But there can be no further wondering why government feels threatened by progressive education. State forces insist that they “rescued” Lumad students—they rescued them from further learning how government assists in the corporate plunder of their ancestral lands, from realizing the potential of their collective strength as our young heroes then realized their collective strength.
Datu Benito Bay-ao was one of the Lumad leaders who were taken into custody after that disgraceful raid at the Bakwit School in Cebu City. Just six years ago, Dats Bens (as we call him) spoke with pride and optimism in this documentary about their Lumad school in their village of Dulyan, and across the other upland villages in the Pantaron under the Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon organization. Schooling in the cities made them ashamed of, and forget about, being a Lumad, he said. But with their schools built right in their domain, young Lumad could learn while keeping their tradition alive.
A couple of days after they burned down the houses, they returned to beat up another farmer. They keep returning to destroy the remaining houses, the remaining properties and crush what is left of the farmers’ dignity.
Batid kong hangad mong mapabuti ang mundo. Simula pagkabata, sa tuwing tinatanong ka kung anong gusto mong maging, palaging sagot mo ay ang manghuli ng masasamang tao. At tila dumarami nga sila, sapagkat gabi-gabi na lang, laman ng mga balita ang iba’t ibang kaso ng pagnanakaw, panggagahasa, pagpatay.
At the time of her arrest, Reina Mae was pregnant. She gave birth while imprisoned to an underweight infant, baby River Emmanuelle, who would later be separated from her mother and denied of her mother’s breast milk which could have kept her healthy and prevented her untimely demise according to health experts.
As the year comes to a close, the regime seems to be meeting its quota. While we are still under a pandemic and while provinces are still reeling from the effects of the super typhoons, state forces are focusing its attention on arresting activists.
There’s a higher plane where seeking for accountability can take us to, such as contemplating about socio-political systems which allow such adverse projects to perpetuate, about who really benefits from them. This saves us from the simplistic, ignorant, and cliché narrative of citizen-blaming.
A fellow Mindanaoan writer once said Davao Today (DT) is one of the few online news that he can rely on in terms of giving a bird’s eye view of the whole gamut of what is news in Davao particularly.
She spoke for us despite the risks of associating with people tagged as terrorists. It is time to show her our appreciation by helping her fight for her rights, which are also ours.
As a final step towards fascism, the Implementing Rules and Regulation of the Anti-Terror Law has been released in October. Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, Jr. was quick to red-tag celebrities, duly-elected officers, and critics of the administration.