LIPATA PORT, Surigao del Norte — Over 700 Mindanaoans are now travelling to Metro Manila to raise human rights issues in Mindanao.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) spokesperson Sheena Duazo said that the Manilakbayan 2015 will be a bigger protest than last year’s.
Duazo said, “due to the intensifying miltarization (in rural areas), the gross human rights violations can no longer be tolerated.”
Duazo said Manilakbayan (Journey to Manila) is considered to be an annual protest action on Mindanao human rights issues.
Last 2012, the Manilakbayan raised the issue on “Land and Life” in line with issue to “stop the killings resulting from mining operations in Mindanao.”
The second Manilakbayan held last year has the theme “Food and Peace”, which was “based on farmers suffering from dry season and the aftermath of the typhoons in Mindanao.”
Duazo said that the administration of President Benigno Aquino, III conducted series of dialogues and investigation, but “failed to address the issue and instead tell false information on the Lumad issues.”
“The Lumad leaders were vilified, tagged as members and supporters of New Peoples Army, and the school they built was also tagged as an NPA school,” Duazo said.
One of the participating groups, Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organization in Mindanao said they aim to “bring the issues of militarization in Lumad communities in Mindanao to the National Capital Region.”
Pasaka spokesperson Jong Monzon said that they “want to show to the entire country and the world that the people of Mindanao have not benefited from the claims of Aquino administration’s peace and development under its counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.”
Monzon said that in this Manilakbayan, people are brave to condemn and show their discontent with the Aquino administration.
He added that “Aquino’s lies will be belied by the accounts of the victims and their families, who are committed to shouting out the atrocities of the military against the Lumads.”
The Manilakbayan 2015 is participated by more or less 400 lumads from different regions in Mindanao including Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Central Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Caraga Region.
Datu Mentroso Malibato, one of the leaders of the Lumads who evacuated in a church compound in Davao City told Davao Today that they joined the Manilakbayan “for our issues will not be heard (by the national government) if we just stay in Davao.”
“We are thankful that this activity was conducted,” said Malibato. He is among the Lumad participants from the evacuees in Davao.
The delegation of Manilakbayan is now on their way to the Visayas after converging in Surigao del Norte earlier today. (davaotoday.com)