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Sitio Sandugo as a cultural center

Sitio Sandugo is what the national minority groups participating in Lakbayan 2017 call their camp at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

On most days and nights, the camp is a bevy of activities that include those who visit them such as students, artists, medical workshops and others.

Watch this slideshow of how Sitio Sandugo becomes a center of cultural activities.

(Photos by Raymund and Pom Villanueva)

Sandugo blames Duterte on death of 19 year old Lumad student

National minority groups camped out at the University of the Philippines in Diliman blamed President Rodrigo Duterte for the death of a Lumad teenager in Davao del Norte Tuesday.

In a press conference on their sixth day in Metro Manila, Sandugo (Movement of Moros and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination) said the killing of LUmad youth Obillo Bay-ao, 19, by a paramilitary trooper is on Duterte’s hand.

“We mark Obillo Bay-ao’s death with rage. It is another testimony to the mounting crimes of the US-Duterte regime against the national minorities,” Datu Jerome Succor Aba, Suara Bangsamoro chairperson and Sandugo co-chairperson said.

Bay-ao died Tuesday evening at the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City eight hours after being shot dead by a certain Ben Salangani of the Armed Forces of the Philippines auxiliary group Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit.

The victim was a grade six pupil of Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center in Sitio Dulyan, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte.

Sandugo said it holds the Duterte regime accountable for the escalation of attacks against the national minorities as part of its all-out war and counterinsurgency policies and martial law declaration.

“The national minorities—the Moro and indigenous peoples—are the hardest hit by Duterte’s martial law and all-out war,” it said during the press conference.

Sandugo said there are at least 29 documented victims of extrajudicial killings among the national minorities from June 2016 to June 2017, excluding those killed in the Marawi siege.

“Our people are being killed, harassed, and almost wiped out by state attacks,” Sandugo said.

The Sandugo second assembly at the camp out Tuesday indicted the Duterte for “the intensifying fascist attacks against the national minorities and the worsening land-grabbing and plunder of resources in ancestral lands and territories, which may now lead to ethnocide.”

“The President—who earlier recognized and promised to correct the hundreds of years of injustice against  the national minorities—now embodies national oppression, which has caused the injustices to and oppression of the national minorities,” the assembly declaration said.

Some 2,500 national minorities from the Cordilleras, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mindoro, Quezon, Rizal, Palawan, Panay and the island of Mindanao are in Metro Manila for the assembly and Lakbayan. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Featured image by Alcadev)

LARAWAN: Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2017


Cebu City
August 22, 2017

UP CSWCD names Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay 2017 Gawad Tandang Sora honoree

The College of Social Work and Community Development of UP Diliman named Manobo leader Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay as its third Gawad Tandang Sora recipient as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations this year.

Bigkay was cited for her leadership in the Indigenous People’s struggles for human rights and dignity. Read more

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)

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)

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Police brutality victim explains why national minorities are marching in Manila

Piya Macliing Malayao, SANDUGO spokesperson ang Katribu secretary general, speaks in a press conference a day after the brutal police dispersal in front of the United States Embassy last October 19.

Malayao, a third generation activist in her family who fights for national minorities’ self determination, was among at least 50 activists brutally dispersed by the Manila Police District of the Philippine National Police.

In the press conference, the victims said they are set to file criminal and administrative charges against police officers led by deputy MPD commander Marcelino Pedrozo. Read more

IPs march to Mendiola to press fight for self-determination

Indigenous peoples who are participating in the Pambansang Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2016 marched to Mendiola, Manila last October 20 to press their fight for self-determination.

The march was also in condemnation of the brutal dispersal of their rally in front of the United States Embassy the previous day.

The indigenous peoples formed a new national alliance called SANDUGO, which opposes US imperialism that they claim violates their collective and individual human rights. Read more

Victims of violent dispersal at US embassy demand justice

PROGRESSIVE organizations demanded justice for the victims of the brutal police dispersal of protesting indigenous peoples in front of the United States Embassy in Manila Wednesday morning (October 19).

In a press conference held last October 20 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, the groups called on President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa to take action and punish Manila Police District officers for their violence against the victims.

