Manila students welcome Lumads
MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of students from Manila universities gathered on Wednesday, November 4, to express solidarity with the Lumad, indigenous peoples from Mindanao.
Among those who gathered at a welcome assembly hosted at Liwasang Bonifacio were students from University of Santo Tomas (UST), University of the Philippines (UP) Manila, De La Salle University (DLSU), National Teachers College (NTC), Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and San Beda College.
The gathering was organized by Rise for Education, an alliance of different university and high school student councils throughout the nation. It follows as the next in a series of activities of the caravan known as Manilakbayan.
From October 25 to October 31, UP Diliman hosted more than 700 Lumad from Mindanao for a week-long stay on campus during which the indigenous people spread awareness of the issues they face, including human rights violations allegedly committed against them. Liwasang Bonificio marks Manilakbayan’s latest stop along the road to Lumad equality.
The caravan participants, who are called Manilakbayanis, travelled from Surigao City to Eastern Visayas, before crossing over to Luzon island, highlighting their call to stop human rights violations in various Lumad communities. (READ: TIMELINE: Attacks on the Lumad of Mindanao)
The campaign captured the national attention after a paramilitary group, on September 1, murdered a school director and two Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur. According to Katribu secretary general Piya Macliing Malayao, 53 Lumad had been killed extrajudicially under the Aquino administration. (READ: #StopLumadKillings trends: Nasaan ang Pangulo?)
Based on the group's documentation, the killings have intensified in 2015, claiming 13 lives as of September 1.
Lorenzo Benitez is a Rappler intern. He is an incoming Cornell University student.