Sunday, September 26, 2021

Lumads barricade highway in Davao City to demand attention

TRAFFIC in the northern areas of Davao City came to a standstill, stranding thousands upon thousands of commuters and motorists starting 11 a.m. throughout the whole afternoon of Friday, and causing hundreds to miss their flights.

The reason: more than a thousand indigenous people from the hinterlands of Bukidnon and Compostela Valley provinces formed a barricade in front of the Camp Panacan on Friday, March 18, to demand attention to their calls to stop killing their people and end militarization of their villages, a call that the National Government and the military has been downplaying.

The indigenous peoples who raised placards and posters listing their demands said they felt sorry for the commuters who were stuck in the traffic congestion brought by the staged protest but they added that they needed to cause this much of a disturbance so everyone will finally lend them an ear.

Some 2,000 Lumads from Kapalong and Bukidnon who are taking shelter in the UCCP Haran are now staging a protest in front of the Eastern Military Command's headquarters in Panacan as a way to up their call for attention towards the leaders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to pull out the military forces in their communities. By Christine Joice C. Cudis/SunStar Reporter

Posted by SunStar Davao on Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ellen Manliabas, 53, who said she was arrested without any legal documents by the military forces for one month in Malaybalay, Bukidnon on the grounds of rebellion from the country was among the many lumads who stated their inhumane experience from the hands of some soldiers in their community in Kitaotao, Bukidnon.

"Hapit na mi mag-isa ka tuig dinhi sa syudad apan karon lang mi nagpadangat ug ingon ani sa amoang gibati. Unta ihatag na lang ninyo ning isa ka adlaw kanamo aron mahibal-an ninyo ang among mulo (We’ve been in this city for almost a year now but it is just now that we have brought out as one our grievances. I hope that you would understand where all of this coming from. I hope that you would just give this day to us, so the National Government would finally do something regarding our problem)," Manliabas added.

The Davao City Police and City Administrator Melchor Quitain arrived at the area to negotiate with the protesters.

Quitain pleaded to them to end the protest so that the motorists who were all taken by surprise can now reach their destinations.

The chieftains from the different tribes and Kerlan Fanagel of Karapatan Southern Mindanao finally cleared the southbound road. But the group demanded that they be given this chance to speak their hearts out first.

Around a hundred vehicles were already stranded by 11 a.m., many passengers opting to walk; some even with big luggages.

Traffic piled up until Lanang, Buhangin, and Sasa areas.

It was only after Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who was on his way to Manila at the time, talked to them that they agreed to remove the barricades at 5:00 p.m., six hours after they set it up.
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