Demonstration on Lumad rights, Manila, Phlippines. Interview with Kerlan Fenagal, Chair of PASAKA, the Confederation of Lumad Organisations in Southern Mindanao.
"Indigenous peoples are 14% of the total Filipino population of 110 million, so 15 million or so indigenous people in the country. The Lumad are a large group, particularly in Mindanao.
We are victims of the continuing, and intensifying, militarisation, specially now, we are under Martial Law in Mindanao. All over the Philippines we are facing the Oplan Kapayapaan, the counter-insurgency programme of the Duterte regime. We are facing attacks on our efforts to establish our Lumad schools, that provide education to the Lumad. Duterte says that the schools are training grounds, recruiting stations, for insurgents. They call us terrorists and communists, that’s how they tag us, but that is a pretext.
The militarisation is to impose other policies, they have interests in our ancestral lands. They intensify attacks on our people and our culture because we defend our ancestral lands against mining, plunder, logging concessions, constructing mega-dams on our big rivers, like bulami river. They want to take our resources, they want to exploit our rainforests, the Pantaron Range. If you see the movie Avatar, that’s how you can imagine the Pantaron Range, it is rain forest. They are already mining there, going from medium scale to large scale, the government sell the mines to foreign companies. The region is rich in gold, copper, nickel and coal. They want our resources, they use the military and paramilitaries to get them...
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