'Healing the Hurt' Project

 

A. Action title: HEALING THE HURT: Unleashing Interfaith Initiatives to Combat Discrimination, Human Rights Violations and Impunity against the Lumads of Mindanao, Philippines

B. Implementing organization: Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR), Inc

In partnership with

(a) Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, Inc

(b) Ibon Foundation, Inc

(c) Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao, Inc

(d) Community-Based Health Services-Northern Mindanao Region, Inc

C. Donor: European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights

D. Grant Amount: €623,767.2 or around PhP31M (Grant Contract 2014 348-042)

E. Project Duration: 23 Dec 2014-22 Dec 2017 (3 years)

F. Areas:

Bukidnon: Malaybalay, Valencia, Talakag, Impasug-ong, Cabanglasan, San Fernando, Quezon, Manolo Fortich and Malitbog

Agusan del Sur: Esperanza, San Luis, Talacogon and Lapaz

Agusan del Norte: Nasipit and Buenavista

Misamis Oriental:  Gingoog, Lagonglong, Balingasag, Claveria and Opol

G. Context:

Twenty-eight Lumad leaders and their families killed in 35 monthsthis is Mindanao’s generous fraction from the 34 indigenous peoples extra-judicially killed in the country since Pres. Benigno Aquino III assumed power in June 2010. The United Nations special rapporteurs on human rights defenders and on EJKs issued a joint statement on 9 July 2012 criticizing the Aquino III administration for its attacks against human rights and environment defenders.[1] However, the killing of indigenous leaders continued unabated. Seven indigenous leaders in Mindanao, including their children, were summarily killed barely three months after the said joint statement was issued. Other forms of human rights violations were also noted. In 2012, according to the human rights group Karapatan, around 1,017 families, or 5,725 individuals, were displaced in the course of intense military operations carried out in the mining areas of Northern, North-Eastern and Southern Mindanao. In indigenous communities where military detachments are set up in the middle of villages, mass gatherings are strictly monitored, while leaders and community members are brought to military camps for questioning.

Mindanao holds half of the estimated mineral wealth in the Philippines, most of these in ancestral domains, amounting to 11.25 B Euros. It is also the site of the largest pineapple plantations in the country and due to its climatic conditions, more industrial agriculture companies are set to come in. As a result, indigenous communities have come head-to-head with big companies for access to resources. The government’s drive for mining liberalization, egged by the Chamber of Mines, has been accompanied by the establishment of Investment Defense Forces to ‘protect’ investments. In the face of all these attacks, the Lumads’ access to justice has become almost impossible due to to their economic and political marginalization.

The problem the project seeks to address is this structural discrimination of the Lumads that allows the escalating attacks against their leaders and their traditional and community-based structures. These leaders and organizations act as Lumad communities’ first line of defense in protecting ancestral lands, right to self-determined development and indigenous culture. But their basic right to life, liberty and security of person as enshrined in documents such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have been ignored with impunity. Without the structures of community development fighting for their rights, the Lumads of Mindanao will be subjected to a repeated cycle of oppression and exploitation. They will remain as they are—easily intimidated, frightened, and coerced.

H. Objectives of the Action: 

The over-all objective of the action is to contribute for the advancement of the rights and continued development of indigenous peoples consistent with the spirit and letters of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The specific objective is protection and enhanced capacities of Lumad structures of community development to better allow them to combat discrimination, violence and criminalization induced by aggressive industrialization in Mindanao.

I. Activity clusters:

I.1.  Activities related to knowledge-generation on the reality of structural discrimination against the Lumads of Mindanao and the issues of industrialization and the current policies that are contributory to such situation. Includes the establishment of the Mindanao Interfaith Institute on Lumad Studies (MIILS) that will undertake research and publication activities, and media advocacy work.

I.2. Activities related to awareness-raising and building of public recognition on the reality of structural discrimination against the Lumads of Mindanao and the issues of industrialization and the current policies that are contributory to such situation. Includes establishment of a community radio, mobile theatre arts production, biblico-theologico reflections, exposure programs, and publication of informative and educational materials.

I.3. Activities promoting access to justice and protection mechanisms for Lumad victims of human rights violations. Includes establishment of the Community-based Emergency Fund for Lumads, and the creation of the Interfaith Solidarity Network for Lumads.

I.4. Human rights capacity-building activities for indigenous communities. Includes establishment of community-based human rights monitors, and the launching of the Lumad Academy for Human Rights.

I.5. Strengthening inter-community partnership and promoting dialogue with authorities and corporations on access to land and natural resources. Includes human rights colloquiums among indigenous leaders and dialogues with authorities and extractive corporations.

J. Researches and publications foreseen:

1.    Comprehensive study on the structural discrimination of Lumads

2.    Studies on large-scale mining, corporate plantations, and mega-dam projects in selected

       areas of Mindanao

3.    Study on the implementation of the FPIC in selected areas of Mindanao.

4.    Study on the impact of laws and relevant national policies on extractive industries in selected areas of        Mindanao

5.    Study on investment defense forces, paramilitarism and militarization of selected indigenous territories in Mindanao

6.    Website publication: 15 case studies and 15 geo-tagged documents on contested lands, and 100 investigative stories on indigenous peoples’ rights or developmental news about indigenous communities

7.    Two annual shadow report on the situation IP rights in selected areas of Mindanao

K. About the logo

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The logo shows the interfaith cooperation of the Lumads, the Christians and the Muslims in Mindanao. To the right is the blue cross representing the believers of Christ. To the left is the green crescent representing the followers of the Prophet Muhammad. At the core of the logo is the hand of a baylan, a traditional priest of the indigenous peoples. The baylan performs important rituals in the community and is their spiritual leader. More importantly, the baylan can heal – an individual’s diseases or a community’s wound.

While we believe that to call them the ‘three peoples’ would not be appropriate, these are the three major groups that are present in the supra-region based on religion. The different Lumad communities, although many have been converted to Christianity, still have at the core of their lifestyles their animistic beliefs and practices.

The unity of these three faiths is important to heal the hurt that has been wrought in the decades of discrimination and marginalization of the Lumad communities. The history of enmity has been long but we believe it has been created systematically by a common enemy - greed; greed for wealth, greed for power. The Lumads, the Christians, and the Muslims have to understand that against this, they are not foes but friends.

 

Related news articles:

EU-supported project to protect thousands of Lumad in Mindanao

EU extends P31-million grant to support Mindanao Lumads

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