DAVAO CITY – Christmas celebration is not part of the culture of the indigenous peoples, but on this season of giving, a Lumad leader shared that he wish the Philippine government sees their plight.
Juanito Binaton, 47, is a Kulamanon-Matigsalug from Barangay White Kulaman in Kitaotao town, Bukidnon province, For him to see a lot of other Lumads across the city to beg for Christian charity on Christmas was a heartache.
For it is not in their culture to celebrate Christmas, but because of lack of access to social services and support for their farming, the Lumads are forced to do something that is not in their tradition.
The Lumads come here every year during Christmas. More than 25,000 are here in the city sheltering in barangay gymnasiums.
“Wala sa amoa ang Pasko. Sa tinuod lang nahitabo lang nga naa nay lumad nga mamasko dihang na-impluwensyahan, natudluan na sa mga langyaw nga nakahibalo sa Pasko (We don’t have Christmas. The truth is the Lumads were only influenced, taught by outsiders about Christmas),” he said.
“Gani wala mi nakahibalo kung kanus- mi nanganak. Wala mi kahibalo unsa ang mga ngalan sa adlaw, bulan. Diha na mi nakahibalo nga natudluan na mi nga naa diay mga ngalan sa bulan, nga naay mahimong pasko ug bag-ong tuig (We don’t even have an idea when we give birth. We don’t know the names of the days and months.We only learned about it when we were taught that there are names for months and that there is Christmas and New Year),” said Binaton.
Binaton said the Lumads only look at the moon as a guide when to farm.
“Wala mi idea sa petsa, nagabase lang mi sa bulan. Sa bulan mi nagatan-aw. Ug magsubang ang bulan diri (left side) kung magtanom mi, usa namo tan-awon ang bulan. Kung maghimatayon ang bulan dili pwede nga mag-tanom mi. himatayon kanang maglunod na didto dili na magpakita, kanang dulom na (We don’t know the dates, we only have the moon as guide. If the moon is there, then we can plant our crops, if the moon is not there, then we cannot go to our farms),” he said.
He said Lumads only sing and dance for an activity in the community and that they “prohibit” the use of their traditional songs and dances as a means of earning money.
“Dili himoon nga kanang ikapital nga himoon ang tradisyon namo, kanang pagsayaw nga pinaagi sa kudlung, nga himoong ikapital. Wala na sa tradisyon sa lumad. Magamit lang namo ang mga sayaw namo kung naa mi activity sama sa mga kaslunon namo nga tribu. Diha pwede ka magsayaw para pahinungod nimo sa ginakasal ug maglagtik ka og humay para lipay lipay mo didto nanalamat ka nga ikaw makaharvest na sa humay pwede nga gamiton nimo ang tradisyon nga magsayaw ug magkanta para pagpanalamat nga gihatagan ka og dako dako nga grasya (We don’t capitalize our tradition lke dancing while playing the kudlung (native instrument). It is not in our tradition. We only dance if there is an activity like a wedding. We dance as our offer to the newly-weds and during rice harvest, we celebrate to give thanks, we dance and sing because we are thankful for the blessings),” he said.
But Binaton said he cannot blame their kin if they see the need to come to the city during Christmas.
“Dili pud nako mabasol ang mga lumad tungod wala mi nakita sa gubyerno, wala mi nakita sa lgu. Mao na tungod sa kalisdanan namo, bisan dili namo tradisyon ang pamasko makasunod na lang mi sa pasko tungod sa kawad-on namo (I cannot blame the Lumads because he government cannot see us, the local government unit does not see us. That’s why because of poverty,even if it’s not our tradition to celebrate Christmas, we are forced to follow this tradition),” he said.
Binaton is not a Lumad who is here for Christmas season. Their family is among the more than 50 families of Kulamanon-Matigsalug who evacuated from their community on August 26-27 this year.
Binaton is among the hundreds of evacuees who are here in the city to seek refuge because of “militarization” in their community.
He saw the other Lumads for Christmas carolling and begging in the gym on their way to the Army camp in Panacan here during the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day. They demanded to pull out the military from their community.
A Buhangin barangay official estimated that 8,000 individuals are housed inside the Buhangin gym where Binaton saw the other Lumads. Some of the Lumads are staying by the roadside because of the lack of space inside the gym.(davaotoday.com)