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HomeOpinion “Break the Bonds of Social Injustice & Oppression!”

 “Break the Bonds of Social Injustice & Oppression!”

Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera

Let’s Follow Pope Francis’ Bid:

No less than His Holiness Pope Francis in his speech in Malacañang a decade or so ago gave a categorical statement on the imperative need to debunk social disparities that are putting the country in disarray. His Holiness said, “It bids us all to break the bonds of social injustice and oppression that give rise to glaring and scandalous social inequities.” 

We were so amazed to hear His Holiness bidding us all to break the bonds of social injustice and oppression that has been happening especially in this beautiful but broken island of Mindanao. If His Holiness has recently begged for forgiveness “for the evil done by the Christians in Canada for the assimilation of the IPs’ living culture,” how much more if He would be informed of the horrible social injustices and oppression being done through corporate globalization which is based on the enclosures (grabbing of lands) of the commons which means exclusions of the IPs’ ancestral domains based on violence. That instead of a culture of abundance which the Indigenous Peoples had been pursuing for thousands of years following natures and sustenance economy where the economy is like a “home” where they are being taken cared-of, the profit driven globalization creates cultures of exclusion, dispossession, and scarcity, consigning the Indigenous Peoples in hunger and extreme poverty.

But such painful truism is not only happening in our country but globally. As manifested by environmentalists worldwide, “globalization’s transformation of all beings and resources into commodities robs diverse species and people of their rightful share of ecological, cultural, economic, and political space. 

According to the United Nations, about 25,000 people die every day of hunger  or hunger-related causes. Most of … | Poverty children, Hungry children,  Global poverty

The ownership of the rich in based on the dispossession of the poor – it is the common, public resources of the poor which are privatized and the poor who are disowned economically, politically, and culturally.” What could be the most painful sight on earth than a thousand families of the Manobo-Pulangiyon Tribe who have been living under shattered tents for six years now, along the highway of Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon, eating only once a day and all the children are sickly and malnourished, because their 1,111 hectare-ancestral domains have been land-grabbed by the Kiantig Development Corporation, owned, and managed by the incumbent mayor of Quezon, Bukdinon. 

After having been issued a Certification by the NCIP declaring that the Tribe owned the land, they tried to enter an adjacent 4-hectare-vacant area on April 19, 2022, and with a strong voice shouting collectively, GUTOM NA PO KAMI, MAAWA PO KAYO, LIMA NA PONG ANAK NAMIN NASAGASAAN,” but like rats, they were shooed away through barrage of bullets and firepower for 15 minutes being shouted by the shooting armed men, ‘LABAS, BANG, BANG, BANG, LABAS, BANG, BANG, BANG. Five got hit including women. This problem has been the subject of Senate Inquiry and even investigation by the Amnesty International for more than a year now. Finally, the Tribe has been issued a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title but until now they are still living in hunger and extreme poverty as they are not allowed to enter their domain. Your Holiness, this narrative is not only on social injustice and oppression, but a travesty of the rule of law committed by a powerful corporation in cohort with power-that-be. Perhaps, a letter-appeal from His Holiness to His Excellency PRESBBM will make a difference as the letters of three Archbishops from Mindanao were not acted upon. 

In San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, the 5,000-hectare ancestral domain of the Manobo Tribe headed by Bae Merlita Mayantao was fenced by a powerful corporation RAMCAR in 2016 and when they protested, the corporation’s armed guards rained upon them barrage of bullets and then and there, three were killed and three wounded. Until now, no one has been arrested. This is not just social injustice and oppression but crimes of murder. 

What is so puzzling is what is happening now in Sitio Kibaritan, Malinao, Bukidnon as the farmlands that the native-farmers have been tilling for more than 50 years now are being transformed into a military reservation which was categorically belied by the incumbent Hon. Mayor, Atty. Raymon Charl Gamboa, who declared that their farmlands are just” adjacent but never a part of the reservation.” How can that be a military reservation when it has already been a community for several years with a chapel, an elementary school, and a day-care center. So dangerous to declare it as such, as attested by the LGU and agencies of government. But such warning was utterly dis-regarded, thy thus, three children playing near the school got killed on Good Friday of 2016 by the explosion of an UXO. Presently, the farmers are being harassed and harmed and their crops are being uprooted, thus, they are now living in hunger and poverty. 
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They have been crying that their land is for food and for their livelihood not for war. What puzzled them no end was when they knew recently that no less than USEC of DAR Jeffrey Galan had a meeting with a corporation and military officials inside the camp, signing an agreement to transform the farmers’ farms into massive plantation of hybrid banana. 

