Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 2, Number 46 December 22 - 28, 2002 Quezon City, Philippines
The Lumads are merely being exploited by the AFP, the government and those who are salivating over the Lumad lands in Southern Mindanao. This has been the pattern – more like the template -- for the policy of dispossession that has victimized the Lumads in Mindanao for decades.
Carlos H. Conde
The government and the ruling class, through their attack dog that is the Armed Forces in the Philippines (AFP), are obviously using a two-pronged strategy in ensuring that their interests not only in Southern Mindanao but in the whole country are pursued and protected. The first strategy involves dividing the Lumads to facilitate the entry of big-business interests into their territories. The second strategy is to discredit those who would oppose this policy of dispossession.
The birth of such groups as the Alamara and the Alsa Lumad is part of the first strategy. The aim is simple: organize these groups ostensibly to counter the presence of the New People’s Army. But these groups – or more precisely, the personalities behind these, such as Joel Unad, the leader of the AFP-sponsored group called the Tribal Supreme Council for Peace and Development -- are actually nothing but rubber stamps the State would use. The State and Big Business, through the machinations of the AFP (it would tell the Lumads that if they are not for the Alamara or the Alsa Masa, then they must be Communists too), would get the “approval” of these groups for projects such as palm-oil plantations in Lumad territories. The State and Big Business would use these groups to wangle such documents as the certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) to usher in these plantations.
In short, the Lumads are merely being exploited by the AFP, the government and those who are salivating over the Lumad lands in Southern Mindanao. This has been the pattern – more like the template -- for the policy of dispossession that has victimized the Lumads in Mindanao for decades. As far as the government is concerned, divide-and-rule is apparently still the best strategy for big companies to gobble up Lumad lands and resources. And the main implementor of this strategy over the years is the armed forces. Our country’s history is replete with cases that illustrate just how brutal and unjust this policy is.
Of course, the AFP would use the NPA as an excuse. It doesn’t have a choice really because that is its mandate, which only proves that the AFP is nothing but the security agency of the elite and Big Business. So each time Col. Eduardo del Rosario of the 73rd IB says that he is merely doing his job, he is telling the truth: he is just a soldier following orders and his mandate. The tragic thing is that, in carrying out these orders, del Rosario and his ilk don’t give a hoot about human rights, justice and all that.
Most determined opponents
Moreover, the NPA and its organized forces in the countryside are the most determined opponents of the State’s murderous and rapacious policy in the countryside. This is why the movement is present in practically every area in the country where this policy is implemented.
There are legal progressive groups, however, who also oppose this policy. And the government attempts to demolish these groups (such as Karapatan, Bayan and Bayan Muna) by demonizing them, by lumping them with the NPA. This is the context of the rebellion case filed by the military against Alvin Luque of Bayan. The case is nothing but harassment. It is intended to warn the opponents of the State’s motives in Lumad territories that they should shut up, otherwise the AFP would not only destroy their reputations but haul them to court too.
Meantime, the Lumads are being victimized twice over. First, they are being driven out of their ancestral lands by greedy corporations. Second, they are being f****d from behind by such people as Unad. What choice do they have then? Either they keep silent or they fight back.
That the military has been intensifying its militarization in the countryside, that it has not stopped dividing the Lumads and turning them against each other – these indicate that the Lumads are fighting back. Of course the military then says they are Communists – and sends in more troops. And so the cycle of the Lumad’s struggle continues. Bulatlat.com