Author: Elliott Gabriel
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Philippine Statistics Authority.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines, AFP, have been accused of displacing the indigenous Lumad people in Mindanao and blocking aid shipments of basic food staples from displaced families numbering in the hundreds, comprising over 1.5 thousand evacuees including hundreds of children.
The food blockade, as civil society groups and social movements have called it, is the largest-scale human rights violation to be alleged following President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown against perceived sympathizers of the communist New People's Army. On Saturday, Philippine social media was flooded with tweets and posts bearing the trending #NoToFoodBlockade hashtag.
According to the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, or ALCADEV, 345 families comprising 1,688 individuals from 15 communities were displaced in late November amid increased military counterinsurgency operations by the Philippine military.
The displaced are now facing restricted food access in their evacuation centers, where assistance by aid organizations and human rights monitors has proven nearly impossible.
“This is the second the time IPs (Indigenous peoples) in the said area have to evacuate after President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao (in May). Along with this is a spate of human rights violations and killings all over the country,” the non-governmental organization said in a statement released Sunday.