By Reynard Magtoto
MASBATE CITY – Lakbayanis from Mindanao reached Masbate City after a 4-day stop over in Cebu and shared the plight of Marawi siege victims with progressive groups here in the province.
Support groups led by BAYAN-Masbate warmly welcomed the national minorities and delegates from Visayas and Mindano as they arrived at Masbate port.
Armed elements of Masbate PPSC, SAF stationed at Maasin pier took photos of Lakbayanis and members of the Lakbayan secretariat while in the pier.
BAYAN-Masbate led the Salubungan while leaders exchanged tokens in the Freedom Park of Masbate City.
“The national minorities are now facing an intensified attack by the US-Duterte regime while still facing plunder on their ancestral lands and territories. Hundreds of thousands were evacuated due to the AFP bombing in Marawi and other communities in declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the continuation of the All-Out War against the New People’s Army whose mostly affected are the national minorities and civilians, ” said Ben Cajegas, BAYAN-Masbate spokesperson.
Cajegas added “Although the province of Masbate has no indigenous community, we also face problems in land disputes since the vast terrain in the province are surrounded by pastures that are owned by few people or families with position in the government. Foreign mining company, Filmenera Mining Corp. also covers wide land areas.”
“Talagang nasasaktan po kaming mga taga marawi. Maraming napatay po samin. Wala kaming kasalanan, sinasagot namin ‘Wala kaming kasalan, hindi totoo yan’,” said Sultan Macara Sampuan of Tindeg Ranao as he shared the plight of the victims of the Marawi siege, continued aerial bombardement, and Martial Law in Mindanao.
Sultan Macaraas Ampuan of Marawi City emotionally shared the effects of Martial Law in Marawi. According to him, his relative who just arrived from Manila was shot by the military because they suspected his relative was a member of ISIS.
Sultan Ampuan requested President Rodrigo Duterte to stop Martial Law and the air-strikes of the government since it only resulted to huge damage in houses and livelihood of the people in Maranao.
Sumuporta at nakiisa naman ang simbahang katoliko sa Masbate sa pagsalubong ng mga Moro at Lumad sa syudad na ayon kay
The Catholic Church in Masbate supports the Lakbayan of national minorities. “We should respect the rights of the people regardless of nationality or religion,” said Fr. Butch Bautista.
Fr. Bautista encouraged the government to give justice to the victims of human rights violations in the country. While BAYAN-Masbate calls on the Masbateños to support the struggle of national minorities.
Lakbayanis are now on their way to Camarines Sur for a whole day solidarity program tomorrow, August 27.(BaretangBikolnon.com)