It’s past 4:30 am and I just can’t sleep thinking about our Lumad brothers and sisters who are being displaced, killed and raped as we write and speak. I remember the indigenous children and organizer I met way back in 2007 and the stories they shared — the shock, pain, fear and instability that the Philippine military and government have sown in their minds and hearts, but at the same time, the strength and resistance as a community these state harassment, terrorism and militarization have instilled and cultivated in them.
8 years and under a new President, but the same ‘counter-insurgency programs’ are still being implemented by the Philippine government — Oplan Bantay Laya under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s time, Oplan Bayanihan under Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s — all for the sake of profit and subservience to their imperialist masters.
The Dumagats are from the North, while the Lumads are from the South. But they have the same government, only under different names, whose perpetual goal in life is to kill any form of collective resistance by the people — because it could not provide what these communities can for their own, because it cannot accept the fact that the communist rebels have done more for these communities than any of their leaders combined.
Avatar in Real Life
NOTE: This was written originally in Filipino. But English translation is provided below for those who cannot understand Tagalog. Whew. Nosebleed. Hehe.
Dahil magba-bagong taon na naman, naisipan kong mag-ayos ng mga gamit. At nakita ko ang isang notebook kung saan naroon ang ilang mga naisulat ko noong 2007 na hindi ko na naipasok sa blog.
Ilan sa mga ito ay ang mga linyang tumatak sa isip ko mula sa mga naging pag-uusap namin ng isang organisador ng mga katutubo at ng isa sa mga batang Dumagat (katutubo mula sa Quezon) na naging estudyante namin sa Kampo Sining Pambata (KSP)* noong May 2007.
Heto ang ilan sa mga sipi mula sa mga pag-uusap:
“‘Yang mga kapitalista na ‘yan, sana masubukan nila ang kumain nang gabi lang. Tumira sila sa amin para maramdaman nila ang hirap.” – Ka Pio, organisador ng mga katutubong Dumagat
“Mas takot pa nga ang mga tao sa sundalo kesa sa NPA (New People’s Army). Ang mga NPA nga, ‘pag nakikidaan, walang dalang mga baril. Tinuturuan pa nilang magbasa ‘yung mga bata. Samantalang ‘yung mga sundalo, hinahabas pa nila at tinatapak-tapakan pa ang mga tanim naming mga palay. Pati ‘yang mga dayuhang monopolyo kapitalista na ‘yan, magpapatayo sila ng dam pero ang totoo, gusto lang nila minahin lahat ng ginto na makukuha sa lugar namin. Tapos, paaalisin nila kami sa mga tirahan namin. Saan na kami pupulutin?” – Ka Pio
“Ay, ‘pag binaril nila ang kapatid ko, iiyak talaga ako. Barilin na lang din nila ako.” – ang batang Dumagat na si Lerma, nang marinig ang kwento ni Grecil Buya, isang batang pinatay ng sundalo dahil pinagbintangang NPA
“‘Pag pinaalis nila kami, lalaban na talaga kami.” – Ka Pio
Mahigit dalawang taon na ang nakaraan pero patuloy pa rin ang malawakang displacement at ang pangangamkam ng estado at monopolyong kapitalista sa mga lupaing sa simula’t sapul ay inalagaan, kinalakhan, at tinirhan ng mga kanunu-nunuan pa ng mga kapatid na katutubo.
Pero habang tumitindi ang panggigiit at panlalapastangang ito, hindi rin mapipigilan, at sa halip, ay patuloy pang lumalakas ang pag-oorganisa ng mga katutubo [http://katribu.org], kasama ang buong sambayanan, upang labanan ang mga sakim sa yaman at kapangyarihan.
Because it’s new year once again, I decided to clean up. And I found my notebook on which I have written some things in 2007 that I wasn’t able to post on my blog.
Some of these were lines that stuck in my memory from my conversations with an organizer of indigenous peoples and with one of the Dumagat kids (indigenous from the province of Quezon) who became our student in the Summer Art Camp for Kids* in May 2007.
Here are some quotes from the conversations:
“Those capitalists, they should experience eating only during the night (or not really sure if by ‘gabi’, he meant ‘taro’). They should live among us so they would know how hard life is.” – Ka Pio, organizer of the indigenous Dumagat
“The people are more afraid of the military than the NPA. The NPAs, when they pass by, they don’t carry arms. They even teach the children how to read. While the military, they ruin and step on our crops. Even those foreign monopoly capitalists, they said they will build dams, but in reality, they only want to mine all the gold that they can find in our place. Then they will tell us to leave our homes. Where else do we go to?” – Ka Pio
“Ay, if they shoot my sibling to death, I will really cry. They can just shoot me, too.” – the Dumagat kid, Lerma, upon hearing the story of Grecil Buya, a child who was killed by the military and was accused of being an NPA
“If they tell us to leave, we will really fight back.” – Ka Pio
It’s been more than two years but the widescale displacement and grabbing by the state and the monopoly capitalist of the lands, which had been nurtured, inhabited and where even the ancestors of our indigenous brothers and sisters were raised in, still persist.
But while the harassment and total disrespect intensify, the organizing by indigenous peoples cannot be preempted and instead, continues to strengthen [http://katribu.org], one with the whole nation, in fighting against those who thirst for wealth and power.