Thursday, October 29, 2015

Protect the Lumad our indigenous peoples

Lumads in Mindanao under attack

James Cameron’s 2009 box-office hit film Avatar, about an alien world where primitive but highly evolved inhabitants defend their habitat, moved audiences across the globe, including the Filipino urbanite audience.

We were enthralled by the lush and luminescent world of beings who end up waging a kind of asymmetrical warfare against ruthless interlopers out to plunder rare and costly minerals from their planet. We cheered on these beings’ defense of their territory, and more importantly, of the life force that appears to be the embodiment of “Mother Nature”, as the triumph of good versus evil, of Nature over corporate greed, and of a united people over high-tech weaponry.

AVATAR - Official Launch Trailer (HD) 

It is said that the film is a thinly-veiled tribute by the film maker to indigenous peoples of the Amazon who are resisting inroads by multinational corporations (MNCs) into their lands to exploit natural resources at the expense of the environment, the habitat of endangered flora and fauna, and the homes of vanishing native tribes.

Here in the Philippines, there are several Lumad groups of Mindanao locked in similar life-and-death struggle against huge corporate mining interests (and other MNCs bringing in so-called “development” programs to the Lumad’s ancestral lands).

Please read more :

Lumads in Mindanao under attack

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Leave the Lumad alone!  

By Dean Tony La Viña

The issue is about control of natural resources and ancestral domain. Before it was about logging. Now it's mining. 
This militarization started in Bukidnon and Davao del Norte and now has jumped to Surigao. It’s anyone guess where this goes next but it won’t stop unless drastic measures are taken.
Above all, if we want these atrocities to stop, we must leave the Lumad alone – allow them to independently make decisions about their ancestral domains, their natural resources, their educational system (including the choice of their teachers), and other matters critical to them. We must completely respect their right to free and prior informed consent – starting with entering their territory.

Both the military and the New People’s Army (NPA) must pull out of their areas, all of which must be demilitarized and declared peace zones. All economic activities by outsiders, including mining operations, must be stopped and all applications frozen in those areas so the conflict does not expand further. This should be done immediately in the affected areas and if necessary through all Lumad areas of Mindanao. 
Why should we care about the Lumad?
Lumad is a collective term, meaning homegrown or indigenous, used to refer to 15-18 ethno-linguistic groups in Mindanao. Among those usually included as Lumad are the Subanen, B’laan, Mandaya, Higaonon, Banwaon, Talaandig, Ubo, Manobo, T’boli, Tiruray, Bagobo,Tagakaolo, Dibabawon, Manguangan, and Mansaka. It should be noted that from these groups there are hundreds and even thousands of sub-groupings that are independent or at best loosely related to each other even when there are many linguistic and cultural similarities among them.
Why should we care about the Lumad? We must be concerned because they are among the poorest and marginalized in our society.

The Lumad are also among the most peaceful and gentle, and therefore the most vulnerable. When provoked however, like their counterparts in Luzon and the Visayas, the Lumad fight back as they have done with the Spanish and American colonizers and the national government in the more recent past. Because many of the island’s natural resources, especially minerals, are in Lumad territory, they are frequently attacked and their ancestral domains encroached upon by outsiders. Such development aggression in turn becomes the breeding ground of the national democratic revolution and the communist insurgency. 
There will be no peace in Mindanao and in the Philippines if the rights of the Lumad are ignored and disregarded. Even the successful establishment of the Bangsamoro will not lead to peace without the full inclusion of the Lumad.
What is happening to the Lumad?
Last September 1, 2015, Lumad educator Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, a school recognized for its innovative and effective way of teaching, was found in a room in the school, with hands and feet bound, throat slit. As reported by, TV 5’s news website, on that same day, two Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvillo Sinzo were also executed, in front of hundreds of children and residents in Han-ayan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. It is alleged that the educator and leaders were killed by a tribal paramilitary force formed and organized by the military to fight the NPA.

