Aquino’s answer to the demands of Mindanao’s indigenous people: Violent
Manilakbayan ng Mindanao Press Release

29 November 2014 ​

Violent dispersal was the response of the Aquino administration to the
legitimate dissent of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao contingent during a
protest outside Aquino’s house in Times-Street in Quezon City.

“Instead of addressing the demands of the Mindanaoans who traveled afar
to register the human rights situation of hinterland Mindanao to the
president and to the broadest Filipino people, we were met with a
violent dispersal from the police,” said Jomorito Goaynon, spokesperson
of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao.

Goaynon said they were expecting that the president would take actions
on their urgent demands, among which are the pull-out of army battalions
in Mindanao, the cessation of destructive foreign agro-foreign projects,
the stop of military attacks on community schools, the dismissal of
trumped-up charges, and the stop of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao.

“But instead of talking to us, and instead of addressing our legitimate
demands, the Aquino administration answered us with truncheons and
batons,” Goaynon said.

The indigenous people went to the residence of President Aquino III to
claim the answers from their demands through their Kodaw, their
traditional way of communication. Last November 24, the indigenous
people conducted a Kodaw in front of Malacanang to relay their demands
to the Aquino government.

The Manilakbayan ng Mindanao contingent arrived here in Metro Manila
last November 24 after a 14-day journey from Mindanao. Coming from the
different regions of Mindanao, they came here to inform the entire
country about the human rights situation in Mindanao, and to relay their
demands to the Aquino administration.

Violent dispersal

Goaynon said the protesters were leaving after the program when police
officers started pushing the rear of their formation with truncheons and
batons.

The dispersal started when police officers hit one of the contingents
with his baton.

Hanimay Suazo, Karapatan-Southern Mindanao region, said that during the
commotion other protesters were watching while the police pushed them
with truncheons from behind while leaving.

She added that the police officers left the protesters with no choice
but to resort to violence in order to defend themselves from the
violence inflected on them while leaving the premises of Times-Street.

Sannyboy Gonzales, 20-year old farmer from Davao city in Southern
Mindanao region, said he was the first one who took a blow from an
unidentified police officer.

“I was holding the patrol car of the police as we walk towards the
highway from Times-Street. But the police officer got mad at me for
holding the patrol car. He hit me and I used my wrist to deflect the
blow. If I evaded it the old-aged person in front of me will surely take
the hit,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales added he fought back to defend himself because the police
officer kept on attempting to hit him with his baton.

“I was holding a bottled mineral water. I wrapped it with my jacket and
tried hitting the police officer to stop him from attacking me. But, he
was able to hold it and so I ran,” Gonzales said.

Other than Gonzales, seven protesters were injured due to the violent
dispersal and one of them was brought to the hospital after he was hit
in the neck with a baton.

‘Where shall we go?’

“I have learned that the Aquino administration will never listen to the
demands of the indigenous people. We feel belittled and insulted by the
Aquino administration’s response to our demands,” Goaynon said.

He added that for the indigenous people in Mindanao the violent
dispersal taught them a lot.

“It has only confirmed how violent the Aquino government is in favoring
the interest of the large foreign agro-industrial projects such as
mining and plantations,” Goaynon said.

“Where shall we go to defend ourselves from hunger and militarization if
the Aquino administration met us with a violent dispersal?”

For reference: Jomorito Goaynon, ​
Spokesperson, Manilakbayan ng Mindanao

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BS Aquino drowns Mindanaons’ voices with deafening sounds of guns and bombs

KARAPATAN Press Statement

29 November 2014

“More than a week has passed since the Manilakbayan contingent arrived
in Metro Manila yet BS Aquino chose to remain mum on the demands of the
Mindanaoans and has instead, resorted to military attacks in the
communities where the Manilakbayan contingent came from,” said Karapatan
Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

As the Manilakbayan contingent was on its way to Metro Manila, on-going
military operations that included bombings have resulted in the
evacuation of indigenous peoples in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur and in three
villages in Claveria town, Misamis Oriental.

On November 17, Manilakbayan ng Mindanao reported some 300 indigenous
people fled their homes “due to artillery bombardments of their community.”

Earlier, residents of the populated village of Sta. Monica and Sitio
Kiatsan, Brgy. Bunawan Brook decided to leave their homes on November
11, the after soldiers freely and arbitrarily fired their guns for
several days.

Also in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur brothers Philims and Philip Poloyapoy
are still missing since November 1. Their brother Filjohn was found dead
on November 3. The three were arrested by elements of the 75th Infantry
Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) while conducting combat
operations on November 1 at Purok 13,Bagong Silang, Brgy. Bayugan 3,
Rosario, Agusan del Sur.

“BS Aquino is wrong in thinking that he can ignore the cries of the
Mindanaons who are in Metro Manila by harassing the people and bombing
their communities in Mindanao. Ang mamamayan ang maghuhusga. The
Filipino people will ultimately judge him and the crimes of his regime,”
Palabay added.

Today is the fifth day since the Manilakbayan, in a ritual, posted kodaw
with five knots at the Freedom gate at Mendiola. The kodaw is the
Lumad’s way of sending messages. Through it, the Mindanaoans have sent
their demands to BS Aquino. The five knots signify the number of days
the Manilakbayan contingent gave to Aquino to respond to their call for
food and peace, the pull-out of the 55 AFP combat battalions in
Mindanao, and an end to Oplan Bayanihan.

“BS Aquino may ignore the five-days in the kudaw but that only bears out
his irrelevance to the Filipino people,” ended Palabay. ###

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

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