STATEMENT| Salupongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Talaingod, Davao del Norte

WE THE  members of Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon celebrates our 20th founding anniversary with highest prestige for the undying commitment of all our Manobo kin who has lived in defense of our environment, culture and rights for 20 years. We also salute all who have taken part in lengthening and strengthening our organization for the past two decades.

In 1990’s, big logging concessionaire Alcantara and Sons claimed thousands of hectares of our ancestral land in Talaingod  and Bukidnon under the Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA). They used their own private army and the military in an attempt to clear the land. Many were killed in this attempted ethnocide. But we Manobos, in response, fought back. On November 30, 1994, we formed the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon, an organization borne of the unity of lumad communities in Talaingod to protect our ancestral domain from the logging encroachment.
Led by Datu Guibang Apoga,we  fought the company guards and military with our  traditional weapons (spears and arrows) in exercise of a pangayaw, the lumad traditional warfare. Their historic struggle was successful and Alsons was forced to leave the area, thus preserving to date the flora and fauna of the Pantaron Range.

For 20 Years, we have proven our unity, we were able to establish services for our members. With the help of the support group, we were able to deliver basic social services which have been deprived of us by the existing government. We have established our farms, delivered medical services and established a school named after our organization.

To date, thousands of members, children, women and men has benefited from our own efforts of self reliance.

We were indeed victorious. Victorious in remaining steadfastly true to the ideals and principles which were rooted in our desire not to be exploited again by big companies and landlords.

But for 20 years our right to life, self determination, and human dignity has also been challenged.

Sadly, militarization has become a vicious cycle, a way of life for the lumads, especially for a people as defiant and as unbreakable like us  Manobos who have been bravely defending our  ancestral lands from the threats ethnocide.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines was relentless in their terror activities.  The military continues to use their bombs and bullets to inflict fear among our people, to divide us by sowing intrigues and smear black propaganda against us.

This year, our unity was tested once again when we of more than a thousand fellow tribespeople evacuated to Davao City and staged   protest against intensified militarization of  our communities. The military has been harassing our people including several women and children in our community. They targeted us as if we are like animals when they indiscriminately showered their bombs in our community which cause damage to our farms and sacred places. They encamped all over our communities and houses, including our schools. They have been branding us of various malicious accusations such as being members of the New Peoples’ Army only to justify that we are legitimate targets.

The militarization of our communities and the attacks on our services specially our schools  bring us closer to the spectre of  Talaingod-Manobos being driven from their communities, fragmented and hopeless, more hungry than ever and Talaingod being opened to large-scale mining, the Pantaron being ravaged and the Alcantaras back in power.

Amidst all the challenges we have proven over two decades that we can only rely on our own strength, to our unity as organization and as people.  There is no reason now to stop our fight in seeking our rights and continuing the defense of ancestral domain.

In the commemoration of our 20th Founding anniversary we declare the renewal of our commitment to steadfastly defend our culture, our people and our ancestral domain.

We call for the immediate pull out of all military troops in our land for we will never surrender the remarkable 20 years of unity, 20 years of challenges and victory to the oppressor and selfish compradors who eye to continually plunder our people and our environment.

Long live the Indigenous People’s stuggle.

Long live Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon.

 

Datu Doloman Dausay
Spokesperson
Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon
(0910-404-6375)

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