Today—August 9—a day set aside by the international community as Universal Day for Indigenous Peoples throughout the world—is replete with significance and meaningfulness for the Lumads who have sought refuge at Haran Mission House of the UCCP.
Significant, because they have just emerged triumphant in their historic encounter against the malevolent exercise of violence by a considerable contingent of combined State Security forces — elements from the AFP, PNP and a paramilitary group with a funny monicker, ALAMARA. This combined armed forces were successfully repelled by the armlinked human barricade of the Lumad evacuees (Bakwits), UCCP Pastors, and NGO activists at the gate of the Haran sanctuary last July 23. If anything, the solid unity of the human barricade that defended the Haran Sanctuary proved to be a formidable force against the immense contingent of the Haran “invaders”.
And meaningful, because it lent a semblance of parallelism to Jehovah’s protective intervention of the Haran settlement of Abraham in the bible.
No matter from what angle the deplorable incident is viewed, there’s no escaping the conclusive insight the Lumad Bakwits owned the favors of righteousness —the camp of Good over the forces of Evil as represented by the State security forces.
With more justification and reason that the ill-advised “invasion” deserves a descriptive caption as a devil’s handiwork, once its premise is brought to light. For after all, it proceeded from the malicious whim of woman legislator Nancy Catamco whose arrogance stinks as loudly as her deprecatory language, identifying herself as a diwata and without so much as lending a show of courtesy to the local chief executive, arrogated unto herself the authority to marshall the PNP and the paramilitary Alamara under a hideouspretext of “rescuing” the Lumad Bakwits at Haran.
So much have been rendered and delivered as expressions of denunciation and condemnation from various sectors—local, national and international—coming forthrightly like a “rain of fire” directed at the Nancy Catamco, first of all, and thence at the PNP and its cohorts, the Alamara.
And so, today—August 9—is a moment of celebratory applause—on the part of the Lumads of Mindanao who have been in the rough and tumble terrain of struggle against the inhuman policies of the Aquino Government—militarizing their areas to safeguard the plunder of their ancestral domain, resulting in unbridled violations of their human rights and the despoliation of the environment.
Today marks the synthesization of the over-all advance and victories of the relentless struggles of all Lumad tribes and communities of Mindanao even as they launch on this day unifying organizational activities, symbolic protest actions to bring their cause to greater heights on the arduous trek to liberation from extreme poverty, deprivation and oppression.
These amidst the unconscionable adamance of the Aquino Government to perpetuate its policies of discrimination against the Lumads, ignoring their demands for social justice— nay, even committing worsening attacks against them by intensifying anti-civilian military campaigns in the countryside, most particularly in areas where foreign corporations are engaged in mining operations.
The noxious PDOP (Peace and Development Outreach Program) under the Oplan Bayanihan anti- insurgency drive of the government has been totally unmasked as a blatantly deceitful program of oppression and exploitation . It is really a program to drive away the Lumads from their ancestral lands in order to give way to foreign investment corporations to extract the mineral resources of the Island. It is the main engine of actualizing veritable Martial Law in the countryside, even worse than the situation under the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos.
Noynoy Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” is, after all, the foreigners’ “straight road to the Lumad’s ancestral lands”. But like its predecessor administrations’ deceitful Oplans, it is bound to fail. It will fail because the Lumad’s Oplan Panalipod of their ancestral lands will prevail. Just as they prevail in their defense of Haran.