Driven from home, Philippine indigenous people long for their land | PLACE
This time feels different; we have been forced to leave our homes, and we are being told we need to give up our lands for our own good. But we cannot live like this - we belong in our ancestral lands, and we want to go back," he said.
The Lumad in Mindanao in southern Philippines are part of nearly 17 million indigenous people in the country. They are among the poorest of minority groups, with little access to social services including education and healthcare, experts say.
They have been caught in the middle of a five-decade old insurgency, as well as a push by logging and mining companies to tap Mindanao’s rich resources including gold, copper and nickel, after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would welcome investors.
Their vulnerability has been exacerbated by the extension of martial law imposed in Mindanao last May by Duterte, who has called the island a “flashpoint for trouble” and atrocities by Islamist and communist rebels.
“Duterte is waging war against defenceless indigenous people in Mindanao,” said Duphing Ogan, secretary general of indigenous peoples’ alliance Kalumaran.