“If they are able to do surveillance inside campus, we can only imagine the magnitude of repression the Lumád experiences in Mindanao.”
MANILA – Days before the arrival in Metro Manila of the protest caravan of the Lumád and other Mindanaoans, state security forces are already breathing down their necks.
At the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus in Quezon City, the Stop the Lumád Killings Network denounced the presence and surveillance by military and police agents inside the campus, amid the preparations for the hosting of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao 2015.
On Oct. 21, the publication, Philippine Collegian reported that the UP Diliman Police (UPDP) and Special Services Brigade (SSB) intercepted six military agents in front of Vinzons Hall, at 4 p.m. The state agents were on board two motorcycles, a Toyota Innova, and another vehicle, as reported by three members of a workers’ group who were there for a meeting in preparation for “Kampuhan sa Diliman,” or the People’s Camp to be set up by the Manilakbayan when they arrive in UP on Oct. 26.
“The military has no right to be here, especially now that we are preparing to host the Lumád who are being militarized in the countryside,” said Bryle Leaño, a convener of Stop Lumad Killings Network.
The group cited the Soto-Enrile Accord, the agreement between UP and the Department of National Defense, which prohibits the presence of military and police inside campuses.
“Apparently, we are still under Martial Law. If they are able to do surveillance inside campus, we can only imagine the magnitude of repression the Lumad experiences in Mindanao,” said Menchani Tilendo, chairperson of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP.
The Manilakbayan ng Mindanao is a 700-strong protest caravan, of mostly Lumád evacuees and victims of militarization in the different Mindanao regions. Started in 2012, the groups attribute the attacks on communities to President Aquino’s counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan, which largely targets civilian organizations critical to government.
“The Aquino government is mistaken if it thinks it can quell the youth and the Lumad’s solidarity. We are prepared to fight for our rights and with the Lumád,” Tilendo said.