- Kim’s Dream
- Orlando R. Ravanera
We the 18,581 cooperatives nation-wide with some eleven million five hundred thousand members have come together with a firm collective intent to vehemently condemn to the highest degree the non-stop killings of the Indigenous Peoples in Bukidnon that has reached some 44 killings since 2015. As the Indigenous Peoples are now collectively binding themselves together to harness their collective potential through cooperativism, the poor and oppressed Indigenous Peoples are our kindred and we strongly express our oneness with them. Our Indigenous Peoples should not be treated as disposable wastes. They are human beings created in the image and likeness of “MAGBABAYA”. HINDI PO SILA BASURA.
It is so shocking to know how oppressed the Indigenous Peoples are. Their Ancestral Domain has been illegally grabbed and transformed into plantations or ranches in gross violation of their rights as embodied in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA LAW). When they would countervail against these aggressions to protect their rights, they are being erased from the face of the earth.
There can be no greater pain there is than sons and daughters killed in the presence of the parents as what happened in 2016 when a powerful rancher enclosed some 5,000 hectares of the tribal lands in San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon. When the tribe of Bae Merlita Mayantao protested, bullet rained upon them at dawn while they were taking coffee and then and there, three were killed including a son of Bae Mayantao and three more were wounded and until now the bullets are still in their bodies. After all these years, the killers are still scot free who are known members of the rancher’s powerful Security Group. What is even more painful is the narration of Bae Jovelyn Lagpao: “In 2016, my nephew and niece who was pregnant were murdered including the unborn baby. The oppression against us continue as our lands have been sold without our knowledge.”
For fighting for their rights, Datu Fred Sinahon painfully shared this information: “Goerd Amilian, hacked to death; Anastacio Susina, shot to death; Alfonso Sinahon, mauled to death then cut into pieces. Pinatay na, kinatay pa. After such killings, all their Abaca, Falcata, Lauan – were all stolen including their lands.
The oppression is not just limited to taking away the IPs’ land; it also included their water rights as in the case of Datu Ben Anoos. The land is so rich in water resources and was in fact transformed by an LGU into a water system to supply the water needs of the Municipality. But not a single peso has been given to the family of Datu Ben Anoos. This happened in 2006 and since then Datu Ben has been seeking for justice but until now the law in this country seems to favor the rich and powerful.
What is very painful is what happened to Bae Lea of San Fernando, Talakag. Bae Lea was an amazing lady datu who was so courageous to fight for the water rights of her tribe. For standing for that right, she was killed last year.
How are they losing their Ancestral Domain? As narrated by Bae Saluday Endrita Pocol, the head claimant of the Unified Ancestral Domain in Talakag, “agencies of government, i.e., DAR DENR, are now and then entering our domain and are issuing titles in cohorts with local officials without any respect to IPRA LAW in utter disregard to our rights and dignity. We are always under threats and our fences have been destroyed. We cannot anymore bear the pains and abuses and in fact many have already been killed.” Those six killed that she remembered were named.
In Don Carlos, Bukidnon, eleven IPs who courageously fought against the entry of TNCs to convert their lands into plantations have been killed. When one is killed, he is put to rest and peace with Magbabaya. But what is so painful is to see thousands of IP families now living under the tents beside the highway in Quezon, Bukidnon.
For three years now, thousands of families are living there devoid of livelihood, eating “kamote”once a day or more often, not eating at all, drinking from the river, the children are sickly and malnourished, sleeping under the excruciating heat of the sun and devastated by the outpourings of rains, especially the children whose feet have to be tied-up as they might run to highways and be hit by the running cars. The Ancestral Domain covering more than one thousand hectares of the Manobo Pulangiyon Indigenous cultural community of Barangay San Jose and Bulong, Quezon, Bukidnon is now the subject of legal war between the IPs and powerful corporation with support from powers-that-be. Imagine, thousands of IPs families are treated as disposable wastes! Are we living in a civilized world? Will anyone stand for them? The IPs are human beings. HINDI PO SILA BASURA!
It is so painful that the IPs were once the masters of the land that they were using in the spirit of service and sharing. But the colonizers came, privatized the land and convert these into massive plantations to satisfy their consumerist lifestyle. When the colonializers left, a new breed of neo-colonialists loomed. Yes, while our lands have been converted to massive plantations planted with high value crops, we cannot even have enough basic staples, i.e. rice and milk, for the Filipinos. This is the reason why 85% of our children are malnourished, according to the data of the Food and Nutrition Institute. Yes, we have lost our food security and so is our ecological integrity.
Our Indigenous Peoples have been living in their ancestral domain SUSTAINABLY for thousands of years. Now, they have lost their lands and many have been killed for protecting their rights and no one has been arrested for committing such heinous crimes.
We firmly believe that in this country no one is above the law; that all must bow down to the spirit of the law because the Philippines follows the rule of law and that justice must flow like a never ending stream. But it seems that with regards to the non-stop killings of the Lumads and no one has been arrested, it is appearing that the law is bowing down to the rule of powerful people.
With one strong voice, we will never stop advocating for the following:
- JUSTICE TO THE LUMAD-IP KILLINGS
- THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IPRA Law to STOP VIOLATIONS OF THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ON THEIR ANCESTRAL DOMAIN, THE RIGHTS TO THEIR NATURAL RESOURCES ESPECIALLY ON THEIR WATER RIGHT;
- THE URGENT CREATION OF THE INDIGENOUS POLITICAL STRUCTURE NATION-WIDE TO ADVANCE THE WHOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES.
We will never stop advocating to unfetter our Indigenous Peoples from so much social injustice based on our firm belief that as stated in Chapter 15, Art. 12 of the 1987 Constitution, “to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of equity, social justice and economic development.” That is what cooperativism is all about that we as one FORCE must now advance without fear or favor! (SIGNED BY ALL COOPERATIVES NATION-WIDE)