As a result of the September 1 killings, more than 3,000 Lumad refugees are now in Tandag, capital town of Surigao del Sur.
In a strongly worded editorial, describes Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel as not mincing words about whom he blames: “He has had the balls to speak not only about how and by whom all of this nightmare started, he has a pretty good idea how it can all be put to a just and satisfying end. Pimentel says the militias and their military handlers should be prosecuted – even killed if necessary.”
This is not the first time that Lumad in Mindanao has been attacked and their leaders killed in the name of the fight against communist rebels.
Just a few months ago, hundreds of Lumad from Bukidnon and Davao del Norte evacuated to Davao City to flee from military operations in their ancestral domains. There was a charge that the evacuees in Davao City had been kidnapped by militants. But in a dramatic confrontation with Representative Nancy Catamco, Chairperson of the committee on indigenous peoples of the House of Representatives, it was established by the Davao City government that the Lumad had in fact sought refuge as their supporters have claimed. Mayor Rody Duterte himself affirmed this and backed the Lumad refugees against Catamco’s claim that they were not in Davao out of their own free will. This was later affirmed by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons Chaloka Beyan who denied the military claim that the Lumad in Davao City had been trafficked. 

To be fair, the military has said it welcomes any probe, with the Manila Standard quoting Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Civil Relations Service (AFP-CRS) as promising: “We will cooperate and support any official investigation. Killings of defenseless civilian is outside of the military parameter. We do not condone these atrocities.” In the same report, AFP spokesman Restituto Padilla also denied the hand of the military in the killings. Padilla is quoted as saying: “The AFP is also doing its own internal investigation to ascertain if AFP actions were appropriate relative to this unfortunate event.” The spokesman assured the public that the military had the interest of the Lumad and respect for their culture “foremost in their minds.”
In contrast to these assurances of the military are the poignant words of Michelle Campos, daughter of one of the slain Lumad leaders. Inday Espina-Varona, in an article on quotes her as saying: "My message to the government, especially our honorable President is, stop your Oplan Bayanihan that supposedly leads to peace and progress. Because the reality is, it has never brought peace or progress. You say it will bring peace to the lumad. Yes, it is true peace could come to our community because by then the paramilitary would have killed us all. And once all lumad who defend their ancestral lands have been killed, the capitalists will enjoy progress because they will be able to mine our lands." 

The big picture: the elephants in the room
I have worked in many Lumad areas for 30 years as an environmental and human rights lawyer and know the dynamics very well. There are two elephants in the room here – at a superficial level, the communist insurgency and the national democratic revolution which finds the Lumad squeezed between the military and the New People’s Army; at a deeper level, this is about control over natural resources, especially the minerals, that are abundant in Lumad territory.
The truth is that this is not even principally about the insurgency even if both sides are using the Lumad for propaganda. As I mentioned to Carmela Fonbuena in an article she wrote for Rappler on this issue, it's about control of natural resources and ancestral domain. Before it was about logging. Now it's mining.
I know that because when I was environmental undersecretary in the 1990s I had to mediate many conflicts in the area and at the bottom of it, it was because military and paramilitary forces were used to expel the Lumad from their domains and the NPA came in to take advantage of the situation by becoming the protectors of the Lumad and get their support for the national democratic struggle. That in turn became the excuse to implement programs like Oplan Bayanihan that divides the Lumad and pit them against each other.

It is a lie and a falsehood to lay the blame on the killings on the NPAs or even on internal conflicts as is now being circulated by propagandists. This red-baiting assures you that the season of killing will continue; this is the kind of propaganda which will get even more Lumad killed. Indeed, this is a go signal for that. It is immoral, downright evil, for propagandists and other people to trumpet this line. And it is especially sad that some peace workers are mouthing this.
At the same time, it must be also said as forcefully that the presence of the NPA has made the Lumad more vulnerable and has worsened their situation. Knowing personally many military officials, as colleagues and as students, I cannot imagine them tolerating serious human rights violations. But things happen, as they say, in the fog of war when our solders are faced with an enemy that knows how to disappear into the masses. I suppose that this is the same feeling of tribal militiamen – they too are afraid and so strike at whoever they believe threaten them.
Sadly, if in fact this is about the control of natural resources and ancestral domains, then the military, tribal militia, the Lumad communities, and the NPA are just pawns to drive the people away from their territory.