They asked, is corporate globalization being pursued now through militarization? This is also happening in nearby municipalities as some 42,265 hectares have been declared as military reservation. When the Indigenous Peoples would stand up for their ancestral domains, they are being “red-tagged.” Why? Perhaps, this questionable development should be known by no less than the Commander-In-Chief himself. In Mirayon, Talakag, a hundred families of the Talaandig Tribe have nowhere to live as their homes and farms have been buck-hoed and when they resisted, the “7 tribes of Bukidnon” where they belong was declared “personal non-grata” signed by the mayor himself. Nowhere can you find these terrible social injustices and oppression in the world but only here in Bukidnon, done by the Christians that must be known by His Holiness!

These painful narratives are just “tip of the iceberg,” as corporate globalization has really wrought havoc in Mindanao as 200,000 hectares of the choicest of lands of the Indigenous Peoples have already been transformed into massive plantations to earn millions, if not billions, of dollars to the corporations but has poisoned the watersheds with so much toxic chemicals, many of which are banned already in other countries. For these capitalist- corporations, land is the number one capital for their instant pursuit of massive wealth. His Holiness must be informed that when the IPs would resist against the exclusions of their lands, they are being killed as 101 Chieftains/BAEs have already been killed, including a pregnant woman and a 5-yr. old boy, as instilling fear is part of the capitalists’ strategy. 

It was after His Holiness visit in the Philippines when Pope Francis issued His most recent Episcopal Letter entitled, “LaudatuSi” with strong appeal for all of us to hear the cry of the poor and of Mother Earth. Such statement is so amazing if you are a Mindanawon because although Mindanao is called the land of the brave and the free, it is also known as the “land of paradox.” While Mindanao is oozing with ecological resources known as the “food basket” of the country, but it is in Mindanao where malnutrition is at its highest where 85% of the children are malnourished. In fact, of the 25 poorest provinces in the country, 14 are in Mindanao where all the regions are suffering from high poverty-gap-ratio. Worse, it is in Mindanao were six coal-fired power plants had been established. As warned by the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Burning coal is the leading cause of smog, acid rain and climate change. In a year, a typical coal plant generates 3,700,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the primary cause of climate change and 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide which cause acid rain that damages forest, lakes and buildings and forms small air-born particles that can penetrate deep into lungs, and 500 tons of small airborne particles, which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death and so many toxic chemicals such as 225 pounds arsenic which will cause cancer. Well, that is what a typical coal-fired power plant can do, by typical meaning 100 megawatts. The six-coal fired-power plants established all over Mindanao have a total megawatt of 2,167. These are not acceptable to us in Mindanao but the big capitalists and their political cohorts have fooled the Mindanao’s who are still buried in so much gospel of disinformation by the media and fallacies of life, amidst morale collapse and religious apathy, never hearing the cry of the poor and of Mother Earth. Perhaps, this time, the appeal of His Holiness will touch the hearts of the Filipinos. 

21 Quotes From Pope Francis' Encyclical Worth Noting - EcoWatch

Poverty. Social Injustice. Gross Inequities. Environmental destruction.  Political patronage. These are the roots of the war in Mindanao that must be uprooted not through bloodshed but by the strength of the human spirit in cooperation, love, and service to one another irrespective of creed, race, class, gender, ideology, and color. Breaking these “bonds of social injustice and oppression through a war that has been going on for decades is never the solution; on the contrary, it has even worsened the economic condition of the inhabitants as hundreds of thousands of our people, especially the Indigenous Peoples, have already been displaced. The astonishing statement-appeal of His Holiness must touch the hearts of the Christians especially the priests and nuns, to now frontline the liberation of the Indigenous Peoples from social injustice and oppression, and not just to zero-in on doctrines and dogmas. What really matters is how we have served the “least of our brethren,” and how we have healed the blighted land back to life. His Holiness has ordered us to break the bonds of social injustice and oppression. No way shall we disobey His Holiness! All for God’s greater glory!  



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