AMP visits Lumads; commits to report issues to international community

The Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen (AMP – Action Network Human Rights Philippines) is a network organization in Germany that advocates Human Rights issues in the Philippines. It was founded in August 2007 during the peak of Extra-Judicial Killings in the Philippines. AMP pursues the objective to contribute to the improvement of the human rights situation in the Philippines by educating and influencing policy and decision makers as well as representatives of the civil society in Germany and the EU. Since its foundation in August 2007, the network coordinates policy dialogues, campaigns and international events and publishes background papers about the human rights situation in the Philippines. Member Organizations of the AMP are Amnesty International Germany, Bread for the World - Church Development Service (EED), International Peace Observers Network (IPON), Misereor, Missio Munich, philippinenbuero Inc. in Asia House and the United Evangelical Mission (UEM

Every year a delegation of the Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen (AMP – Action Network Human Rights Philippines) visits for a human rights mission, investigating and assessing the human rights situation in the country. This year Johaness Icking, the Project Coordinator of AMP visited Mindanao, particularly the evacuees at the Tandag Sports Complex in Tandag, Surigao Del Sur and United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran compound in Davao City. He was accompanied by PNFSP staff Renmin Vizconde during his visit at the Tandag Sports Complex last February 1-3.

Visit in Tandag

On his encounter with the Lumad Elders, he was enlightened with the history of the Lumads and their culture. The Elders expressed their dismay with the presence of the para-military and military in their compounds and the people who are responsible for the killings are still at large. Their only wish is to return to their houses. They are disappointed on how the government handles the situation and that they can’t do anything to make the military forces leave their lands.

Afterwards, the teachers shared their stories, and they were emotional all throughout the session with Icking. According to the teachers, most of them were graduates of TRIFPSS and ALCADEV, and they decided to come back to the school and teach the students what they had learned. They believe that’s the best way to repay their gratitude to the school where they learned everything and the best way to help their community improve and preserve their culture. They have been so thankful to their alma mater, because without it, the Lumad children will remain illiterate and discriminated against. Both schools taught them their rights and responsibilities as the people of their society.

When it was the turn of the students to share their stories, some students were hesitant while others were pro-active in expressing themselves. Icking asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up, and most wanted to teach in ALCADEV or TRIFFPPS as well.

After the discussions, the compound was filled with music and chants as the Cultural night happened. In a solidarity speech, Icking said that the Lumads have the support of the international community. He is committed in bringing up the issues of the Lumads at the United Nations as well.

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