What needs to be done
The first thing to be done, as already pointed out, is to demilitarize the area and for peace zones to be declared in all affected Lumad areas. The military and the NPA must withdraw immediately. The tribal militia in Surigao del Sur and elsewhere must be disarmed. Those who killed the Lumad educators and leaders should be arrested, charged, and held accountable for the murders they committed.
An international investigation must be conducted in parallel with a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigation. This is necessary not only to determine the facts of the killings and aid in the prosecution also to identify the root causes of the conflict within Lumad territory. I fully trust the new Chairman of the CHR but it would work best if he put together a mission composed of credible and independent individuals that will take on the task of investigation.
I strongly suggest that the government invite UN Rapporteur for the rights of indigenous peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpuz to visit the affected areas and report on what she sees and make the appropriate recommendations. Vicky knows the Philippines very well, being a Filipina herself, and she is experienced in doing these investigations. Having worked with Vicky for decades on international and national indigenous peoples’ concerns, she has no ideological agenda in what is happening and will be guided only by the best interest of the Lumad.

Manilakbayan 2015 at Naga City on the way to Manila

If needed, human rights groups might consider filing a petition for a writ of amparo, requesting the Supreme Court to order the military and tribal militia from entering and having a presence in Lumad territory.
In the meantime, religious leaders must band with political leaders to make sure that no further killings happen. Already this is happening with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines standing strongly with the Lumad. I suggest that high-profile delegations of these Churches and religious organizations be sent to the affected areas and accompany the Lumad back to their homes and stay with them until their safety is totally secure.
Political leaders have also begun speaking out with Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Senators Grace Poe and Loren Legarda taking the lead. It would be good if we could hear our Mindanao senators TG Guingona and Koko Pimentel speak out on this as well. The Representatives from the Agusan and Surigao provinces, or perhaps all districts where there are Lumad, might also want to do this.

Government agencies like the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) must come in and do their job. The NCIP must ensure certifications of Free and Prior Informed Consent have been correctly given and the proper Certificates of Ancestral Domains have been issued. The DENR must make an inventory of natural resource and mining permits and agreements and make sure they are not exacerbating the situation. In fact, as I pointed out at the beginning of this article, such permits and agreements (and applications for them) must be put on hold to make sure they are not the reason of the conflict.
The Department of Education has a special role in addressing this problem. As the editorial pointed out: “Educated lumad like Samarca are looked upon as dangerous. They are tagged as rebel coddlers just because of the accident of birthrights and geography, (i.e., rebel camps are near their villages) - if not as communists themselves because, you know, they demand rights, schooling, support, concern for their environment, good governance and responsible practices from extractive industries.”

The sad part is that DEPED has been complicit in what is happening to the Lumad. Knowing the good people that are leading the department, I am sure that this was unintentional. How could any of them imagine that the closure of several Lumad schools earlier this year would lead to the evacuations in Bukidnon and Davao del Norte? How could a department circular allowing military and militiamen to set up camps within public schools in Lumad areas lead to the killing of the wonderful and great educator Emerito Samarca? But these are the unintended consequences when redbaiting propaganda is accepted without question. People die as a result when that happens.
My hope now is that DEPED Secretary Armin Luistro will prioritize this and take the necessary steps so further killings of educators do not happen. Among others, I respectfully suggest that the good secretary reach out to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, fellow religious and church workers who know most about what is happening to the Lumad. I have known of the work of the Rural Missionaries for decades. They have been consistent in their service to Church and people. Long before Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis, the Rural Missionaries have been immersed in the peripheries.

At the beginning of this article, I said I write this with rage, grief and guilt. I am angry because of the terrible injustice that is being done to these wonderful peoples we collectively call Lumad. I am filled with sorrow because the people that have been killed are the best of their peoples, the leaders and educators.
And I feel guilty because I did not act quickly enough. I am ashamed of myself for ignoring the signs, for using ideological and not human rights lens when this attack on the Lumad became evident.
But today, I put aside my guilt and shame aside and say: I stand by the Lumad. Today, this Filipino and this Mindanawon say: I am Lumad. Let’s all be. –


Manila Lakbayan 2015  - at Mendiola Bridge, Manila

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Manilakbayan 2015 at UP Diliman

Manilakbayan 2015 Take Off   

Manilakbayan 2015- Michelle Campos

Support for Manilakbayan 2015 

Bandila: UP community welcomes Lumad protesters   

Manilakbayan 2015- Fred Lumambas

Manilakbayan 2015 suportado ng CBCP 

The theories behind the Lumad killings | Reel Time

NPA, AFP not behind lumad killings: Loren

AFP, pinabulaanan ang alegasyong sila ang nasa likod ng 
Lumad killings sa Surigao del Sur   

