Center for Lumad studies launched in Manila
MANILA, Philippines – The Mindanao Interfaith Institute on Lumad Studies (MIILS) was launched on Monday, November 9, in Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman while #Manilakbayan begins a new set of activities with #KampuhansaLiwasan.
Professors, representatives of concerned groups, and members of the Lumad people were present during the launching of MIILS, the new research and media center as well as its website, "Lumad Portal."
Launching the MIILS was a step in the right direction for indigenous peoples' studies. Sr Maria Famita Somogod, MSM, project manager of Healing the Hurt, said, "We saw the need for validated data in designing campaign strategies for our human rights advocacy."
Research and reports the insitution would produce would go a long way in understanding the Lumad issues, especially as they face challenges caused by land grabbing and increasing militarization in the area. "We want what we hear to be supported with concrete data," explained Somogod.
The shared hope of both the protests and the MIILS researchers and partners is that their contributions translate into meaningful progress for the Lumad and other Philippine indigenous groups.
Fight for justice continues
Braving the rain, the group held a demonstration in front of the People Power Monument before marching to Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP), and, afterwards, the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo.
The Lumad then began beating their palms against the gates of Camp Aguinaldo while calling for justice. Higaonon Chieftain Jomorito Goaynon said of the AFP: "They are criminals for killing our leaders and our people in Mindanao, and no matter how they try to wash their hands off the blood of the people they killed, they cannot hide anymore behind the lies of 'peace and development' (Oplan Bayanihan)."
However, the AFP has denied involvement in the attacks, claiming forces outside the military were the ones responsible. The group involved in the attacks, they said, were not part of the CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA), which are forces under AFP supervision. (READ: TIMELINE: Attacks on the Lumad of Mindanao)
Many expressed their public support for the cause, including singer Aiza Seguerra and Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, who both visited the camp where the protesters were staying.
The indigenous peoples of Mindanao and their supporters arrived in Manila on October 25, nearly a week after their long journey from their communities.
The caravan participants, who are called Manilakbayanis, travelled from Surigao City to Eastern Visayas, before crossing over to Luzon island, highlighting their call to stop human rights violations in various Lumad communities. – Rappler.com