DAVAO CITY  – Lumad Manobo evacuees squatted around a projection screen,  some kids clung to a mango tree to get a better vantage point while women held their tots tight as they intently watched the boxing fight.

And when Manny Pacquiao won the welterweight rematch against Timothy Bradley Sunday in Las Vegas, the Manobos cheered as well.

Apparently,  Pacquiao is even popular in the hinterlands like in Talaingod where the evacuees came from. They came to know of his fights several months after it happens as they have neither television sets or electricity to monitor.

“We know of Pacquiao in radio and on television in the far town center if we chance by it while they (owners of shops in town centers) play it in (DVDs) ,” said Datu Dolomonan Dawsay in vernacular.

Dawsay is the head of the Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon (Unite to Defend the Ancestral Land) orgnization.

The Salugpongan is made distinct amongs other lumads of the town of Talaingod as they built it to resist a commercial logging operation in the early 1990s.

Salugpongan has since built its own school,  water facilities and purchased farm machineries with the help of advocates and support groups.

The home of the nearest Sitio who belong to the Manobos of the Salugpungan organization is an hour away by motorcycle from the town center of Talaingod. The farthest can be reached in one or two days walk.

Some children said they were ale to watch in a public viewing of previous Pacquiao fights at the town gym.

“The nearby village of Santo Domingo in San Fernando,  Bukidnon is eight hours away but we only go there to sell our produce, ” said Teody Mansimuy-at, a council member of Salugpungan.

Mansimuy-at congratulated Pacquiao on his victory.

“We are happy for his victory and we congratulate him. It’s the first time many of us saw him fight live,” said Mansimuy-at adding that many Manobos who watched didn’t immediately realize Pacquiao won until his hand was raised by the referee.

“We Lumads hope he can visit us and help us with our as our problem too.  We hope he can champion the struggles of the lumads, ” he said. (davaotoday.com)

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