On Sunday, 23 February 2020 with the facilitation of the Hamburg Foundation I did a lecture on the situation of the lumads, the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, sponsored by the Anti-War House in Sieverhausen, Lehrte, Germany.
The Lumads and the Moro people are the original inhabitants in Mindanao. We are only settlers in the land. In fact our forefathers were coming from Luzon and Visayas. The Lumads occupy the non-moro territories of Mindanao. During the direct rule of the Americans at the turn of the 19th century, they resisted assimilation and servitude by moving deeper into the nooks and crevices of the hinterlands. Forcibly conscripted into farm work in American plantations and households, a stark degree of inferiority was ingrained among them.
The lumads are under attack by the government forces – the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the the paramilitary. Using the classic divide-and-rule approach, the AFP has organized, armed, and trained indigenous paramilitaries to fight against their kin. Branding them as rebels and their places as infested by insurgents to justify the attacks is the usual pattern. But the truth is, they have to be driven away from their ancestral lands to pave the way for the foreign mining corporations and big plantations.
Those who resisted the attacks and insisted on their human rights are killed, charged in court with trumped-up cases including the support groups of lawyers, church people and other human rights defenders. More than 40,000 lumads have evacuated due to these attacks.
How and what can Germans and Europeans help? First, they should check if they are really helping or they’re just up to dispensing the money from sponsors because their governments, churches and other institutions have been ‘helping’ the people in the third countries but the longer they helped the poorer the people in the Philippines and other por countries have become. Second, they must have to check if their money which they course through the government and the GRINGO’s – Government Run and Inspired NGO’s because most likely they’re into corruptions. It is always better that they course it through the institutions that are are closely monitored by the government and even branded as communist or its front and leftist-terrorist for truly serving the people. Lastly, they may concretely express their symphaty through joining the ENJPP – Europe Network for Justice and Peace in the Philippines which I am voluntarily serving as the Interim Coordinator.