Mareng Winnie: It's about time we defend the military 

Farmers barricade against the APEX mining company

Protesters from Mindanao storm mining company in Makati 

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History of Lumad
The name Lumad grew out of the political awakening among tribes during the martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. It was advocated and propagated by the members and affiliates of Lumad-Mindanao, a coalition of all-Lumad local and regional organizations which formalized themselves as such in June 1986 but started in 1983 as a multi-sectoral organization. Lumad-Mindanao’s main objective was to achieve self-determination for their member-tribes or, put more concretely, self-governance within their ancestral domain in accordance with their culture and customary laws. No other Lumad organization had had the express goal in the past.

Representatives from 15 tribes agreed in June 1986 to adopt the name; there were no delegates from the three major groups of the T'boli, the Teduray. The choice of a Cebuano word was a bit ironic but they deemed it to be most appropriate considering that the Lumad tribes do not have any other common language except Cebuano. This was the first time that these tribes had agreed to a common name for themselves, distinct from that of the Moros and different from the migrant majority and their descendants.

There are 18 Lumad ethnolinguistic groups: Atta, Bagobo, Banwaon, B’laan, Bukidnon, Dibabawon, Higaonon, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Manguwangan, Manobo, Mansaka, Subanen, Tagakaolo, TasadayTboli, Teduray, and Ubo.

According to the Lumad Development Center Inc., there are about 18 Lumad groups in 19 provinces across the country. Considered as "vulnerable groups", they live in hinterlands, forests, lowlands and coastal areas.

Katawhang Lumad are the un-Islamized and un-Christianized Austronesian peoples of Mindanao, namely Erumanen ne Menuvu`, Matidsalug Manobo, Agusanon Manobo, Dulangan Manobo, Dabaw Manobo,Ata Manobo, B'laan, Kaulo, Banwaon, Teduray, Lambangian, Higaunon, Dibabawon, Mangguwangan, Mansaka, Mandaya, K'lagan, T'boli, Mamanuwa, Talaandig, Tagabawa, and Ubu`, Tinenanen, Kuwemanen, K'lata and Diyangan. There are about 20 general hilltribes of Mindanao, all of which are Austronesian.

The term Lumad excludes the Butuanons and Surigaonons, even though these ethnic groups are also native to Mindanao, because the latter two groups are ethnically Visayans and are not closely related to the Lumad. This can be confusing, since the word lumad literally means "native" in the Visayan languages.

The Lumad are one of the few surviving human populations that have a genetic relationship with the Denisovans.
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The Bagobo (Manobo, Manuvu, Obbo, Obo) may be thought of as several groups of people, each of whom speak one of three Bagobo languages; these languages belong to the Manobo Family. Until sometime in this century, there were two major groups, which were distinguished from each other by geographic separation and by several cultural distinctions. The upland Bagobo live in the very mountainous region between the upper Pulangi and Davao rivers on Mindanao in the Philippines, whereas the coastal Bagobo once lived in the hills south and east of Mount Apo. The coastal Bagobo were influenced by Christianity, plantations, and resettlement among coastal Bisayans; they now reside either with the upland Bagobo or with the Bisayans and do not exist as a separate group.
Upland Bagobo numbered 30,000 in 1962. Their traditional subsistence is derived approximately 75 percent from swidden fields that yield rice, maize, sweet potatoes, and other crops. Twenty-five percent of their diet comes from hunting, fishing, and gathering. Some villages consist of only a few families on a hilltop and are impermanent owing to the needs of swidden farming. In larger valleys, up to 100 families may live together in more permanent villages. They are organized by bilateral kindreds that work together to pay bride-wealth, for wergild, and to form vengeance groups. Bilateral kinship reckoning, a strict incest prohibition, and small villages together make most villages exogamous. Residence is matrilocal. Until World War II, villages were autonomous and were governed by one or more datus, who were wealthy legal authorities and negotiators. After World War II, a single datu gained control over the entire area, in response to intrusions by loggers and Christian Filipinos.

The Bagobo believe in a supreme being who inhabits the sky world, as well as a deity who brings sickness and death to incestuous couples. The Bagobo are also known for their long epic
poems, tuwaang.
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The Banwaon are also known as the Adgawanon, Banuaonon, Banwanon, Higaonon-Banwaon and Manobo. There are concentrations of Banwaon's found in the island of Mindanao in the province of Agusan del Sur. The largest concentrations are in and around San Luis, Maasam and the Libang river valley.

