DAVAO CITY – Some 400 indigenous peoples from Southern Mindanao Region came back on Tuesday from the month-long human rights caravan Manilakbayan, but the Lumads were dismayed saying the government did not listen to their pleas.
Jong Monzon, spokesperson of PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations said “the government remained deaf, mute and blind to the displacements of IP communities and killings of our leaders.”
Monzon said even when they approached government’s national offices during the Manilakbayan, “there was no action from the government on our request to pull out military troops from the communities, to disband paramilitary groups to put a stop to the killings of IPs.”
He said that they were “disheartened with the warm welcome of President Benigno Aquino III to the 21 delegates of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) instead of hearing our voices, we were cordoned by the police.”
“President Noynoy Aquino welcomed the representatives of big countries, while we Lumads were kept away from the APEC gathering by thousands of police, how are going to be heard?” he said.
Meanwhile, the group said they remain “thankful because of the support given by various sectors including foreigners who expressed their solidarity to all the displaced lumads in Mindanao”.
Monzon said that the issue of the Lumads in Mindanao is already known globally.
“We were able to let the world know about what is happening in Mindanao,” he said.
During the APEC summit held last week, around 300 global activists from 21 countries also participated in the gathering of the International League of People’s Struggle. The activists also held anti-APEC protests.
Monzon said they will launch more protest actions if the government continue to disregard their calls. (davaotoday.com)