NAGA CITY, BICOL – Members of different progressive groups in the region welcome the delegation of human rights caravan Manilakbayan 2015 from Matnog Port in Sorsogon up to the Plaza Quezon here Friday.
During the arrival of the delegation, Bicolanos welcomed the human rights caravan in a Salubongan with streamers and flaglets showing their support to Lumads and Moros from Mindanao.
Around 700 delegates from different provinces in Mindanao joined the human rights caravan in a bid to air out their grievances on violations of human rights allegedly perpetrated by state forces in the country’s capital.
Leaders from Manilakbayan and Bicol groups had a “friendship handshake” as a show of support to both groups who had “experienced the same situation of militarization.”
Moro leader Fred Lumambas of Liga ng Kabataang Moro (League of Moro Youth) said Moro people “are in full support of the calls to stop Lumad killings.”
“We also experienced the same situation specially in Maguindanao where bombings and forced evacuations happen,” Lumambas said.
Lumambas said they joined the Manilakbayan “to bring the issue of the victims of extrajudicial killings of Moros and forced evacuations.”
Dan Balucio of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said “Bicolanos who are against environment plunder suffer from militarization and military attacks.”
“We are one with the Manilakbayan’s call to end militarization in the countryside,” he said.
Balucio told the delegation that from Bicol, they will be joining the human rights caravan to the National Capital Region.
After the Salubongan, the caravan proceeded to the provincial capitol of Albay in Legazpi City for lunch. The group was welcomed with drumbeats and flaglets from the progressive groups in Bicol and followed by a short program.
A symbolic “Kamayang Bayan” or boodle fight was prepared by local progressive groups and leaders.
During the program, Rey Hababag of Karapatan in Sorsogon said “under President Aquino’s counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, we also experienced militarization in Sorsogon.”
Hababag added that “we are just protecting our ancestral land, protecting environment against destructive mining, fighting for basic social services.”
“Why are we being attacked?” he asked.
The human rights caravan then went to Naga City for another welcoming program for the delegation.
Spokesperson of the Manilakbayan 2015 and Sulong Katribu Partylist’s first nominee Jomorito Goaynon said “Lumads together with their support groups conducted the Manilakbayan to express the real issues in Mindanao.”
Goaynon said “up to now, the harassment in lumad communities in Mindanao continues.”
Goaynon added that there are “more than 100 lumads killed and 40,000 forced evacuees,” under President Aquino’s term.
The program started at 7:00 pm and ended with a community dancing at around 9:00 pm Friday.
The human rights caravan will continue to travel to Southern Luzon on Saturday.(davaotoday.com)