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The B'laan is an indigenous group that is concentrated in Davao del Sur and South Cotabato. They practice indigenous rituals while adapting to the way of life of modern Filipinos.

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 The Bukidnon are one of the seven tribes in the Bukidnon plateau of Mindanao. Bukidnon means 'that of the mountains' (i.e., 'people of the mountains'), despite the fact that most Bukidnon tribes settle in the lowlands. The name Bukidnon is itself used to describe the entire province in a different context (it means 'mountainous lands' in this case).
The Bukidnon people believe in one god, Magbabaya (Ruler of All), though there are several minor gods and goddesses that they worship as well. Religious rites are presided by a baylan whose ordination is voluntary and may come from both sexes. The Bukidnons have rich musical and oral traditions  which are celebrated annually in Malaybalay city's Kaamulan Festival, with other tribes in Bukidnon (the Manobo tribes, the Higaonon, Matigsalug, Talaandig, Umayamnom, and the Tigwahanon).
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Tagakaulo is one of the tribes in Mindanao. Their traditional territories is in Davao Del Sur and the Sarangani Province particularly in the localities of Malalag, Lais, Talaguton Rivers, Santa Maria, Davao Occidental and Malita of Davao Occidental, and Malungon of the Sarangani Province. 
Tagakaulo means living in mountain. The Tagakaulo tribe originally came from the western shores of the gulf of Davao and south of Mt. Apo a long time ago.

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Manobo is the hispanized spelling of Manuvu (there is no difference between the pronunciation of orthographic ‹b› and ‹v› in Castilian Spanish; the /v/ sound was lost when translated). Its etymology is unclear; in its current form it means 'person' or 'people'.

The Manobo are an Australasian, indigenous agriculturalist population who neighbor the Mamanwa group in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. They live in barangays like the Mamanwa; however, population size is dramatically larger in the Manobo settlements in comparison to those of the Mamanwa. The two groups interact frequently although the amount of interaction varies between settlements and intermarriage is common between them.
The Manobo are probably the most numerous of the ethnic groups of the Philippines in the relationships and names of the groups that belong to this family of languages. Mention has been made of the numerous subgroups that comprise the Manobo group. The total Manobo population is not known, although they occupy core areas from Sarangani island into the Mindanao mainland in the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Davao provinces, Bukidnon, and North and South Cotabato. The groups occupy such a wide area of distribution that localized groups have assumed the character of distinctiveness as a separate ethnic grouping such as the Bagobo or the Higaonon, and the Atta. Depending on specific linguistic points of view, the membership of a dialect with a supergroup shifts.
The Manobo are genetically related to the Denisovans, much like the Mamanwa.

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The Subanons are the first settlers of the Zamboanga peninsula. The family is patriarchal while the village is led by a chief called Timuay. He acts as the village judge and is concerned with all communal matters.
History has better words to speak for Misamis Occidental. Its principal city was originally populated by the Subanon, a cultural group that once roamed the seas in great number; the province was an easy prey to the marauding sea pirates of Lanao whose habit was to stage lightning forays along the coastal areas in search of slaves. As the Subanon retreated deeper and deeper into the interior, the coastal areas became home to inhabitants from Bukidnon who were steadily followed by settlers from nearby Cebu and Bohol.

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The Higaonon is located on the provinces of Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Rogongon, Iligan City, and Lanao del Norte. Their name means "people of the wilderness". Most Higaonons have a rather traditional way of living. Farming is the most important economic activity.

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The Mamanwa is a Negrito tribe often grouped together with the Lumad. They come from Leyte, Agusan del Norte, and Surigao provinces in Mindanao; primarily in Kitcharao and Santiago, Agusan del Norte,  though they are lesser in number and more scattered and nomadic than the Manobos and Mandaya tribes who also inhabit the region. Like all Negritos, the Mamanwas are genetically distinct from the lowlanders and the upland living Manobos, exhibiting curly hair and much darker skin tones.

The Mamanwa is a Negrito tribe often grouped together with the Lumad. They come from Leyte, Agusan del Norte, and Surigao provinces in Mindanao; primarily in Kitcharao and Santiago, Agusan del Norte, though they are lesser in number and more scattered and nomadic than the Manobos and Mandaya tribes who also inhabit the region. Like all Negritos, the Mamanwas are genetically distinct from the lowlanders and the upland living Manobos, exhibiting curly hair and much darker skin tones.

