Over 700 Lumad (indigenous peoples from the southern Philippine island of Mindanao) traveled thousands of kilometers and set up protest camps in the nation's capital of Manila in October 2015 to demand the removal of troops and paramilitary forces from their communities.
Dubbed the Manilakbayan 2015, the people’s caravan also seeks public support to end the human rights abuses committed by state forces against the Lumad.
The hashtag #StopLumadKillings trended in the Philippines after the gruesome murders of Lumad community school head Emerito Samarca and two indigenous leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo last September 1, 2015.
This was the most high-profile case in what activists claim is a systematic campaign of repression against indigenous peoples in Mindanao, including the targeting of their leaders for assassinations, the closing of indigenous schools, and the military occupation of their homelands.
Lumad organizations explain that they are being targeted at the behest of large-scale mining, plantations, and other companies salivating over the resource-rich Lumad lands.
The armed forces of the Philippines is also accused of arming and training Lumad paramilitaries to fight their own kin. The militarization of indigenous communities has led to massive evacuations of thousands of Lumad across Mindanao.
These brief statements gathered by Southern Tagalog Exposure bear witness to the intense militarization of indigenous communities and plunder of their ancestral lands.
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