Friday, 14 October 2016

"More than just a showcase of colours and folk music"

"More than just a showcase of Interindigenous colours and folk music"

Notes after Manilakbayan

At first, this person is ought to say that the event started last October 13 2016 as more than just a showcase of inter-Indigenous colours and its music, but rather a reaffirmation of struggles these folks asserted in this continuing past.

For as these folks, mainly those of Moros, Lumads, Cordillerans, Aetas, and other indigenous and underrepresented peoples, had marched all from their respective communities all over the archipelago to be in one with the city-dwellers of Manila, all in a common struggle for social justice and of self-determination.

Quite nice though to see these folks, especially in showcasing their colorful garb as well as its indigenous tunes being played as they march towards Manila, while others, especially those who care nothing, be like irritated with all the militant chants and tunes thinking that their struggles be "same old as it was" (in an age where 'moving on' is necessary) if not simply because they are "leftist" (is asserting social justice and equal treatment be deemed "leftist"?) or even chose not to "move on and enjoy the modernity the system has provided to them", but these indigenous folks aren't just converging in Manila all for chrissakes, for these minorities, besides showing their colours and played their tunes, are also explaining their inconvenient situations to a larger audience, such as being exploited, discriminated, repressed by the same order the rest of the country has also expressed same statements.
And hence, making with the other sectors of the society "united" on many issues especially those of social justice.

Exchanging torches
and expressing serious concerns

From the day Chancellor Mike Tan of UP Diliman exchanging torches with a Lumad Chieftain at University Avenue, to those of a common student fraternising with those of an Indigenous folk, the "Lakbayan" and its "Kampuhan" at UP Diliman features a series of good interactions between the city-dweller and of the tribesman, what more of understanding more than just their culture, but also what goes behind their smiles such as their sufferings.

And in speaking of suffering, to think that from the day "Lakbayan 2016" was started in their respective communities north and south, these indigenous folks chose to march towards the capital and assert their same old calls knowing that they are still facing same old problems and bullshit especially when their communities as well as themselves be targeted by paramilitary groups and interest-seeking entities be like mining companies or logging concessionaires; if not having their cherished identities (as in their culture, their dress and music) be exploited all in the name of "development" and "progress" (as shown from a picture about a play regarding Corillerans).

Quite concerning isn't it? Even those from the government like Secretary Taguiwalo expressed not just support for Lakbayan but also the immediate aid for Lumads and other indigenous folks as according to its press release:

“We want to help the Lumad, but they will be the ones to tell us exactly what kind of assistance they want and need. At the onset, we are well aware that they want their children to receive some kind of formal education apart from the traditional education they receive in their own communities. We have already announced earlier that we are coordinating with the Department of Education (DOH) on building 251 schools for Lumad children in Mindanao,” she said.

So is the Chancellor, who happened to agree with the proposal brought about by the newly-created Interindogenous group "Sandugo", such as a symbolic "people's camp" that serves as a resource for students studying both Philippine and Islamic studies, the way the Chancellor himself saidth that the University is open for the Indigenous folks being a "University for the People" as well as a "National University".

Strengthening unity amidst discrimination and chaos

Again, quite nice to see them despite the dangers these kindred folks have encountered and chose to resist. Obviously they chose not to stop and remain contented in their current state as they continue assert that is just.

That no water cannon nor truncheon can stop their struggle. People may still find their week-long stay in Manila both interesting because of their rooted culture if not a subject of scrutiny for not being contented if not choosing not to let their grievances be via "legal channels" without the need for marching nor interacting with the city-dwellers, or even irritated simply because they are "mountain dwellers" making noise as any other repressed peoples do out of their actually-existing repression.

Sorry to say but cannot deny what these other people said, but their struggle for social justice and self-determination as a folk community is as greater than their whining out of their intentional ignorance simply because the situation about these folks, be the Lumad, Moro, Cordilleran, or Negrito has nothing to do with their pampered lives in the heavily modernised cities, save that their communities, situated within tourist destinations around the archipelago be described beautiful and these folks are meant to "face developmental aggression" as what happened in Boracay and in Cordillera.

But despite all of those shitty statements pointing against these folks and those who sympathise, the sound of both unity and struggle continues the way Gangsas, Kulintang, and Kudyapi played together in an harmonious tune brought about by a desire for self determination, social justice, and national integrity.