Aquino holds meeting with Lumad in Malacañang

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III met with several Lumad, the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, on Tuesday, November 24, in Malacañang, months after a spate of killings that have pitted the indigenous community against the military.

“Earlier today, the President, along with key members of the Cabinet, met with leaders from the Indigenous Peoples sector,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement on Tuesday.

While Lacierda only mentioned "Indigenous Peoples," a Rappler source privy to the meeting confirmed they are indeed Lumad.

“[Aquino] heard the totality of their concerns and issued directives to come up with concrete action plans to address these, both in immediate and long-term,” Lacierda added.

Malacañang and Cabinet secretaries, however, were mum on the details.

Present were Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Health Secretary Janette Garin, Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras, and Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad.

The meeting came after hundreds of Lumad arrived in Manila to protest the killings.

Several local and international groups have called on the Aquino administration to look into the spate of killings of activists and Lumad in Mindanao. (READ: Timeline: Attacks on the Lumad)

The Philippine military is accused of killing Lumad leaders on suspicion they're guerrillas. The communities are in provinces influenced by the communist New People's Army.  – 

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email