IT’S logical. If the Philippine President himself threatens to bomb a school of indigenous peoples (IP), where else can we run to?
These self-help schools were built by the bare hands of the Lumad people because there were no schools in their communities. The schools such as Alcadev in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, whose executive director Emerito Samarca was killed with Lumad leaders Juvelio Sinzo and Dionel Campos in 2015, were expressions of Lumad people’s hunger for genuine development while preserving their culture of collectivism and care for environment. It is a way of the Lumad elders to secure the future of their next generations and equip the youth to protect their ancestral lands from corporate plunder and land grabbing.
The Duterte regime is now taking the anti-people road. This road will eventually lead him to accountability unless he makes a turn left, the road to just and lasting peace, through the NDFP-GRP peace talks, and make radical changes in his policies which will address the basic problems of the Filipino people.
Instead, President Duterte bullied us indigenous peoples and Moro who joined the people’s protest during his State of the Nation Address by saying “Umuwi na kayo.” We came all the way from Mindanao to call to stop the all-out war, martial law and the bombing of our communities. Thousands have evacuated due to threat of bombings and human rights violations of military and paramilitary groups.
And we were bullied by no less than the President.
Our situation as national minorities is already worse as it is. The Maranaw people continue to suffer in evacuation centers as the Armed Forces of the Philippines refuses to end the firefight to justify the extension of martial law. The IPs are still facing the wrath of the all-out war through intensified military operations in communities. Political killings against national minorities continue with 21 victims under the Duterte regime.
With President Duterte’s threat to bomb Lumad schools, violence is encouraged against Lumad and Moro.
If the schools were destroyed, so is our future. Essentially, it is to destroy our race.
If so, we are left with no choice but to resist. – Jerome Succor Aba, co-chair, Sandugo Moro Katutubo
Focus on Commonalities
THE question is, how do we fight and ideology — the ideology of terrorism vs. peace and non-violence?
If we go back to both Christianity and Islam, we find commonalities aside from differences. The commonalities should be given more emphasis rather than the differences because it is the latter that breeds prejudice, biases and a source of conflict.
Consider, for example, Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus who is known as Sitti Mariam in Islam. Another is the patriarch Abraham who Muslims call Ibrahim; he married two wives and from these marriages, we have Ismael and Isaac. From Isaac, Jesus came and from Ismael came Prophet Muhammad.
We have to go back to these two holy books to teach the young ones from kindergarten to post-graduate the concept of peace and non-violence.
In the subcommittees that Defense Secretary Lorenzana formed, I propose the inclusion on peace and non-violence as important inputs in the school ccurriculum so that we can combat terrorism. The structures to rebuild Marawi will not be complete if we do not include a committee to deal with ideology, and abstract concept which becomes the basis for terrorism.
This concept of peace and non-violence can be expanded to include interfaith dialogue but more importantly, it is to instill in the minds of the young what peace is.
It is one of the beautiful names of Allah. That is why in both Islam and Christianity after the prayer we say, peace be unto you: first to our right and second to our left . – Nagasura Madale, firstname.lastname@example.org