TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte — Lumads and human rights activists passed by Leyte province in the Visayas as participants of the Manilakbayan 2015 (Journey to Manila) prepares to head for Luzon on Thursday night.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Southern Mindanao, one of the support groups which joined the caravan, described today as “successful despite the delays done by the police and army in southern Leyte.”
The human rights caravan was held twice in a checkpoint earlier today in Liloan, Southern Leyte due to an issue of “non renewed franchise permits” of one of the buses which carried the participants from Surigao.
Duazo said “the driver insisted that the bus lines’ franchise permits were recently renewed before the scheduled travel to Manila.”
She said their group believes “it was a delaying tactic from the government to prevent the caravan from reaching Manila on time.”
Duazo added that despite the delays, the 700 delegates from Mindanao “were warmly welcomed by the support groups in Eastern Visayas.”
Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) survivor’s group, People’s Surge together with the progressive groups under the Bayan and other church groups based in Eastern Visayas welcomed the human rights caravan from Mindanao in a “Salubongan” (meet up).
Marissa Cabaljao, People’s Surge secretary general, said that they gathered in a protest to show their support for the victims of Lumad killings in Mindanao.”
As one of Yolanda survivors, Cabaljao said that what the Lumads are experiencing do not differ from what they had after the typhoon.
“Farmers, members and leaders of our group and other progressive organizations here are also killed,” she said.
Bayan Eastern Visayas spokesperson Rene Miranda said during the protest that there are already 11 victims of extrajudicial killings in the region this year.
In a statement, Manilakbayan delegates said they are remembering the leaders of typhoon survivors who were killed allegedly by state forces.
“The names of Cristina Jose and Felix Basig, leaders of Barug Katawhan, along with Jefferson Custodio and Rodolfo Basada of People’s Surge, will forever be remembered among those who struggled after the storm. They may have survived the wrath of the super typhoons, but the Aquino government’s fascist military forces silenced them as they call for justice and accountability from the same administration,” the groups said.
“Their bodies may have been riddled with bullets, but their voices along with many others will forever be remembered,” they added.
After the Salubongan, the delegation of Manilakbayan marched through the San Juanico Bridge, Thursday afternoon.
The group is now travelling to Samar and will be heading to Luzon by Friday.
They will put up a kampuhan (people’s camp) inside the University of the Philippines Diliman from October 26 to 31 and will move to Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila. The Manilakbayan will end on November 20. (davaotoday.com)