USC Conducts “Martial Law Then And Minda Now” Forum
Photo by Lance Matthew Pahang
With the goal to inform the Cebuano citizens about the experiences of our Lumad brothers and sisters in Mindanao, the Bakwit School, together with the Save Our Schools Network, held their “Martial Law Then And Now” forum at the Theodore Buttenbruch Hall at the University of San Carlos Downtown Campus (USC DC) last Sept. 18, 2018.
The forum started with an opening documentary entitled “Pangandoy: The Manobo Fight for Land and Education” which highlighted the importance of developing Lumad schools in order to arm them with education against the capitalists who take advantage of their lack of education, which has previously resulted in the exploitation of their ancestral lands.
The speaker and one of the volunteer teachers from the Lumad School, Ma’am Fredie Mie Alegre, accompanied the Lumad students to the University of San Carlos to talk about the Mindanao situation of the Indigenous People under the rule of Martial Law. She highlighted the increasing number of tortures and death at the hands of the military, who keeps coercing them into giving up their lands to give way to mining corporations.
She also gave the attendees an insight to the kinds of education they are giving to the Lumad students. The education they are currently receiving is grounded to the Makamasa, Makabayanat Sayantipiko (MMS) curriculum, which focuses on enabling them to utilize and apply the same the learnings they acquired to their own environment like planting seeds, vegetables and fruits She said that the implementation of Bakwit Schools is a form of Lumad resistance and defense for their land and rights to education.
Armando Diones, a student of the Lumad school, shared his reaction and first-hand experiences under the militarization of their community. “Murag gihimo ug iro nga pamunalan, pamusilon lang sa kilid. [They treat us like dogs that they just beat and shoot in a corner].”
The forum closed with the Political Science department chair, Ms. Brenette L. Abrenica, stressing that together with the University of San Carlos, they are one with the Bakwit Schools in their plight for better education and to keep their ancestral lands, and that we should always remember the “horrors of Martial Law that still haunt us everyday”.
In an interview with Jay-ar Dela Torre,a Lumad student, he said that, “On behalf of my co-students and teachers, tungod ani nga event, naka kab-ot mi ug gamay na kadaugan tungod kay na share namo ang among kahimtang sa kadaghanan. Salamat sa opportunity ug sa University of San Carlos [because of this event, we experienced a kind of victory because we were able to share our experiences. Thank you for the opportunity and thank you, University of San Carlos].”
Whole day activities will also be implemented on Sept. 19, 2018 for our Lumad brothers and sisters who will be staying in Cebu until Sept. 20, 2019.