Speaking for the bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Jose Cabantan on Monday, March 22, criticized the government move to ban the use of the term “lumad” when referring to indigenous peoples in Mindanao.
This is after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) issued a resolution banning the use of the term ‘lumad’ due to its alleged links to CPP-NPA-NDF and urging the use of their ethnic group names instead.
“The state’s red scare campaign is now targeting even words,” Cabantan said in a statement.
The archbishop noted that associating the word Lumad directly with the CPP-NPA-NDF and banning it from popular use is “a total disservice to the history of the struggles of the indigenous peoples.”
NCIP claimed that the “emergency and continued use of Lumad is marred by its association” with the rebels “whose ideologies are not consistent with the cultures, practices and beliefs” of the IPs.
Cabantan noted how the term ‘lumad’, a Cebuano word that means indigenous or native, began to refer to the IPs during the series of meetings between church groups and IP communities since the mid-1970s.
The archbishop urged the NCIP to reconsider its resolution and not to be derailed in its mandate to serve the IPs of this country “by engaging in actions that are only counter-productive and can only lead to fragmentations among our ranks.”
“The NCIP should concentrate in fulfilling their tasks to support the struggles of the IPs for a better life, lived in justice and peace, free from coercion, harassment and victimization from various forces,” the statement said.
National Task for to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy has been criticized also recently after she falsely claimed that the word ‘lumad’ was made up by the communist rebels. – Rappler.com