• Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

Fausto Orasan, known as Datu Sandigan, the Chieftain of the Higaonon Tribe in Cagayan de Oro, was a courageous environmental warrior but had no weapon except his great passion to protect God’s vanishing creation which he considered the highest form of worshipping Magbabaya.

He was never cowed, no fear at all after seven attempts to his life, rained by a barrage of  bullets from high-powered guns but miraculously  escaping death.  I would joked with him that “duna gyud ka anting-anting Datu” and he would reply, “kung si Magbabaya naa kanato, kinsa man ang mobatok kanato.”

On the 8th attempt to his life, he finally met Magbabaya.  Those bullets sprayed at his back while driving a motorcycle 3:30 in the afternoon in Barangay Tuburan six years ago which was done in a traitorous manner may have silenced him but not his cause. Never will these diabolic killers stop a cause that is greater than any life.  As Khalil Gibran said, “Death is stronger than life, but love is stronger than death.”  That love for a fallen comrade will put him to remain in our hearts … forever.

I know for certain that he is now in the loving embrace of God.  Each one of us is a little consciousness, just like a little stream of consciousness that has no other destination but to the Ocean of Consciousness called the Unseen Being, the Unmanifested, the essence of the Essence!.

But for Datu Sandigan who had no fear to give-up his life to protect God’s vanishing creation, that is, in fact, a manifestation that his consciousness was indeed linked to that Ocean of Consciousness, because only that kind of spiritual connection will make one surrender his earthly life.  Yes, everything is inter-connected in the universe, be it a simple flower or a distant star.

For courageously protecting God’s vanishing creation – the forest ecosystem – and for being a threat to the greedy illegal miners, he was murdered and until now, the killers are still scot free.

In San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, the more than 5,000 hectares of the Ancestral Domain of the Higaonon Tribe led by Bae Merlita Mayantao, had been fenced in 2015 by rich and powerful ranchers with well-armed security guards or “goons.”  When the Tribe stood firm to protect their Ancestral Domain right, there was an order to kill them.  As narrated by Bae Mayantao, on july 12,2016, at more or less 5:45 in the morning, her group were drinking coffee when the “goons” of the miners who were armed with different kind of long arms came and without warning, just let loose barrage of bullets that killed on the spot three tribal members, namely: Reymar Mayantao (son of Bae Mayantao), Cenon Nacaytona and  Rogen Sindangan. Three more were wounded, namely: Albert Mayantao, and Lelian  Mayantao (children of Bae Mayantao) and Ely Dalita. For protecting their tribe’s Ancestral Domain right, three were out rightly killed and three more wounded!

Last year, Bae Lea, a lady Datu from San Fernando, Bukidnon was shot to death.  Bae Leah was a known charismatic leader who fought for her tribe’s water right. The message is Res Ipsa Loquitor (the thing speaks for itself!) That is, when you fight for your rights of your natural resources be it forest, minerals, land or water, you will be erased from the face of the earth!.So don’t!

Lately, more Chieftains came to see me to report on the many murders inflicted to their respective tribes in the different municipalities of Bukidnon –i.e., Kalilangan, Maramag and Kibawe – for what? For standing up to their rights which are well pronounced in the IPRA Law. In fact, based on the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples which the Philippines is one of the signatories: “Indigenous Peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with State and other parties, as well as to the effective remedies for infringements of their individual and collective rights. The details on these various killings will be in my next columns

The Indigenous Peoples are not disposable wastes. They are human beings with dignity and whose culture is the embodiment of thousands of years of consciousness which is oneness with all of God’s creation. But for those who are so engrossed in unbridled materialism and consumerism, so blinded by instant pursuit of wealth and power, be loggers, miners and wily corrupt politicians, who are sacrificing the people and environment to the altar of greed, wealth and power, they have no even an iota of consciousness, and it ever, such consciousness is linked not to the sublime but to the mundane and to a rotten system that is now collapsing as it is devoid of spirituality.