LUMAD BAKWIT IN MANILA | Unfazed by bad weather, 2,000 IP, Moro campers in UP Diliman stand fast

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Lumad at UP Diliman encampent
At the UP Diliman encampment on the stud farm, lumad bakwits rush to save their things from getting wet in the face of Tropical Depression #MaringPH. Photographed by KATHY YAMZON.

As the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a red rainfall warning advisory for Metro Manila at 2 p.m. on Tuesday – meaning serious flooding was expected in flood-prone areas – some 2,000 indigenous people and Bangsamoro were preparing to evacuate or had already evacuated from their camp in open grounds at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

They had been staying at the UP stud farm along C.P. Garcia Avenue for a series of activities from August 31 to September 21 calling for, among others, an end to Martial Law in Mindanao, lasting peace, and their right to self-determination.

Some of the campers had marched on Monday towards the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where the family of former President Ferdinand Marcos celebrated the birth centennial of the late dictator.

There they called for the lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao, and raised banners that read, “Lupa, pagkain, karapatan – hindi giyera (Land, food, rights – not war)!”

Amid Tuesday’s downpour caused by tropical depression Maring, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan had opened the doors to the campus’ buildings to give shelter to the visitors, who had formed the alliance Sandugo, according to its media officer Kathy Yamzon.

Classes and work were suspended at UP Diliman on Tuesday, which freed up the buildings temporarily.

Bakwits under Tropical Depression Maring downpur
Bakwit wait for the rain to lt up. Protest marches and rallies still to hold. Photographed by Sandugo media officer Kathy Yamzon.

Yamzon told InterAksyon they were asking for donations such as jackets, blankets, medicine, and food, which could be sent to the UP stud farm.

They would also be staging a rally on September 21 – the anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in Mendiola, and would be joining another rally by the Movement Against Tyranny in Luneta Park.

Movement Against Tyranny was a newly formed network of human rights, faith-based, and indigenous groups – among others – who opposed the “culture of impunity and fear” bred by President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and by Martial Law in Mindanao.