These peoples are traditionally hunter-gatherers and consume a wide variety of wild plants, herbs, insects, and animals from tropical rainforest. The Mamanwa are categorized as having the "negrito" phenotype with by dark skin, kinky hair, and short stature.The origins of this phenotype (found in the Agta, Ati, and Aeta tribes in the Philippines) are a continued topic of debate, with recent evidence suggesting that the phenotype convergently evolved in several areas of southeast Asia.
However, recent genomic evidence suggests that the Mamanwa were one of the first populations to leave Africa along with peoples in New Guinea and Australia, and that they diverged from a common origin about 36,000 years ago.

Currently, Mamanwa populations live in sedentary settlements ("barangays") that are close to agricultural peoples and market centers. As a result, a substantial proportion of their diet includes starch-dense domesticated foods. The extent to which agricultural products are bought or exchanged varies in each Mamanwa settlement with some individuals continuing to farm and produce their own domesticated foods while others rely on purchasing food from market centers. The Mamanwa have been exposed to many of the modernities mainstream agricultural populations possess and use such as cell phones, televisions, radio, processed foods, etc.

The political system of the Mamanwa is informally democratic and age-structured. Elders are respected and are expected to maintain peace and order within the tribe. The chieftain, called a Tambayon, usually takes over the duties of counseling tribal members, speaking at gatherings, and arbitrating disagreements. The chieftain may be a man or a woman, which is characteristic of other gender-egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies. They believe in a collection of spirits, which are governed by the supreme deity Magbabaya, although it appears that their contact with monotheist communities/populations has made a considerable impact on the Mamanwa's religious practices. They are often taught (by Christian and Catholic rural Pilipinos) that their animistic beliefs are savage. The tribe produce excellent winnowing baskets, rattan hammocks, and other household containers.

Mamanwa (also spelled Mamanoa) means 'first forest dwellers', from the words man (first) and banwa (forest).They speak the Mamanwa language (or Minamanwa).They are genetically related to the Denisovans.

Mamanwa tribe.
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"Mandaya" derives from "man" meaning "first," and "daya" meaning "upstream" or "upper portion of a river," and therefore means "the first people upstream". It refers to a number of groups found along the mountain ranges of Davao Oriental, as well as to their customs, language, and beliefs. The Mandaya are also found in Compostela and New Bataan in Compostela (formerly a part of Davao del Norte Province)

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The term "Mansaka" derives from "mang" with literal meaning "to" and "saka" meaning "climb," and means "to climb or to ascend mountains/upstream." The term most likely describes the origin of these people who are found today in Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur. Specifically in the Batoto River, the Manat Valley, Caragan, Maragusan, the Hijo River Valley, and the seacoasts of Kingking, Maco, Kwambog, Hijo, Tagum, Libuganon, Tuganay, Ising, and Panabo.

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The Manguangan makes up the indigenous people living in the Cordillera Sugut mountains in Mindanao. Estimated to reach 3,488 in numbers in 1987,they are scattered up to the great lakes of Buayan or Maguindanao and in the territory between what is occupied by the Manobo and the Mandaya in Davao and South Cotabato. Due to this close geographic proximity with the two tribes, they usually are thought members of those although the Jesuits and others take them as a distinct ethnic group.

The Sangir or Sangil is located in the islands of Balut, Sarangani, and the coastal areas of South Cotabato and Davao del Sur. Their name comes from Sangihe, an archipelago located between Sulawesi and Mindanao. This was their original home, but they migrated northwards.

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Tagabawa is the language used by the Bagobo-Tagabawa. They are the indigenous tribe in Mindanao. They live in the surrounding areas of Mt. Apo.

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The Tasaday is a group of about two dozen people living within the deep and mountainous rainforests of Mindanao, who attracted wide media attention in 1971 when they were first "discovered" by western scientists who reported that they were living at a "stone age" level of technology and had been completely isolated from the rest of Philippine society. They later attracted attention in the 1980s when it was reported that their discovery had in fact been an elaborate hoax, and doubt was raised both about their status as isolated from other societies and even about the reality of their existence as a separate ethnic group. The question of whether Tasaday studies published in the seventies are accurate is still being discussed.

