Indigenous peoples’ resistance
Members of Katipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan sa Pilipinas (KAMP or National Federation of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines) also participated in the event to share their views about the Arroyo administration’s atrocities against indigenous peoples. According to KAMP’s spokesperson, Himpad Mangumalas of Mindanao’s Higaonon tribe, indigenous peoples confront the issue of mining and construction of dams in different parts of the country, which are bound to displace them from their ancestral lands.
Environmental institutions such as the Center for Environmental Concerns support the indigenous peoples’ campaigns since mining and dam construction can also lead to environmental degradation.
Different artists’ groups also participated in the Truth Festival. Among the artists’ groups present were the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), Neo-Angono Artists’ Collective, and Artists’ Response to the Call for Social Change and Transformation (Artists’ ARREST).
Artist ARREST held a street exhibit of photographic works. Ilang Ilang Quijano’s photo entitled “Legacy of Poison” features a child afflicted with hydrocephalus, which had been caused by poison in the pesticide used in a banana plantation in Digos, Davao del Sur. Boy Bagwis’ “Rich” is a “study of opposites.” It shows a slum area in Tondo, Manila with skyscrapers on its background. “NFA-Mais Rice”, Dada Docot’s print taken last April, tells a story in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental where people have to mix rice and corn to make up for the rice shortage recently experienced in the country. Their works expose the impoverished condition prevailing under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
Huge street paintings, meanwhile, were done by fine arts students of the University of the Philippines along Roxas Boulevard. The paintings portrayed Arroyo as an “evil President” taking commands from “US Imperialism” to exploit and oppress the people.
Anti-Charter Change Campaign Center
Bayan transformed their stall into a campaign center where they gathered signatures of people who are against charter change. They accused the Arroyo administration of “igniting the war in Mindanao to give justification to and hasten the revision of the 1987 Constitution.” Renato Reyes, Bayan’s secretary-general, further said that the people must remain vigilant because while their attention is being diverted to the armed conflict in Mindanao, “the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments will take an important vote regarding the necessity and mode of the charter change.”
The multi-sectoral alliance urged the people to unite to end the corrupt administration under which the condition of poverty is perpetuated and political repression is the state’s response to the people’s call for social change. (Posted by Bulatlat.com)