Maguindanao Lumads Decry ‘Invasion’

KIDAPAWAN CITY- Lumads from Maguindanao called on the national government to exercise its "democratic mandate" to protect them from all forms of harassment and defend their ancestral lands now being "invaded" by armed Moro groups.

The Tedurays, Lambangians, and Dulangan Manuvus, all settlers from conflict areas in Maguindanao province, have become 'collateral damage' or victims of the ongoing armed fighting between government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who, according to the lumads, have both used Mount Firiz as their battleground.

The fighting that started August 6 displaced more than 40 thousand villagers from at least five towns in Maguindanao and three towns in North Cotabato.

Many of the evacuees, reports said, were lumads.

The lumads, in a statement issued to media yesterday, said the recent conflict "has done indescribable harm not only upon the warring groups but most especially to the peace-loving non-Islamized indigenous peoples of the Mount Firiz Complex."

The mountain is sacred ground, they said.

"Mount Firiz holds among the lumads a revered history that has been handed down the generations through oral traditions," the group said.

The mountain, they said, was where their god, Lagey Firiz, practiced his tribal spiritual leadership.

This was also the place where Lagey Firiz ascended onto heaven without dying (demniyat in Teduray) from an exact spot known as 'Batew'.

They said the place was where their last chieftain, Gogon Ignacio, was buried.

The lumads or the "non-Islamized indigenous peoples" regularly visit Mount Firiz for pilgrimage and spiritual nourishment, the statement said.

But on July 27, a week before the Army-BIFF fighting took place, the group said that many of the lumads had to leave Mount Firiz after armed men claimed the land where they established their camp.

Since Monday, government forces, backed by aerial support, have been bombarding Mount Firiz and overrun at least three BIFF camps.

Troops from the 6th Infantry Division now control the area, reports said.

"We have become strangers in our own land and we have been victims to countless and recurring conflicts, since then," it said.

For the lumads, land is life. "We cannot be separated from the land because it is what gives us life. It is our source of food and medicine, our home, burial ground, recreation, and our place of worship," they stressed.

To "systematically" remove the lumads from their land, they said, is tantamount to "annihilating" their identity.

The unified statement is signed by nine groups that included Teduray, Lambangian Youth and Student Association; Mamalo Descendants Organization; Organization of Teduray Lambangian Women's Organization, Inc.; Kena Manuwa (Dulangan Manobo Governance); Timuay Justice and Governance; Lumad Development Center, Inc.; and Mindanao Peoples' Peace Movement Katawhang Lumad.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options