As part of the commemoration of the Dumalongdong Mindanaw: Mindanao Datu-Bai Conference, several groups representing different social sectors gathered at Freedom Park yesterday, April 22, to celebrate Earth Day through a protest coalition.
Groups from the Lumads, farmers, students, and environmental activists held a protest condemning the Lumads’ displacement from their ancestral domains due to the entry of large-scale mining corporations.
When asked about the purpose of the protest, Juno Vegas from the League of Filipino Students said, “Mindanao-wide ito na pagtitipon ng mga Lumad kung saan ipapakita nila sa estado kung gaano nila kagustong ipaglaban yung kanilang right of ancestral domains at cultural preservation. Hindi nagpapa-iwang walang laban ang mga Lumad.”
The groups also stated their dismay against the Aquino administration, expressing their disappointment with how the Aquino government, in partnership with the imperialist United States, continues to allow large-scale mining corporations to operate in the ancestral domain of the Lumads.
“It’s a question of whose interest they are [Aquino administration] really serving. Ang nangyayari ngayon, the administration is having connivance with the Imperialist U.S. in detriment mismo sa mga Lumad,” Vegas added.
According to him, the Philippines is better off without the intervention of Imperialist powers because the country’s rich natural and human resources is sufficient enough to support itself.
After the gathering, the coalition marched from Freedom Park to People’s Park as part of their protest.
Dumalongdong, Lumad term for ‘sacred gathering,’ is a four-day celebration gathering Lumads and support-groups from all over Mindanao in support of their struggle to protect their ancestral domains from foreign corporate ventures such as mining and agribusiness plantations. The gathering, which will culminate on April 24, carries the theme “Unite, Act, Fight to Defeat Oplan Bayanihan’s divide-and-rule against Lumads! Resist Imperialist Plunder of Ancestral Domain!”