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Saying the plight of the lumad has not improved and, in fact, worsened with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, a chieftain of the Manobo tribe in Surigao del Sur admits “we were wrong” to have voted for President Rodrigo Duterte last year.
Datu Rudy Ugking, who hails from Tago town, is one of the lumad who have trooped to Metro Manila, as they have for the past few years, to demand an end to the militarization of their communities, which they connect to the encroachment of commercial mining, logging and agriculture into their ancestral communities.
Over the past years, lumad communities have been caught in a seemingly endless cycle of displacement as government security forces, including military-backed militias, occupy their villages, including tribal schools set up and operated by civil society and religious organizations but which the military openly accuses of advocating and teaching support for communist rebels.
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