See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil


    IF there is a live and burning issue that must urgently rouse the conscience of the nation and galvanize action by the government, it is the current ordeal of our Lumad (indigenous peoples) communities, whose leaders are being killed one by one by para-military groups, whose lands are being forcibly taken from them by predatory business interests, and whose need for protection and cry for justice are barely being heard by the government.

    A crisis of survival

    The Lumads are the Philippine equivalent of the native Americans in the United States and Canada, and the aborigines in Australia. They are native to our land, having settled here long before other settlers. They are living today the same crisis of survival that Indians and aborigines experienced in their own histories. They deserve to win the same rights and privileges that the Indians and aborigines have won in their respective countries, and which their fellow Filipinos enjoy in this country.

    But unlike the USA’s native Americans who are a small minority, the ancestors of the majority of the Filipinos are the Lumads themselves.

    To secure national attention to their plight from the President and Congress, several scores of the Lumads have journeyed to Manila to directly protest the crimes against them and plead their cause. For several weeks now, they have been camping out at Liwasang Bonifacio to talk to those in society who want to know about their protest and want to help them.

    For all their efforts, however, their protest action has been barely heard by the executive and legislative branches of our government.

    Malacañang, President Aquino especially, has not noticed them at all. They were not even favored with the usual dismissive and non-sensical statements of Coloma, Lacierda and Valte, that at least would have acknowledged their existence.

    Congress, which calls for an inquiry whenever they can land in the media, has not bothered to visit with them.

    Thank God Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle visited the encamped Lumads and identified with them, calling a stop to the killings and the government’s oppression of these, our fellow Filipinos.

    President Aquino’s indifference and the Administration’s failure to assist the Lumads in their crisis of survival impel us to write today and ask our government:

    1. How many more Lumad lives must be taken before President Aquino finally sees, hears and addresses the terrible plight and suffering of our Lumad communities in Mindanao? Will he persist in playing the proverbial three monkeys, who see no evil, hear no evil,and speak no evil?

    2. How much more must the Lumads be robbed of their land and treasures by predatory business interests, before our government and our armed forces take up their sworn duty to protect and assist our indigenous peoples?

    The situation is so dire that anything less than immediate and sweeping action by the government will constitute criminal neglect and dereliction of duty.

    The killings must stop, justice must be done

    As Manila archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has rightly demanded, the Aquino Administration, using our police-military forces, should immediately disband and disarm the paramilitary groups that have perpetrated the killings and terrorized the Lumad communities. There should be no room to hide for the Magahat/Bagani paramilitary group, whose very presence in southern Mindanao is a menace to society. They should be hunted down.

    Unless action is taken at once, we have no right to call ourselves a constitutional republic and a civilized society.

    We would be a people who have consented to be governed by monkeys.


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    1. Johanna Kiamzon-Naga on

      Hello Manila Times, what happened to your journalism ethics? Malacanang has issued statements about the Lumads. DOJ and CHR were willing to dialogue with the Manilakbayan group. However, when CHR was willing to talk to them when the latter was demonstrating, one of their group leaders prevented that meeting. DOJ was waiting to meet with them during their demonstration (where they also vandalized the DOJ wall), however, they didn’t appear. So please do a little homework for fair and balanced reporting’s sake.

      • Does the government need to schedule talks with the protesting Lumads before it will do anything to stop the murder, oppression, displacement, terrorism of these people? A responsible government does not need to face the grievious lamentations of the Lumads before it acts to stop crimes that are tantamount to ethnic cleansing !!! Why all the red tapes when you are already facing crimes against humanity ??? Such a government is a criminal government !!!

    2. Thank you. Good job on this editorial as it brings attention to what’s happening to the Lumads. I just hope that PNoy and his cabinet, and members of Congress will read it and do something about this persecution and annihilation of the Lumads.

      Thank God, Cardinal Tagle also made his demand to stop the killings. Pope Francis is an “activist” pope, and often has something to say on various topics not necessarily involving God (such as climate change and global warning). Instead of resorting to just “let us pray”, Cardinal Tagle is finally following the Pope’s example and saying something on issues that are pertinent to the Philippines. His pronouncements carry a lot of weight, and using “moral suasion” he may succeed in “shaming” and embarrassing PNoy, his administration, and members of Congress such that they will be forced to take some action about the Lumads. Cardinal Tagle must make his demands, not once, not twice, but many times until something is done and accomplished.

    3. Maybe the President is waiting for the Lumads and other IPs to take up arms, like the MNLF, MILF and Abu Sayyaf. He talks only with those who can harm.

    4. This is the president that has no mercy. Because His clan has no mercy. Their Hacienda was a graveyard of farmers.Massacres after massacres and without justice until to this day.

    5. Our country is governed by Abnoy. Since day one of this evil regime, Abnoy is concerned only for the uplifting of the businesses of the oligarchs, but when it comes to the plight of our soldiers, farmers, OFWs, local workers, senior citizens, the indigenous people and those of victims of calamities, our Abnoy is totally ‘dedma lang’. Another six years of Tuwad na Daan for Roxas? No! Never again!

    6. Why only Cardinal Tagle?

      Where are the INC?
      Where are the Aglipayans?
      Where are the Protestants?
      Where are JIL?
      Where are John the Baptist?
      Where are the Church of Jesus Christ of later day Saints?
      Where are the Assembly of God?
      Where are the Saksi hi Hejova?

      These Lumads are also “Sons of God”
      Where are they? GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Matthew Parkes on

        Tagle is trying to make amends for his treasonous support of Aquino’s BBL that Malaysia is bribing Aquino to pass. Remember, Tagle supported yellow propaganda efforts. Clearly he now feels guilty and his support for the Lumads is his form of penance.