By ABIGAIL B. ANONGOS
July 23 is expectedly a red letter date with coordinated people’s actions in different parts of the country during the third state of the nation address of the president (I refuse to print the name. It is akin to he-who-must-not-be-named in the Harry Potter series of books and movies). In Baguio City, Tongtongan ti Umili will organise a forum followed by a people’s march—it is a public activity and everyone is invited.
Change has not come. Change did not come. The only difference is a worsened political and economic crisis and the dismal state of people’s rights. Real change framed at social justice and human rights will not be handed from above. It remains that it will emanate from an empowered people.
Renato Reyes Jr. of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan outlines “Five Reasons to Join the United People’s State of the Nation Address” on July 23. Simply written and straight to the point, let me share and you may add points 6 onwards on why YOU are joining the People’s SONA on Monday:
1. You do not want Duterte’s Charter change and the prospect of term extension and dictatorship disguised as “federalism”.
2. You’re fed up with TRAIN, high prices, contractualization, low wages, and the lack of concern the economic managers and national leadership have for the people. Pinagtatakpan pa nila ang krisis.
3. Mahal mo ang bayan. You want a truly sovereign Philippines, one that’s not a “province of China” nor a military outpost of the US.
4. You want peace, a truly just peace that’s not only the absence of fighting but the presence of social justice and economic reforms.
5. You have had enough of the killings, arbitrary arrests, Martial Law, militarization, misogyny and other human rights violations.
Sobra na, tama na, wakasan na!
I am for the above, and I will add the following points:
Land is life. But ancestral lands of indigenous peoples are under seige with development aggression, in the form of capitalist mining and energy projects and accompanied by militarisation. Presently, 230 of the 447 approved mining applications are in ancestral territories, encroaching in at least 542,245 hectares of ancestral lands. This comprise 72% of the 748,590 hectares covered by all the approved mining applications.
There is no cause more worthy than human rights. But indigenous human rights defenders are under attack. From north to south, especially in Mindanao, IPHRDs are dying, attacked and criminalised at an increasingly alarming rate. The State policy on indigenous peoples is kill, kill, kill. This should stop.
Lastly, Igorotak. I am for collective action and mass mobilisation in defense of territory, life and honor as in the tradition of our ancestors, from the stories of Chico and Cellophil. Confronted by the conditions of his time, Macliing Dulag said “What is the most precious thing to man? Life! If life is threatened, what ought a man do? Resist! This he must do otherwise he is dishonored and that is worse than death.”
In these very trying times, let us make it our rallying call, and be bold in our identity when fighting for human rights, social justice and self-determination. As such I do not hesitate to wear my tapis in struggle, and wear it in dignity and honor.
So be part of the People’s SONA on July 23, wherever you may be. This will be raw and genuine to the core, no cinematic direction. # nordis.net