Lumad ritual kicks off Human Rights Day protests

December 10, 2014

Indigenous peoples denounce killings, human rights violations committed against them

By KAMP

Manila—Some 15 Lumad datus (chieftains) led a “panubadtubad” ritual in Plaza Miranda early morning on Monday. The indigenous Lumad people from different communities in Mindanao offered a red chicken and native eggs to their deities, calling for “justice for indigenous peoples victims of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.”

The Lumad people are part of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao, a “protest caravan” of more than 300 people from different parts of Mindanao to Manila to express their issues and situations in the southern island.

The panubadtubad is a ritual done by the Lumad people at the beginning and end of endeavors or travels, according to Datu Jomorito Goaynon, spokesperson of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao.

“We are offering this chicken, red, symbolizing the ill response of the Aquino government to the legitimate demands of the Manilakbayan. We have travelled a far and treacherous road to reach Manila, only to be further violated and insulted by this government and its police and military,” Goaynon said.

Among the Manilakbayan’s demands are to pullout military troops from schools and civilian places including US troops, to stop the recruitment to and formation of paramilitary organizations, and to suspend the operations of large-scale mining in Mindanao. The Manilakbayan started last November 13, and ends December 10, Human Rights Day.

Goaynon said that the Aquino government has failed to give apt attention to the demands of the Manilakbayan.

“It has reduced our angered calls for justice to noise, and our pressing messages as vandalism. Today, Human Rights Day, we are marking in infamy. The Aquino government has paid no respect for our rights, and we expect that the crimes against our people will continue,” Goaynon said.

50 IPs killed in Aquino presidency

According to Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson of indigenous peoples’ alliance Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP), the attitude of Aquino over the Manilakbayan’s demands comes to no surprise.

“It has come to no surprise for us that the Aquino government has ignored the calls of the Manilakbayan, as well as other sectors calling for justice for human rights violations. It has shrugged off extrajudicial killings as “leftist propaganda” and the just protest and anger over the pork barrel scandal as “hooliganism” in the past. Even our Lumad brothers and sisters in Manilakbayan were reduced to “vandals” by this government. It has no respect for its people, and his arrogance knows no bounds,” Malayao claimed.

Up to 50 indigenous peoples killed by military and paramilitary groups have been documented in the Aquino presidency according to KAMP. Of this number, 6 are female and 7 are minors. Most of the killings are of Lumad peoples.

KAMP also cited 26 forced evacuations, 3 enforced disappearances, and 214 military attacks on schools in Mindanao among the human rights record of the Aquino government.

“The Aquino government has no sights set to end the violation of the people’s rights. As the Oplan Bayanihan continues and Aquino’s term progresses, we brace ourselves for an intensified violation of people’s rights as Aquino vies to reach his economic and military goals for his administration,” Malayao said.

The ritual ended in a pagta, a unity pact practiced by the Igorot people. The pagta, Malayao explains, symbolizes the unity of indigenous peoples and human rights advocates for justice and unity in future struggles for indigenous peoples’ rights.####