“The anawim will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.”—Psalm 9:18
The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Region is honored to support this year’s caravan of national minorities—dubbed as ‘Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya para sa Sariling Pagpapasya at Makatarungang Kapayapaan’—converging once more in the National Capital Region to bring the narratives of the peoples pushed to our society’s margins.
We declare our continuing Christian solidarity for the Lumad and Moro Lakbayanis. We carry on our support to the Tigwahanon Lumad families who fled their lands and currently living hardly in their evacuation camps in Bukidnon, as we also extend our unanimity with the thousands of our Maranao brethren displaced by military offensives in Butig, Lanao del Sur.
We believe that the government’s position against US control of Philippine affairs will, if substantiated with legislative action, significantly change the landscape of land rights in our region. We also laud the administration’s pronouncements to have state forces take accountability for their actions and even that of paramilitary groups.
However, we continue to call to task those who had been involved in the previous administrations’ slaughter of indigenous movements. Where we work, the indigenous communities still feel the ominous presence of the paramilitary groups, hindering them from enjoying their rights in their own lands.
The Lakbayan 2016 is an important milestone in the history of the national minorities’ struggle as for the first time, we will see a nationwide alliance of these marginalized groups explicitly asserting their right to self-determination and national liberation. This alliance shall be a reminder that despite the government’s changes in administration, persons in position, and perhaps systems, the peoples who have long been fighting for the recognition and respect of their rights will not wait for change to simply happen. The peoples continue to move for this change.
And we, together with them in this journey, will continuously rebuke and work against the evil structures that promote discrimination, human rights violations and death for the national minorities.
Advocacy Officer, RMP-NMR
T: +63 (63) 303 1595