According to Makabayan vice chairperson Neri Colmenares, Senior Superintendent Marcelino Pedrozo and PO3 Franklin Kho as well as other MPD personnel are guilty of violating Batas Pambansa (BP) 880 and of attempted murder.

“BP880 is about illegal assembly.  But there is nothing in it that allows the use of brutal methods. Does a group not having a permit make it alright to violently disperse them?” Colmenares asked.

“That kind of behavior is illegal, especially with the way they manhandled medics, minors and (members of the) media. The Manila police are clearly guilty of violating the same law they are trying to use against the rallyists,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares added, “BP880 states that you cannot file a case against a participant of a rally. You can do so against a leader, but not a simple participant like how they tried with this protest.”

“The fact that there was premeditation, superior strength and even treachery in play also means we can also charge them with attempted murder – at the very least,” Colmenares said.

The Makabayan bloc has filed a resolution to investigate the incident and condemning the police force for the violence. Progressive groups also call for accountability and firing of the policemen involved.

Police brutality

The protest was about to conclude when Pedrozo ordered the dispersal of the rally and the arrest of its participants, in violation of the agreement between the police and the ralyists before his arrival.

The police then fired teargas and began clubbing the demonstrators.

A police mobile unit, driven by Kho, ran over rallyists several times.

Police officers then proceeded to violently pursue, harass and arrest demonstrators, medics, media personnel and even bystanders filming the events.

At least 50 were injured, 18 of whom needed hospitalization.  At least 20 were arrested, including five medics, two minors and one media practitioner.

The arrested were released after at least three hours at MPD Precinct 5 along United Nations Avenue.

PNP’s lies

The PNP claimed that the violence was unintended, the protesters did not have a permit and who incited the violence.

PO3 Kho, for his part, said he did not intentionally run over the protesters whom he accused of trying to steal the police vehicle.

Their victims, however, presented video footage from various media outfits which they said showed Kho’s criminal intent to maim or kill as well as of Pedrozo ordering the dispersal and arrests for the MPD to save face with the US embassy.

According to Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes, there was no provocation from their side.

“We were down to our final speaker, but Pedrozo showed up and said that the police had shamed the US embassy, that the rally must be dispersed and that there must be arrests,” Reyes said.

“There were even policemen who hesitated to act because they understood that violence was senseless as the protest was peaceful and ending anyway. They were not provoked. They attacked first under Pedrozo’s orders,” Reyes said.

Reyes said they believe there was no need for a permit to protest.

“President Duterte has been fine with it all this time. Besides, we had been protesting for over an hour by the time they began their assault,” he said.

Colmenares added that the videos showed that the police violence was premeditated.

“In the videos, Pedrozo clearly ordered to disperse the rally, with or without provocation, because they would apparently shame themselves with the US embassy by allowing the rally to go for so long,” he said.

“Is Pedrozo ashamed, then, of President Duterte for condemning the US, telling Obama to go to hell, pursuing a strong foreign independent foreign policy?” Colmenares asked.

Why protest?

Majority of the protesters were indigenous peoples and Moro participants of the ongoing Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya 2016 who travelled to Manila to demand for respect of their right to self-determination over their ancestral domains and culture.

They were joined by progressive organizations led by Bayan as they also called for the immediate pullout of US military forces and corporate interests from their lands, as well as to express support for president Rodrigo Duterte’s call for an independent foreign policy.

“We have experienced the imperialism of the US, the massacres of our people and those who fight for us. This is why we were at the US embassy yesterday,” said Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson for the newly-formed indigenous peoples alliance Sandugo, said.

“We have been dishonored and brought to poverty by the control and meddling of the US in our areas,” Malayao, who was among those run over by Kho, added.

“We already face brutality and violence in our communities. Why must we be confronted with violence in the city as well, when we were only asserting our rights?” she lamented. # (Abril Layad B. Ayroso)

Peoples’ lawyers to file attempted murder charges vs MPD

National Union of People’s Lawyer chairperson Neri Colmenares explains why they intend to file attempted murder charges against Manila Police District officers who violently dispersed protesting indigenous peoples in front of the United States embassy in Manila last October 19.

In a press conference at the University of the Philippines a day after the incident, Colmenares explained there the police actions were unwarranted and with criminal intent. Read more