INTERNALLY displaced indigenous peoples have turned a portion of the Tandag Sports Complex in Surigao del Sur into a garden.
This is apparently inspired by the advocacy of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Development (Alcadev), an award-winning school branded by soldiers and armed militia as a New People’s Army school.
The urban gardening project is a collective effort of the evacuees. It is just a part of the community’s own development plan to address their socioeconomic needs as they are awaiting for their return to their upland communities — their ancestral lands.
“In their hinterland communities, lumad plant a variety of vegetable crops in farms. Both communal and individual farms are established. Each community has a sustainable agriculture committee, which conducts a series of farm surveys to evaluate traditional practices, including how they apply agricultural skills and knowledge of sustainable agriculture,” said Alcadev in a post on Facebook.
The lumad, it added, have “effectively put into practice the methods of organic farming they learned from agriculture trainings. It is clear that the lumads have embraced the significance of education in their lives.”
This education, the group said, is the kind that “widens their understanding of how to defend their rights and to develop the capacity to protect themselves from deception by others who would try to do so.”
Because of the failure of the government to provide the lumad with education, alternative schools such as Alcadev play significant roles in filling the gap, providing the communities with the knowledge and skills for them to survive.
In September, the evacuees abandoned their communities following threats from soldiers and armed Bagani militia who killed the executive director of Alcadev, Emeritu Samarca.
The militia also killed tribal leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo. | JMT/Photos from Alcadev