PHOTO ESSAY | ‘We will defend our land and culture, even with our primitive weapons’
May 29, 2014
Photojournalist Boy Bagwis, on May 13 to 15, joined the national fact-finding and humanitarian mission to investigate the displacement of more than a thousand Manobos in Talaingod, Davao del Norte due to heavy military presence and intimidation. The Talaingod Manobos, according to anthropologists, are one of the least accessible (to lowlanders) indigenous groups in Mindanao, and have been among the most vigilant and organized in preserving their indigenous culture and defending their ancestral domain from foreign intrusion and exploitation. During the mid-90s, Talaingod Manobos successfully drove away one of the biggest logging companies in Mindanao that threatened Talaingod and Pantaron Range, one of the few remaining virgin rainforests in the country. This indigenous community, with some help from indigenous rights advocates and people’s organizations, has developed its own local economy, maintaining communal farms and mechanized milling, among others. The mission was conducted a week after more than a thousand Manobos returned to Talaingod after the military agreed to withdraw from their communities.