KAMPUHAN SA DILIMAN 2 Lakbayan ng pambansang Minorya

An indigenous woman holds up a tanglaw (torch) in the Salubong in UP Diliman

Volunteers build makeshift houses and tents from tarps and bamboo for the Kampuhan sa Diliman 2016.

It is important for one to know about one's history and culture to succeed and progress. As the saying goes, "Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan." We must learn from the failures of the past so as not to repeat them, and the victories of our predecessors so we know what to do. That is history. That is past, present, and future. That is the "When."

Workers setting up one of the plenary tents.

Culture is the "Where." We must not confine ourselves to the urban landscapes we live and thrive in. We must also be concerned with our brothers and sisters, with whom we share our homeland and bloodlines.

UP Diliman students and faculty wait for the arrival of Northern Luzon tribes on the first night of Salubong.

For the longest time, capitalist companies have taken advantage of the indigenous, especially in the Philippines. Histories of deforestation, illegal mining, oil drilling, water contamination haunt the natives and threaten to destroy their livelihood.

Nature is not the only victim here, as human beings and human rights are also being neglected. Militarization of their communities, schools, and homes bring fear into the people. Kidnappings, murders, plunder, and rape leave psychological marks in the affected families.

UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan leads the annual Salubong.
Student parties like STAND UP and orgs like Anakbayan join the plight and hold up their standards.

Manilakbayan ng Mindanao brings the communities and tribes from indigenous lands to Manila to seek action against the crimes against their people.

Last year, over 700 Lumads and other Mindanaoans came to Manila to spread awareness about their plight.

The "Salubong", or 'meeting' in which the Lumads and UPD students and faculty 'meet' the Lumads in the middle of University Avenue. It is a symbolic gesture which represents the welcoming of the indigenous people into the community of UP. One part of the Salubong is the passing of the Tanglaw, or the torch, from the UP people to the Mindanao constituents.

Over the course of Manilakbayan, the indigenous people travel all around Manila, spreading awareness and seeking help for their cause. Various organizations help them in lodging and receive donations from people. Donations include food, water, cash donations, blankets and beddings, clothes, and school supplies. The contingents travel to places like Mendiola, and this year even joined the SONA protests at Commonwealth Avenue.

This year, the camp was set up at the field on the right side of University Avenue. Because of the inclement weather, the ground turned muddy and people had to navigate through the camp across makeshift bridges and walkways made from wooden pallets.

One leg of the Manilakbayan is the Kampuhan sa Diliman, where the contingents set up camp at the UP Diliman campus. Last year they stayed for a week, this year, as the Mindanaoans were joined by other tribes from Visayas and Northern Luzon, they stayed for two weeks. People can visit the camp and register for immersion sessions, where they can talk to the IPs and listen to their stories.

Musicians sing Mindanaoan folk songs at the Cultural Night festivities.

Something new for this year's Kampuhan, they also held nightly Cultural nights featuring the art and music of the different tribes.

Students listen to Datu Tungig Mansumuyat

One of the IPs is Datu Tungig Mansumuyat, a Manobo tribe leader. "Ngayon po, hindi pa rin ligtas yung buhay namin roon," he shares. (Up until now, our lives are still not peaceful there.)

"Talagang yung mga teacher namin, yung iba hindi pa makapasok ng paaralan. Yung iba talaga, pinipigilan ng mga militar. Yung iba nakapasok na pero araw-araw may balita, papunta na raw [mga militar] para patayin yung mga teacher." (Even the teachers, they cannot come to school. Some are even barred by the military. On occasions that they do arrive, there are always news of the military coming to kill them."

Such has become the way of life in their communities. Every day becomes a fight for their lives as paramilitary groups like Alamara threaten their livelihoods.

Datu Segundo shares his story.

Things have not been the same since the military came. A lumad teen also shared his family's story and their struggle to make a peaceful living. He recounts when he was a child, he always helped his father at the farm, tending to the carabaos, and assisting with the planting of crops. But then the military came and his mother and father warned him to not go outside and just stay inside the house. He compared back then that him and his father would be out working the field the whole day, but now his father leaves after sunrise, and comes home before sunset, decreasing productivity, and therefore his income.

The military threaten farmers, fishermen, teachers, even children, interrogating them as if they were part of the NPA. They kidnap anyone who puts up a fight. Some never make it back.

A Lumad child plays along the wooden pallets and the muddy field.

Their struggle continues up to this day. The government still does not bring to attention the hardships that these people face on a day-to-day basis. If we are to succeed as a nation, we must not leave anyone behind. We must not put aside the plight of the indigenous because we are all brothers and sisters in this one country.

Created By
Miguel Dela Cruz

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