DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The caravan of 3,000 indigenous people to Manila has ended on Oct. 28 which resulted to a formation of a group called “Sandugo.”
Dubbed as the “Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya (Journey of the National Minority)” is actually the sixth to be organized as this year’s national protest caravan since its inception in 2012 which was then called as “Manilakbayan.”
The indigenous peoples from various regions and Moro tribes joined the caravan in a bid to present their plight before the various government agencies in the country’s seat of power— Manila.
For Sandugo, the situation since then has not improved as indigenous and Moro peoples across the country faced lingering issues, namely: plunder of ancestral domains, displacement of communities due to intensified militarization, crackdown of dissenters and the continued deployment of paramilitary groups in IP and Moro communities.
Sandugo lead convenor Piya Macliing Malayao, an IP activist, viewed these issues as “national oppression” against the national minorities.
“We have consciously and unanimously used the term ‘national minority’ because it reflects the historical and political context of our struggles. It reflects the collective experience of national oppression; the systematic non-recognition of our collective rights to our ancestral lands and territories, as well as our right to self determination,” said Malayao, an Igorot activist who graduated cum laude in the BA Anthropology program of the University of the Philippines Diliman.
Joining this year’s protest caravan are Luzon’s indigenous peoples—Mangyan, Dumagat, Pala-wan, and Ayta—to express their solidarity with other IP and Moro activists.
Malayao said they are calling to end all forms of US’ influence in the country, supporting the earlier pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte to have an independent foreign policy.
On Oct. 19, Sandugo held an anti-US rally at the US Embassy which resulted to a violent dispersal. Dozens were hurt in the after a police van ran over some protesters. (davaotoday.com)