International Interfaith Medical Mission
Greetings from Mindanao!
Daghang salamat, many thanks to our local and global community partners who made our recent August 13-15, 2016 International Interfaith Medical Mission a huge success!
Pangiyak! Shout out to the Filipino American Health Workers Association, United Methodist Church California Pacific Taskforce Philippines, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, Community Based Health Services Association, Mindanao Foundation for Disaster Preparedness and Response, Father Pops Foundation, Davao Medical School Foundation, Balsa Southern Mindanao and to all the students, parents, teachers, faculty, administration, staff and volunteers of our partner host site the Community Technological College of Southeastern Mindanao (CTCSM) in Maco, Compostela Valley. Also, thank you to the Department of Health Region XI for donating medicines for our medical and dental mission.
On this mission, Salupongan International hosted 30 local and global medical mission volunteers (nurses, doctors, dentists, medical students, faith based advocates, social workers, professors and community organizers) from the United States, India, Nepal and the Philippines.
Here is a brief background of the Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao (CTCSM), our partner school site where we served over 400 students and local community members during our medical and dental mission.
EDUCATION FOR ALL.
"CTCSM was established on the ideals of genuine and people-oriented service. Many colleges and academies in the Philippines aspire to train school children and youth to harness their talents and skills mainly to serve the demands of other countries. This strategy has reduced the full potential of the future leaders of our nation and relegate the more complex development of our society to the very few and elite."
"CTCSM is founded on the principles of seeking greater and lasting change in Philippine society, by producing leaders of tomorrow-- innovative and dynamic scholars who can contribute to the development of their immediate communities and the country. The CTCSM believes that the problems of today are mainly rooted in our nation’s colonial history and the continuing social deprivation of majority Filipinos."
Currently CTCSM serves over 500 students from early childhood education, elementary, primary, high school and college level academic programs. The majority of students served come from Lumad (indigenous) and poor peasant farming families throughout Mindanao. An integral part of their curriculum is sustainable agriculture and cultural responsive education.
Daghang salamat, many thanks CTCSM once again for the warm hospitality and deep knowledge shared with all of us. We are looking forward to the next one!
Please support and donate to our Right to Education, Autonomy and Dignity (READ) Program that will directly help support our partners schools, students and teachers such as CTCSM to continue to provide, take action and sustain our united efforts in realizing that education is the right of every child.
Voices: Joyous Prim & Angela Co -
International Interfaith Mission Delegate
"I'm often asked why I'm part of the movement for peace and justice in the Philippines since I'm not Filipino. Our time with CTCSM really showed how all of our basic rights and freedoms are intertwined and everyone should be able to live a life of peace with justice.
My faith as a United Methodist calls me to live my life side by side with the "least" and most oppressed and support their struggles for basic rights and a just peace. The students and their communities have struggled for so long to get basic access and yet the students are full of so much joy, hope & life and a deep yearning to learn all they can and take it back to their tribes and communities. They give me hope that a just peace & bright future for all is not just possible but just on the horizon.
The California Pacific United Methodist Church Taskforce Philippines has been supporting Lumad schools now for 4 years and now when people ask us what the future for the schools looks like we can share that we have seen it first hand. And we look forward to continuing to support the schools for years to come."
"I traveled across the world, to the Philippines, and met up with eight individuals who were more or less "strangers" in order to participate in an international solidarity mission. Our team was joined by a group of locals, volunteers, and health workers. Together we exposed ourselves to the struggles of urban poor communities, integrated with individuals of varying cultures and dialects, immersed ourselves in new environments, mobilized to seek peace for the Lumad, shared our skills and services on a medical mission, and most of all, learned from the stories of each and every single one we encountered.
In 10 days, I saw my fellow Filipinos struggle to protect their lands and maintain a livelihood in poverty-stricken environments. I was uncomfortable, perplexed, and most definitely challenged, but our adventure was an adventure. I am now filled with so much love, joy, gratitude, and knowledge because of everyone I encountered and worked with. Going on a solidarity mission has been the best experience of my life thus far. I look forward to participating in more missions and exposure trips in the future to further strengthen my knowledge and to help the exploited and the oppressed."
