It is investors, military and Duterte making trouble in ancestral lands

Dili ang mga Lumad ang nagmugna ug kagubot,” (It is not the Lumad who are making trouble) Datu Jerome Succor Aba, co-chairperson of Sandugo – Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-determination, said in reaction to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement of personally look for investors to Lumad’s ancestral lands. “It is your government and the corporations that are making trouble,” Aba said.

Following the forced evacuation of 121 Lumad families in 12 communities of Lianga and San Agustin, Surigao del Sur due to the intensifying military operations, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte told the Lumad leaders at a gathering inside the Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters that he will open Lumad lands to investors and that they soon need to evacuate.

“While supposed to be protected by the Philippine Constitution, ancestral lands have long been a source of Malacanan governments’ salivation to sell it to big foreign investors, such as mining and plantations. Only this president had the utmost arrogance to pronounce the sale of our ancestral lands and territories, Aba said.”

“With the US-Duterte regime’s push for federalism through Charter Change, the plunder of the resources from our ancestral lands will further be legitimized. The proposed new constitution will open up our territories to foreign business ownership,” Aba said.

“Taking us, the national minorities away, from our lands is taking away our identity and our existence – thus will lead to our genocide,” Aba said. “Many of our ancestors, indigenous peoples leaders and kin were massacred to silence the people and let mining corporations, logging and plantations in the protected lands. Such is the case of Lake Sebu Massacre,” Aba said. On December 3, 2017, seven T’boli and Dulangan Manobo were massacred by members of the 27th and 33rd Infantry Battalion Philippine Army. The community in Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu took back their land from the corporation David M. Consunji Inc. which occupied their and for coffee plantation.

“In fact, 30 Lumad have been killed under the Duterte regime and at least 30,000 were forcible evacuated due to aerial bombings to pave way for foreign corporations and big local businesses,’ Aba said.

“Pres. Duterte even tried to make an excuse by saying, ‘Ang gobyerno naningkamot…karon gitagaan mo ug ancestral domain. Ang problema wala ninyo gamita.’ (The government worked hard now you were given ancestral domain. The problem is you didn’t use it) “First, it is not the government who spilled blood for the IPs to have their ancestral lands. It is their forefathers’ blood and the blood of the leaders that were sacrificed so that the government, or at least the Philippine Law, to recognize their right to the ancestral lands.  Second, they have cultivated their lands for it to be productive to feed their communities and secure the future of the children by building their own schools, which Pres. Duterte threatened to bomb,” Aba said.

“Yes, we will continue make trouble – by defending our ancestral lands and territories. We will continue to resist the intrusion of foreign investors and projects and oppose US-Duterte’s charter change,” Aba said in response to Pres. Duterte’s statement  of, “Tinuod it is owned in common, pero ug magsige lang mo ug samok, wala gyuy mahitabo. So ako na’y mamili ug investor.” (It’s true that it’s owned in common, but if you continue to make trouble, nothing will happen. So let me be the one to find investors).

“A true government of the people will do all in its power to protect those who are less in life. This US puppet regime is instead protecting the interest and profit of those already wealthy at the expense of the marginalized, such as us – national minorities,” Aba said. “Pres. Duterte is running out of reason to lead the Filipino nation,” Aba concluded.###

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