Mural of Lumad martyrs unveiled by workers in protest caravan

Workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno welcomed the protest caravan of Lumad people from Mindanao in front of the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila this morning with a mural depicting three Lumad leaders who were massacred last Septembre 1 in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

The mural, carried aloft by workers as they joined the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao 2015, depicted Emerito Samarca, executive director of Lumad school Alcadev, Dionel Campos, chairman of a regional federation of Lumad organizations, and Jovello Sinzo, Campos’s cousin.

It was created by a team led by University of the Philippines Fine Arts student Melvin Pollero, who is also an organizer and educator of the KMU, and was accompanied with a cloth streamer containing the slogans “Stop Lumad killings! Military pullout now! Junk Oplan Bayanihan! Stop the plunder in Mindanao!”

“Samarca, Campos and Sinzo have become the symbols of the Lumad people who are being targeted with massacres and other human-rights violations. Their massacre at the hands of paramilitary groups backed up by the military awakened many people about the plight of the Lumad,” said Roger Soluta, KMU vice-chairperson.

The labor leader said the popularity of the three, whose death immediately sparked the popular hashtag #StopLumadKillings, was caused by the swift condemnation made by workers, netizens and many sectors of society.

“They are not only symbols of the victimization of the Lumad. They have become symbols, and at the same time catalysts, of the Lumad’s resistance and the unity being extended by workers and all Filipinos to that resistance,” Soluta added.

KMU said that despite the Aquino government’s efforts to mislead the public about the perpetrators of the Lianga massacre, it cannot erase the popular belief that the military and its paramilitary groups were responsible for the crime.

“Aside from the testimony of the witnesses, the Aquino government’s Oplan Bayanihan clearly points to the military as the perpetrator of the crime. The counter-insurgency program clearly states that the Lumad is a target of the military,” Soluta stated.

The workers set up the mural at the Manilakbayan’s campout in UP Diliman, and called on the public to visit the campout to hear the stories of the Lumad and extend support and solidarity to them.