our responsibility and obligations as leaders in Mindanao of our communities to clarify that issues,” said Bawan Jake Lanes.

Lanes said they have submitted a report to the United Nations about their allegations against the NPA.

The leaders will continue their tour and head to L.A., San Francisco and Washington D.C.

 

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  • Tiago Del Mundo
    12 July 2019 at 2:06 am - Reply

    It is no surprise that Filipinos from Chicago are being skeptical about the Lumad tribes claiming atrocities against the CPP-NPA. Yes, there are some tentacles of CPP-NPA circulating around the U.S. spreading overrated and exaggerated lies against the Philippine government. Yes, that to you is your CPP-NPA. The Lumad tribes are no different than any indigenous tribes in Isabela, Cagayan, Cordillera, etc. who have been victimized, traumatized and abused by the CPP-NPA. Maybe you can asked Governor Dy of Isabela (Claudio, n.d.). how he gained power and office in Isabela, without the CPP-NPA, he would not have any chance of winning an election. When you go to Isabela or Cagayan, your bus will go through unofficial checkpoints manned by NPAs, if you don’t pay dues, they’ll kill you…

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