DAVAO CITY -- Lumad evacuees at UCCP Haran cheered President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front during his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, july 25.
This only signal that they can finally go back to their respective communities.
Some 300 lumad bakwits at the Haran compound, who were not able to join the Manilakbayan staged by the other lumads together with the different progressive groups from Mindanao and Visayas to show support to Duterte, cited that this pronouncement will address the conflict and alleged harassments they experienced in their communities.
They attributed the alleged harassments to the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Manilakbayan was originally and previously launched by the progressive groups and the lumads as a "Kilos-protesta" (protest activity) during the last administration to air their demands and different plights but this time, the same group reiterated that they have done it as a "Kilos-suporta" (support activity) for the current administration.
The remaining lumads watched the live streaming of Duterte’s first Sona installed at the evacuation center.
Lito Sampag of the Manobo tribe from Kapalong, Davao del Norte, who was among the lumad bakwits in UCCP Haran who watched the Sona through TV live streaming, said in an interview on Monday that they are hoping that the soldiers stationed in their communities and the members of the paramilitary group will listen and follow Duterte’s statement.
Sampag also said that they were happy that Duterte mentioned their right to ancestral claims during his first Sona.
Pasaka Confederation of Lumads Secretary General Jong Monzon said in a separate interview that more than 20 lumad bakwits from the UCCP Haran joined the Manilakbayan.
The "kilos-suporta" staged by the different progressive groups and the lumads will run for nine days from the time they left for the Manilakbayan, according to Monzon.