Updates from the Ground
More than 3,000 Manobo “Lumad” evacuees or internally displaced persons, who have been staying at the sports complex in Tandag City in Surigao del Sur province, are planning to return to their homes in Lianga town on Sept. 2, 2016.
Their homecoming will happen exactly a year and a day after they were forced to leave their communities when members of the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani killed three Lumad leaders in the village of Diatagon town on Sept. 1, 2015, last year.
But Michelle Campos, daughter of one of those killed, said government soldiers are still in their villages. “We want them out of our villages before we return home,” she said on Sunday.
Campos’ father, Dionel, and Lumad leaders Emerito Samarca, administrator of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev), and Juvello “Bello” Sinzo were shot and killed by Magahat-Bagani militiamen in the upland community of Sitio (subvillage) Han-ayan.
Dionel was the chair of Malahutayong Pakigbisog sa mga Sumusunod (Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation) or Mapasu, an indigenous peoples’ organization opposed to the entry of logging and mining companies in Lianga, but which the military has branded as a communist front.
Then Governor Johnny Pimentel said the Magahat-Bagani was created by the military, an accusation that the Armed Forces of the Philippines had denied.
Almost a year after the killings, no suspect had been arrested, even as the government dangled a 3.6-million Peso bounty for the heads of suspected militia leaders Bobby and Loloy Tejero and Margarito Layno.
Campos, in a telephone interview, said they still want the Magahat-Bagani disbanded, and those behind the killings arrested.
“Soldiers also have to leave our communities. We need to go home,” she said.
On Aug. 24, representatives of the provincial government inspected 11 communities abandoned by the evacuees.
“Our hearts were crushed upon seeing our houses damaged, our once productive farms covered with weeds and our schools rendered unusable,” Mapasu said in a statement.
“We saw 10 houses burned to the ground. There were houses with walls, roofs and floors dismantled and used as firewood. In some houses, belongings were scattered, destroyed and stolen. Most of the houses were damaged, having been left unused because of our forcible evacuation,” the group added.
Six other schools for Lumad children were also damaged.
Mapasu said members of the group that visited the site on Aug. 24 were “enraged upon seeing the large military camps in our communities in Kilometer 9 and Han-ayan.”
Campos said despite military presence, they will go home Friday to reclaim their communities.
We call on our local and global friends and allies to stand in solidarity with our Lumad brothers and sisters of the Tandag Bakwit as they return to their communities and take back their ancestral lands.
Please keep updated on this situation and share these pictures on social media and use the hashtags: #BringTheLumadHome, #TakeBackOurAncestralLands, & #SaveOurSchools. Padayon!
Free Amelia Pond and Dismiss All Trumped Up Charges
Statement of Concern Over the Arrest of Amelia Pond
We condemn the unjust arrest and detention of Amelia “Amy” Pond, 64 years old, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) Southern Mindanao Regional Coordinator. Amelia was also a teacher and research-documentation officer of the Salupongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Centers. She has devoted her life to serving marginalized Lumad and peasant communities in Mindanao, Philippines.
Please click the button to read the full "Statement of Concern" and sign the "Free Amelia Pond!" petition. Thank you.
Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline!
End environmental plunder!
Salupongan International stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and activists on the frontlines of stopping the Dakota Access pipeline. We are outraged about the unjust and unfair conditions of the indigenous people protecting the water and land. For the Lumad, they too believe that “land and water is life”. When big corporations come and strip the land, livelihoods are negatively impacted. We have seen the results of these atrocities firsthand.
To read Salupongan International's full solidarity statement, please click here, salupongan.org/dakota.
Break 4 Tots
Since 2005 Break 4 Tots has produced Hip-hop events as a means to bring communities together, provide a space for the Hip-hop community to give back, and to provide services to youth programs locally and globally. The recent "Break 4 Tots: Back to School Jam" in Oakland, CA was able to raise monetary donations and school supply donations for our Salupongan schools.
Daghang salamat Break 4 Tots and supporters! We really appreciate it!
(Video: TFC Balitang America - Bright Spot, Rommel Conclara)