DAVAO CITY – Indigenous peoples’ group Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (Kalumaran) continued its advocacy to defend and uphold the rights of the lumads, particularly the children, who have been long victim of abuses brought about by militarization in tribal areas.
Kalumaran, together with the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network conducted an assembly Saturday which aims to gather IP leaders and media practitioners to have a two-way discussion on the matters of human rights violation, child rights and on how to resolve these unabating issues.
Secretary General Dulphing Ogan said that even the national laws cannot protect the IP children from being harassed, killed and abused.
“We are here to share what really happened, especially the attempts to close our schools, the alternative schools we built for the lumads,” said Ogan.
He said that they will continue to demand for the government to help them in protecting the rights of the indigenous peoples, as well as their access to basic commodities and education.
Ogan said that they will personally visit the concerned agencies to help them with these issues of abuses.
“This December, together with the lumads coming from the different parts of Mindanao, we are planning to travel to Manila to inform the national government about the demands of the IPs,particularly education, health, agriculture and others,” he added.
“We are not expecting that the government will give us 100 percent of their accountabilities, that is why we are doing something of our own, for example, the alternative learning schools,” said Ogan.
Meanwhile, SOS Mindanao Convenor Mae Fe Templa said “IP children are part of the society and that they have their rights as children.”
“We are here to explain that the rights of the IP children are similar to the ones who are living in the city, but IPs in particular have vulnerability,” said Templa.
She said that the country needs to focus on the implementation of laws protecting the children.
“We are always the first when it comes to laws, but implementation wise, we were not able to examine it. That is why we need to monitor if the state has been implementing these laws,” she said.
Templa also reminded the media to be more sensitive in covering stories that involve IPs. She said reporters should be “child-sensitive, gender-fair, and lumad-fair.”(davaotoday. com)