Death to imperialism, national minorities say

NATIONAL MINORITIES meted the “guilty” verdict and decreed the “death” penalty against United States imperialism for its crimes against the Philippines and its marginalized peoples at a Peoples’ Tribunal at the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila last October 27.

In an open and public trial, indigenous people and Moros presented documented cases of injustices committed by the US government and its so-called local puppets to tribal leaders and elders, who acted as the symbolic tribunal’s jury.

Prosecuting national minority groups said the US government’s crimes included historical accounts of abuses and violence against indigenous people and Moros, such as the massacres at Bud Dajo and Bud Bagsak.

They said the police brutality they suffered in front of the US embassy last October 19 was just the latest in a long list of atrocities they directly and indirectly suffered at the hands of US’ interventionist actions in the country.

The tribunal ruled that the US government, corporations and military and their puppets are the ones who have made life difficult for the national minorities and must be punished accordingly.

The tribunal then conducted a traditional ritual called pamaas where they dabbed fresh chicken’s blood on the palms of those present to seal their verdict.

The event was part of the final day of the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2016 that brought indigenous peoples and Moros from all over the Philippines to Metro Manila to share their stories and struggles for self-determination with the people of the city.

Return to the embassy

The groups proceeded to march to the US Embassy to present  the tribunal’s verdict to the US government.

Near the embassy, however, they were met by hundreds of policemen and were forced to hold their program near Museong Pambata instead.

While no violence occurred this time around, the protesters were infuriated by the large amount of police blocking their way to the embassy, some of whom were fully armored.

“The police must protect the rights of Filipinos, not foreign interests,” Minda Dalinan of Kahugpungan sa Mga Lumad sa Habagatang Mindanao (KALUHAMIN) said.

“They shouldn’t be using their strength against other Filipinos,” Dalinan added.

Struggle to continue

The national minorities said they have no plans on stopping their fight for self-determination despite the conclusion of Lakbayan 2016.

“We will not stop, we will keep fighting.  Not until the plunder of our lands stop ,” Dalinan said.

“The true solution to our struggle against the oppression we receive from imperialists is our right to self-determination. As long as the domination of the US in our country remains, that is not going to happen,” Jerome Succor Aba of Sandugo added.

“Self-determination will not come to us. It is not something we request or wait for. We must struggle to claim it for ourselves,” Aba said. # (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

National minorities vow to continue fight for self determination

THE indigenous and Moro peoples will never be stopped in their struggle for self-determination, national minority groups said as they wind down their Pambansang Lakbayan ng mga Pambansang Minorya 2016 at a rally in Mendiola last October 21.

Two days after the brutal police dispersal in front of the United States Embassy in Manila, thousands of Lakbayan participants said they will go back to their communities and continue their fight for self-determination and other human rights.

“We will not be stopped by state violence and imperialism,” Josephine Pagalan, a Lumad Manobo said.

“We Lumad have developed our communities and founded our schools in the face of the worst kinds of discrimination. This is proof that the national minorities are more than capable of relying on themselves,” Pagalan said.

Pagalan added their our progressive initiatives are directly attacked by a “rotten, fascist social system.”

“But we continue to fight, because our struggle for self-determination is justified, she said.

Why they travelled to Manila

The national minorities addressed the many questions about their struggle and why they travelled to Metro Manila as part of the Lakbayan.

“Our struggle is for our right to self-determination, which is strongly tied to the anti-imperialist struggle of the Filipino masses. It is our right to freely determine our political wellbeing and freely pursue our socioeconomic development at our own pace,” Windel Bulingit, spokesperson for Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance, said.

“It is a struggle we can win only if the Philippine society achieves true progress, when the rule of US imperialism is brought to an end,” Bulingit said.

“All of us who took part in the Lakbayan also call for an independent foreign policy,” added Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson for Sandugo.

“The national minorities have a lot of experience with foreign powers and we can say that they, led by US imperialism, have brought nothing but harm, not just to us, but to all Filipinos,” Malayao said.

“Foreign intervention only brings mass landgrabbing and environmental destruction thanks to destructive mining and energy corporations and plantations. There are also US military bases that destroy our communities and violate our rights – and our own military is, unfortunately, taking a page from them. There have been too many massacres of our brethren by the US military via the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Malayao added.

“The violations against us do not appear enough in the mainstream media,  nor in social media,” Bulingit added. “That is why we are here to bring our issues to the people in the city, to the seat of power.”


The protesters also condemned the excessively violent dispersal of their protests in front of Camp Aguinaldo and the US embassy.

The national minorities held a protest in front of Camp Aguinaldo last October 18, where their peaceful condemnation of the military presence in their communities was met with dispersal with water cannons.

Their protest in front of the US embassy last October 19 was met with worse violence.

As the rally was ending, Col. Marcelino Pedrozo of the Manila Police District arrived and ordered the arrest and dispersal of the rally to save face with the embassy..

The PNP proceeded to violently push the protesters back while a police mobile unit driven by PO3 Franklin Kho ran over rallyists, including Malayao.

They proceeded to violently harrass and pursue protesters, medics, mediamen and bystanders filming the events.

At least 50 were injured while 29 were arrested.

“What the US embassy and their puppets, the PNP, did to us was not right. That is not the work of policemen. That was the work of terrorists. Do they think that our status as national minorities makes such violence ok?” Bulingit said. ”

“The Philippines is for Filipinos. The PNP must serve the Philippines and not foreign powers,” Bulingit added.

Einstein Recedes, secretary-general of Anakbayan, defended the protesters.

“There are those who falsely believe that we have been paid,” he said. “That is nothing but vicious imperialist propaganda spread by the PNP. None of us were paid to protest and hold rallies because our principles do not have a price.” # (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

Pambansang Lakbayan ng mga Pambansang Minorya 2016 ends in defiance

The Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2016 closes at Mendiola in Manila after weeks of marches from as far as Northern Luzon and Southern Mindanao.

Indigenous peoples and Moros asserted their right to self-determination, peace and the pull-out of military troops from their communities. Despite being teargassed, caned and ran over by the police at a picket in front of the U.S. embassy, the minorities in their newly-formed national alliance Sandugo vowed to fight U.S. imperialism and support Pres. Duterte’s independent foreign policy.

Pia Macliing Malayao, lead convenor of Sandugo and one of those injured by the ramming of a police van, spoke on behalf of the 14 million indigenous peoples and national minorities oppressed in the Philippines.

She was later summoned to Malacanang Palace to air their demands. (Contributed video by ILPS)

Read more