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The Tbolis are one of the indigenous peoples of South Mindanao. From the body of ethnographic and linguistic literature on Mindanao, they are variously known as Toboli, T'boli, Tböli, Tiboli, Tibole, Tagabili, Tagabeli, and Tagabulu. They term themselves Tboli or T'boli. Their whereabouts and identity are to some extent confused in the literature; some publications present the Toboli and the Tagabili as distinct peoples; some locate the Tbolis to the vicinity of the Buluan Lake in the Cotabato Basin or in Agusan del Norte. The Tbolis, then, reside on the mountain slopes on either side of the upper Alah Valley and the coastal area of Maitum, Maasim and Kiamba. In former times, the Tbolis also inhabited the upper Alah Valley floor.

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There are coastal, river, and mountain Tiruray clans, each of which has variations in dialect. In fact, Tiruray is a combination of tiru (“place of origin, birth, or residence”) and ray (from daya, meaning “upper part of a stream or river”). Their language, another distinct ethnolinguistic group, is structurally related to those of the Malayo-Polynesian family but is unintelligible even to their immediate neighbors. The majority of Tiruray habitations are in Upi, South Upi, Dinaig, and Ampatuan in Maguindanao, plus scattered populations in Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.

The primary source of income for coastal Tirurays is farming, hunting, fishing, and basket weaving; those living in the mountains engage in dry field agriculture, supplemented by hunting and the gathering of forest products. Tirurays are famous for their craftsmanship in weaving baskets with two-toned geometric designs. While many have adopted the cultures of neighboring Muslims and Christians people, a high percentage of their population still believe and practice their indigenous customs and rituals.

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Musical heritage.

Most of the Mindanao Lumad groups have a musical heritage consisting of various types of Agung ensembles – ensembles composed of large hanging, suspended or held, bossed/knobbed gongs which act as drone without any accompanying melodic instrument.

Social issues

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Lumads controlled an area which now covers 17 of Mindanao’s 24 provinces, but by the 1980 census, they constituted less than 6% of the population of Mindanao and Sulu. Significant migration to Mindanao of Visayans, spurred by government-sponsored resettlement programmes, turned the Lumads into minorities. The Bukidnon province population grew from 63,470 in 1948 to 194,368 in 1960 and 414,762 in 1970, with the proportion of indigenous Bukidnons falling from 64% to 33% to 14%.
Lumads have a traditional concept of land ownership based on what their communities consider their ancestral territories. The historian B. R. Rodil notes that ‘a territory occupied by a community is a communal private property, and community members have the right of usufruct to any piece of unoccupied land within the communal territory.’ Ancestral lands include cultivated land as well as hunting grounds, rivers, forests, uncultivated land and the mineral resources below the land.

Unlike the Moros, the Lumad groups never formed a revolutionary group to unite them in armed struggle against the Philippine government. When the migrants came, many Lumad groups retreated into the mountains and forests. However, the Moro armed groups and the Communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) have recruited Lumads to their ranks, and the armed forces have also recruited them into paramilitary organisations to fight the Moros or the NPA.

For the Lumad, securing their rights to ancestral domain is as urgent as the Moros’ quest for self-determination. However, much of their land has already been registered in the name of multinational corporations, logging companies and other wealthy Filipinos, many of whom are, relatively speaking, recent settlers to Mindanao. Mai Tuan, a T'boli leader explains, "Now that there is a peace agreement for the MNLF, we are happy because we are given food assistance like rice … we also feel sad because we no longer have the pots to cook it with. We no longer have control over our ancestral lands."
From Wikipedia

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Related story :
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Philippines :  Stop turning Mindanao into a killing fields of Lumads.

AFP denies link to Lumad killers

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Army denies hand in Lumads' killing in Surigao
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Lumads in Mindanao under attack

Mining and plantation companies will claim our ancestral lands - lumad spokesperson

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YouTube Videos
Pagpaslang sa 3 lider ng mga katutubong lumad sa Surigao del Sur, 
pinapa-imbestigahan sa Kongreso   
Attack on a Lumad School
Narrative of a witness to the Lumad killings
Michelle, daughter of slain lumad leader Dionel Campos
Private army in Bukidnon shoots at unarmed Lumads; gov't complicit 

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