Independent lumad peace table formed, launched
bY aDAM b. mORRELL
INDIGENOUS peoples (IP) group launched the Lumad Husay Mindanao (LHM) last Friday, June 22, for their real voices to be heard amid the Government of the Republic of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (GRP-NDFP) peace negotiations that claim to represent them.
As it is in IP territories where the rebels are operating in, it just follows that they have a venue for which to bring out their concerns.
The groups Mindanao IP Peace Forum (MIPPF), Lumad Mindanao Peoples Federation (LMPF) and Katawhang Lumad Council of Mindanao People’s Peace Movement (KLCMPPM) in convergence with the Civil Society Organization (CSO) launched the LHM, as an independent Lumad peace table at the 3rd floor Pakighinabi Hall of Ateneo de Davao University (Addu) Jacinto Campus.
IP’s voice secretariat head and council member of Timuay Justice and Governance Alim Bandara, said the independent organization was formed to deliver the message of IP’s side of its ancestral domain and people being affected by the conflict between the two parties.
“Gitukod namo ang LHM kay maglisud jud mi ug sulod sa peace process. Sa kasinatian pirmi gi-hisgutan sa duha ka party, government and CPP-NPA, ang among agenda. Hisgut silag issue sa territorial sa lumad, kahimtang sa lumad ug sila sila lang, so ang gusto namo kinahanglan mapaabot namo sa duha ka party ang tinuod nga nagakahitabo sa amoang area (We organized LHM because we are having a difficult time being heard in hte peace process. It is always between the government and the CPP-NPA, their agenda. They talk of IP territories and IP situations, but only among themselves. They should listen to us the real IPs so that they know our situations),” Bandara, in an interview, said.
Although there are IPs involved in the panel of the ongoing peace talks, their ultimate dilemma is that each Lumad panel has its own principals in the peace process.
“Naa gihapo’y kasinatian nga para ma excuse sila nga naa namay IP sa panel pero ang amoang gihuna-huna, ang panel naga istorya dili para sa amoa (IP) kay naa man siya’y principal. Ang NDFP bisag naa pa silay Lumad sa peace panel pero ang iyang gina sunod ang iyang principal, pareho pud na sa gobyerno nga Lumad nga peace panel (They have IPs in their panel, but the IPs of the NDFP follow their agenda, the same with government and the IP they are bringing),” he added.
For Timuay Bleyen Leticio Datuwata, chairman of LHM, the group is also a way of creating a genuine representation of IP to present the actual issues and situations from the IP communities.
“Kini siya ang mu-amplify sa among tingong kung unsa’y kasinatian sa komunidad. Naa’y kasinatian nga naa’y instances nga mga IP gipamatay sa NPA dili tungod Lumad sila mahitungod kay ingon nila asset kini sa military ug naa na pu’y instances nga ang mga military mu-ingon nga kamo mga Lumad naga support aning mga rebelde (This will amplify our voices on the real situations in our communities. Like instances where IPs are being killed by the NPA, it is because they are military assets not because they are IPs. There are instances too when it’s the military saying the IPs are supporting the rebels),” Datuwata said.
Meantime, LHM’s “Asoy sa Kalinaw sa mga Lumad” or Lumad’s appeal in the GRP-NDFP Peace Process, an IP’s proposals for inclusion in the negotiated agenda and agreements, appealed that IP’s identity is non-negotiable, their ancestral domain as seedbed of their governance and life ways, their rights are vested to them by birth, their meaningful participation in managing the peace, their inclusion in amnesty and processes, affirming development for all, dealing with the past, and Lumad’s participation in the peace process.
First published in SUNSTARdavao