Happy International Human Rights Day
Greetings Salupongan International Friends and Supporters!
The past several weeks have been filled with a lot of pivotal events from Manilakbayan, Salugpongan Day, the music video release of "Mindanaw" and the solidarity exposure trip of several international peace missioners.
During SI core members', Robin and Rachel's exposure trip to Side 4, Compostela, the community they integrated with had to evacuate, or bakwit, due to the 66th IB of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, setting up a military camp in very close proximity to their Salupongan school. SI is launching an immediate response campaign for the evacuated Lumad in Mindanao, displaced by military harassment and/or encampment of their communities.
Human rights violations, such as the brutal September 1st killings at ALCADEV, and the resulting bakwit continues even despite the success of Manilakbayan, a people’s caravan and mobilization from the rural communities of Mindanao to Manila, seeking immediate action on the killings of Lumad in the name of militarization and plunder by big mining and plantations.
In spite of the continuous attacks on the indigenous people of Mindanao, the Lumad continue to celebrate their rich culture as well as the unity in defense of ancestral land, with the commemoration of the 21st anniversary of Salugpongan Ta' Tanu Igkanugon at UCCP Haran, an evacuation center for nearly 700 indigenous people in Davao City. They're also receiving support by the artist community, namely during the Lumad benefit concert, Pangiyak Ki at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila and with the release of solidarity track "Mindanaw ", where popular Filipino vocalists, emcees and musicians collaborated to record a song that stands up against the plight of the Lumad people.
Stay tuned as we await the report back from Rachel and Robin, from their recent trip to Side 4, Compostela.
Bakwit Relief Campaign
The indigenous Lumad people have been known to fight off loggers and miners of multinational corporations from their ancestral land, which has led to military encampments and numerous incidents of harassment and extra judicial killings of teachers, administrators, chieftains and community leaders. Due to these incidents and for their safety, Lumad communities have experienced a number of evacuations, known as bakwit. The number of indigenous peoples experiencing bakwit is currently upwards of 4,000 individuals in Mindanao alone. According to the educational rights advocates “Save Our Schools” (SOS) Network, 95 indigenous Lumad schools are suffering from various forms of military attack since last September. In conjunction with International Human Rights Day, we are humbly asking the support of our network organizations, institutions and individuals for monetary contributions in order to provide relief and aid for the evacuated Lumad communities in Mindanao.
From now until February 14, a representative from your group may act as a point of contact for SI and help coordinate with your school, center, church, etc. a fundraising event or group donation amount. We also encourage individual giving. Please be sure to raise awareness of the human rights violations and the plight of Lumads by sharing articles, videos and updates to your networks, using the following hashtags: #stoplumadkillings #saveourschools #saluponganinternational
Donations via credit card can be made online at http://www.salupongan.org/donate/. Checks can be made out to “NAFCON” 4681 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94112 c/o NAFCON. Please include “Bakwit Relief” on the memo of your check to allocate your donation properly. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to help with immediate basic needs of displaced Lumads.
The following list contains items the bakwit are in need of. Through the monetary donations SI receives for this campaign, these items will be purchased and distributed to the bakwit in their respective evacuation centers. These items consist of, but are not limited to: food, water, sandals, sleeping mats, diapers, baby formula, first aid kits, medication, toiletries (soap, detergent, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc.), school supplies, clothing.
Videos & Articles
Lumad Exodus: The Continuing Plight of Lumads vs Militarization
Special thanks to all the bakwit responses we've received so far. Top donation honors go to: Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network, Anakbayan Long Beach, Robert Hayden, Terrance Valen, Josephina DeMira and Gabe de la Cruz. Your donations went towards immediate needs of the bakwit community.
School Supply Drive
Our school supply drive was a great success, thanks to our community of supporters like you! Special shout outs to Professor Rod Daus-Magbual's Philippine history class at Skyline College (pictured below), Rosemary Pali, Groovmekanex, Lindsay Stump and Chula Vista Hills Elementary School, Respawn Entertainment, SFSU and Kappi Psi Epsilon. Together, we collected 11 boxes full of books and supplies for our schools.
Music Video premier
“Mindanaw” written by Tunog Bobongan and music written and arranged by veteran Pinoy musician Onie Badiang of Yano and Asin, is a song that talks about the richness of Mindanao and the importance of preserving the land where the Lumad communities are located, because to preserve the land is to preserve not only the lives of the Lumads but our lives as well, as these lands hold the rich mineral and other natural resources that will sustain our livelihood as a people, as a country.