Theme: “Strengthen Our Communities, Support Pangalasag’s Right to Land and Life!”
Date: 7-9 December 2017
Site: Cagayan de Oro City and Bagocboc, Opol, Misamis Oriental
Host Community: Pangalasag
Organizers: Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, ‘Higala sa Lumad’ Network
Lumad (“born of the earth”) is the Bisaya term for “native” or “indigenous”. The same term has been claimed by the Indigenous Peoples’ rights advocates and Indigenous Peoples themselves since the late 70s to collectively refer to the non-Christian and non- Islamic Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao.
The birth of the collective political consciousness of the Indigenous Peoples as Lumad trail blazed the campaign in defending the Lumad’s rights to their ancestral domain and to self-determination. Since then, the term Lumad has been used as an expression of unity among the diverse ethno linguistic communities in Mindanao, fighting as one in the defense of their rights. Over the years, because of their resistance, Lumad leaders were recorded to have been killed by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other state agents.
Stewards of Mindanao’s remaining lands and forests, the Lumad have experienced a brutal and painful history in defending their lands. They are now survivors of legislations that drove them out of Mindanao where they are now a minority. They suffered violence, guised as the pacification of their ‘wild’ communities, so that the resources in their lands can be usurped, manipulated by political and economic interests of the past colonial rulers. They have been marginalized, their right to self-determination denied, and their indigenous culture subdued.
About the Kahimunan sa Katungod 2017
‘Kahimunan sa Katungod’ is a human rights colloquium that will foster solidarity among Lumad leaders. The colloquium is a venue where Datus, Baes and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations’ leaders share pressing land and human rights issues their respective communities are confronting, collectively analyze their situation, and draft common recommendations and resolutions. The activity encourages communities to synergize community-based resources for important concerns such as sanctuaries for Lumad leaders or community members at-risk.
Educational and parallel events to the colloquium will be held simultaneously for support groups.
Last year’s Kahimunan sa Katungod was hosted by the Manobo-Pulangion Lumad community organized under TINDOGA (Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association) of Brgy. Butong in Quezon, Bukidon. It was attended by around 400 Lumad traditional leaders and human rights defenders, and a wide-array of support groups coming from the academe, churches and various human rights organizations.
Kahimunan sa Katungod 2017 will call attention to the plight of the Higaonon communities of Opol, Misamis Oriental who are resisting the operation of an oil palm plantation. The insistence of the plantation company resulted to massive human rights violations against the communities and its leaders organized under Pangalasag (literally means ‘indigenous shield’).
Kahimunan sa Katungod is a component of the ‘Healing the Hurt’, an interfaith initiative combatting discrimination, human rights violations and impunity against the Lumad of Mindanao supported by the European Union.
About the host organization
Pangalasag has been engaged in a long battle for the Higaonon families’ rights to their ancestral domain in Opol, Misamis Oriental against the energy company ABERDI. Two of their leaders have already been killed, their deaths believed to be related to their resistance.
Of recent, Pangalasag leader Joseph Paborada was forced by members of the 58th Infantry Battalion to surrender as a member of the communist-led New People’s Army. On October 15 this year, military forces went to his house in Bagocboc, Opol, and accused him of being a communist rebel. They threatened to jail him if he does not ‘surrender.’ Joseph Paborada assumed the position after his brother, Gilbert Paborada, who used to lead the organization, was murdered by masked motorcycle riders on October 3, 2012.
Members of Pangalasag are currently undertaking a collective Bungkalan, a process of preparing land for planting, in an area that is still being controlled by ABERDI despite the resolution of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to suspend their operation. The land has been fenced off by the company and is monitored by their guards.
Pangalasag asserts that ABERDI’s operation has been illegal from the start. The area is a Lumad territory, and it cannot be used without the community’s consent. Pangalasag contends that they have not—and are not—giving consent.
· Forum on Lumad situation and their rights
· Traditional leaders’ (datus and baes) rights colloquium
· Dialogues with authorities on issues faced by IP communities, especially that of Pangalasag’s
· Cultural sharing: Lumad songs, traditional chants and dances
· Educational discussions and workshops: On the National Minority Question, On the Philippine Educational System and Attacks on Lumad Schools, On Lumad and the Neo-liberal Offensives, Special Course on Lumad
· Skills workshops: Poetry, Song Writing
· Book launching: The Point of Development (4-volume books on plunder issues confronted by the Lumad, published by the Mindanao Interfaith Institute on Lumad Studies)
· Film showing by the Mindanao Observatory for Human Rights
· Play therapy for children, arts workshop for women
About the organizing groups
Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization is an alliance of indigenous organizations in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions working for their right to ancestral land, self-determination and to practice indigenous culture.
‘Higala sa Lumad’ (Friends of the Lumad) Network is an interfaith support group in defense, and for the promotion, of Lumad rights.
For confirmation of attendance and/or further informations, please contact email@example.com.
Register online in this link.