By MARYA SALAMAT
Participants of Lakbayan 2017 blamed martial law for the delay encountered by 99 participants from Butuan City yesterday, August 22.
Twice on August 22, a 250-strong caravan of Lakbayanis from Southern Mindanao was stopped and questioned at military and police checkpoints in Butuan. In both instances, they were told to show “valid” identifications cards. It is a requirement imposed on motorists and commuters since Mindanao was placed under martial law last May.
The Lumad Lakbayanis from Southern Mindanao were held by Coast Guard authorities in Butuan City Port on August 21 as they were about to board the ship to Cebu. The Coast Guard said they didn’t have valid IDs even as the Lakbayanis already held travel tickets and ID’s issued by their regional organization.
Jabar Teo, 22, a former student now working with Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, told Bulatlat that the soldiers and the police at the Butuan pier did not honor their PASAKA-issued IDs. The PASAKA is a regional organization of Lumad that early last year crafted with the Department of Social Welfare and Development a rehabilitation program for the evacuees from militarization.
The authorities demanded government-issued IDs although, in last year’s Lakbayan, Teo said, the same ID they have now was allowed and recognized.
Military’s disapproval of their current IDs forced 99 Lakbayanis to stay in Butuan
“We’re doing all we can to secure new ID’s valid for soldiers and policemen,“ Teo said. They are scheduled to board the ship on its next schedule leaving Butuan City on Thursday, August 24.
With Teo were minorities from Marawi, North Cotabato, Marbai, Davao, Talaingod. The Lakbayanis are scheduled to meet up with other members of the indigenous people in Manila on September this year.
Some 350 Moro and Lumad from their contingent succeeded in crossing the sea to reach Cebu and meet up with other Lakbayanis gathering in that city. They are all scheduled to arrive in Metro Manila by August 31.