The Paris terror attacks that wrought havoc and bloodshed in France ignited worldwide rage and mourning. In the Philippines, #PrayForParis is trending, and we see most of our friends changing their Facebook profiles into an Eiffel tower inside a peace sign, or adopting a France flag profile photo filter. While it’s great to show support for our fellow humans living continents away from us, it’s quite alarming not to see the same burning compassion for our indigenous brothers in Mindanao who have been experiencing an equally dehumanizing barrage of violence and oppression.
A form of ethnocide, the Lumad Killings should be a top national concern and priority. The National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) have already filed a mandate to stop the brutal displacement of the indigenous tribes from their ancestral homeland due to unlawful “economic” activities.
A symptom of imperialist mentality, this conspicuous apathy provoked a lot of netizens to condemn those who are showing compassion for Parisians, but are deaf, dumb and blind to the Lumads. Here are the most popular, adamant posts:
If you’re guilty of being indifferent to the plight of the Lumads, don’t worry, it’s not yet too late to care. Here are 8 things you can do to show your support for the original inhabitants of Mindanao.
Be fully informed.
If you are not yet familiar of the issue, read up. Start with this easy-to-read list that explains the key things you need to know about the issue. Deepening your knowledge about the issue is the first step to developing authentic compassion for the Lumads.
Help spread awareness.
Talk about the issue with you friends over lunch or share the stuff you’ve read about the Lumads on your social media. By doing these simple stuff, you’ve already showed your support. Don’t underestimate the power of conversation and social media. Aldub finally showed deliberate support for the Lumads because they were moved with Manilakbayan and the Lumad activists who were appealing to them online, riding on the hashtags about the TV show. Your post, however short and simple it may be, and quick chat with a friend may create ripples of good with long-term effects.
Write—talk about them and don’t stop.
If you have knack for words, pen a piece about the Lumads. One reason why Filipinos are apathetic about the Lumads because of insufficient media coverage. Why don’t you write about it, and think of ways on how to make it more relatable to the people around you? As the Prime Minister of Canada said Justin Trudeau,“we need poets to change the world.”
Visit the Lumads at Baclaran church.
The Lumads together with Manilakbayan were supposed to stay at Liwasang Bonifacio from November 3-17 to have a dialogue withe the president and share their culture to us in the metro. But, they were driven out of the place because they were rallying against APEC and its unfair policies on globalization.
There are many ways to send donations to the Lumads. First, you may bring your donations to the Kampuhan grounds at University of the Philippines (UP), located near the College of Human Kinetics grounds, right beside Vanguard Hall. You may also contact Bryle at 0927.974.3012 for inquiries. They need basic stuff: food, water, medicine, pillows and blankets.
Second, you may pledge a meal for the #StopLumadKillings network. P50 is enough to fund one meal for one Lumad in Manila. You may contact Beata at 0905.112.6421 for details.
Third, you may also send donations to KATRIBU—the largest alliance of indigenous peoples in the Philippines protecting the rights of indigenous peoples to ancestral lands and to self-determination. You may call them at (02) 412.5340, or just drop by to their office at:
Kalipunan ng Mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU)
National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines
Room 304 NCCP Building, 879 EDSA, West Triangle, Quezon City
You can muster arms and start an event or advocacy to show support for the Lumads. Your group can collect donations, educate other people about the issue, or simply start a symposium where activists, leaders and the Lumads can unite and draft policies about the issue.
Please don’t vote for a president that will label schools as “rebel schools” without valid reasons under a dubious counterinsurgency programs, like Oplan Bayanihan. Lumad teachers and leaders died because of this direct violations on indigenous policies. Please don’t vote for a candidate who wouldn’t even find time to meet and address the concerns of an important minority calling him out for help. Read about every candidate’s stand on important issues and choose the candidate who respects the roots of our culture.
Choose wisely. Every vote matters.