Under pouring rain, Lumad from Northern Mindanao launched their community radio station at the camp out of national minorities at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Quezon City Monday afternoon.
While waiting to be back home at the end of Lakbayan 2017 on Thursday, Lumad broadcasters held several programs throughout the day to mark their takeover of a Radyo ni Juan network station in Manolo Fortich town, now called Radyo Lumad 1575 AM.
Many of Radyo Lumad volunteers who underwent trainings the past months are participants of the ongoing Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya para sa Sariling Pagpapasya at Makatarungang Kapayapaan (Journey of National Minorities for Self-Determination and Just Peace).
“Radyo Lumad 1575 AM is the expression of the struggles of the Lumad who have been marginalized, discriminated, and oppressed. The radio is the voice of the Lumad in Mindanao that seeks to be heard,” the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR), project implementers, said in a statement.
Radyo Lumad is the country’s second community radio station operated by national minority groups after Radyo Sagada in Mountain Province launched in 2012.
“Through this radio station, the Lumad can impart their culture and foster understanding and dialogue,” RMP-NMR’s Healing the Hurt Project Officer Ailene Villarosa said.
Kalumaran chairperson Datu Jumorito Goaynon for his part said the station will amplify Lumad voices as they defend their ancestral domain from land grabbing and mining activities in Northern Mindanao.
Radio station by the Lumad for the Lumad
Radyo Lumad shall broadcast from Monday to Friday from five in the morning to five in the afternoon, starting with newscasts and commentaries at five to eight o’clock in the from the Radio ni Juan Network.
Regular programs by Lumad communities and organizations, local and regional organizations, and basic sectors in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions shall be complemented by entertainment shows throughout the week.
“Our new station is dedicated to Lumad stories, news reports, alternative music and advocacy songs for the Lumads produced by Mindanao musicians, and the traditional music of the Lumad communities,” RMP-NMR said.
“Aiding the work against the discrimination of the Lumad, live reports of cases of rights violations direct from communities and interviews with victims are also included in its programming. A specific segment will be allotted for interactive discourse on Lumad issues where questions from listeners via text messages or phone calls will be entertained,” the group added.
RMP-NMR said the station shall also target listeners from both urban and rural communities who have long developed socio-political prejudice and religious biases against indigenous peoples because of the usual negative information they get from dominant media groups.
Monday’s launch started with Lumad ceremonies as well as dances and songs, joined in by member of other national minority groups across the country.
While waiting for the Lakbayan participants to be back in Mindanao, Radyo Lumad broadcasts from UP with the assistance of the Radyo ni Juan station in Cagayan de Oro City.
RMP-NMR partnered with the Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization and the Kodao Productions in setting up Radyo Lumad, with funding support from the European Union and the World Association for Christian Communications. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)