Pinoy rock legend Chickoy Pura recently visited and entertained the lumad community housed at the University of the Philippines International Center in Diliman, Quezon City.
According to Chickoy’s wife, Monet Pura, there are around 300 lumads, mostly students housed at the UP International Center, with 200 more from bakwit schools in Mindanao expected to arrive soon.
The lumads are in Metro Manila to once again demand that government respect their rights and their way of life, after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to bomb schools of indigenous communities in Mindanao for allegedly teaching students to rebel against the government.
“We’re here to be one with our lumad brothers and sisters and support the causes they’re fighting for as well as to listen to all of their concerns to see what we can do, what I can do as musician, as an individual to help them as well as provide a little entertainment. That is my job, after all,” Chickoy said in mostly Filipino during an interview with InterAksyon.
Joining Chickoy and Monet during their lumad visit was character actor and screenwriter Dwight Gaston, who played percussions during the live performances. A Jack of All Trades in the film industry, Dwight also wears many other hats including that of a costume designer, art director, musical scorer and more.
Chickoy and Monet said that among the basic needs that the lumad people need are food and clothing as they will be in Metro Manila possibly until December. The couple are hoping that some schools will also allow some of the students to attend classes so that their education will continue.
“The repression that they’re experiencing is unfortunate. This is the worst thing that anyone can do to a group of people or an entire community, to displace them from their ancestral domain. This is even worse than any killer typhoon. This is an out and out injustice, an anomaly that should not happen to a society that takes pride in being civilized and progressive,” Chickoy lamented.
He added that he heard that there are vested interests who want to take advantage of the rich and fertile lands of the lumad people and intend to use it for mining and agri-venture purposes. He then appealed to everyone, especially fellow musicians, to take notice of the plight of the lumads and help in any way possible.
Although Chickoy started his career as a folk singer and later became a founding member of the pioneering punk band, The Jerks, he has emerged as a musician fighting for worthy causes in recent years. He was a former chairman of Musicians for Peace, a group that supported his recent visit to the Lumad community. Currently, he is the president of the League of Authors of Public Interest Songs or LAPIS.
Following Chickoy’s visit, more musicians like Plagpul and MusikanBayan have followed suit and performed for the lumads. Chickoy and Monet intend to do more as they’re planning to organize a dinner fundraiser, details of which they will announce soon.
“Anybody’s principle, anybody’s plight, especially if it is a basic right, is worth singing for,” Chickoy declared.
Watch Chickoy Pura’s complete interview with InterAksyon here:
And watch Chickoy Pura and Dwight Gaston entertain the lumad students in this video courtesy of Kilab Media: