CONVERGENCE

On 01 September 2017, more than 3,000 Moro and Indigenous Peoples converged in Manila to demand that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fulfill his promise to bring genuine peace and development to national minorities.

However, during Duterte’s first year in office, more than 40 Moro and Indigenous Peoples have become victims of extrajudicial killings. Military forces and the Maute group have also been fighting in central Mindanao, displacing over 500,000 people, most of them Moros. Many of the internally displaced people live in evacuation camps where food and other basic necessities are scarce. Thousands more Indigenous Peoples have been displaced from their ancestral lands due to militarization and development aggression.

The first day of Lakbayan 2017 featured the Salubungan (Convergence) in Manila, where national minorities from all over the Philippines met with each other in a symbolic show of unity for the struggle for self-determination. In a collaborative project by Lente’s members, this photo essay shows the faces of the national minorities who continue to struggle so that future generations may finally be free.

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With one blood. National minorities from across the country are joined by advocates from different groups in calling for an end to militarization of their communities and lands. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Students from alternative schools in Mindanao demand an end to military attacks on Lumad schools. Justice has remained elusive for the victims of violations perpetrated by State security forces.  (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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With clenched fists, Moro and Lumad representatives from Mindanao lead the march to merge with their brothers and sisters from the Northern and Central parts of the country. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Doctors, nurses and other health workers welcome national minorities as they arrive in Manila. Progressive health groups have been providing medical assistance to participants of Lakbayan for years now. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Nuns and teachers from a Catholic school joyously welcome the national minorities. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Warm handshakes and embraces amid clenched fists was a sight to behold as religious Catholics welcome brothers and sisters from different religions and cultures. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Lakbayan 2017 shows how religion does not impede respect as a Moro leader shows regard to a Catholic nun. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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A Catholic nun holds a sign of her commitment to defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Supporters and advocates of peace await the delegates of the Lakbayan in the shrine of revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio in Manila. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Students of Mindanao alternative schools once again set foot in the streets of Manila, the country’s capital. For several years, they have unwaveringly fought for their right to education despite attacks from State security forces. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Moro and Indigenous youth stand beneath the statue of Bonifacio, who has long been a symbol of revolutionary resistance against oppression. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Lakbayan marchers carry painted representations of different national minority groups struggling for self-determination in the Philippines. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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Environmentalists and scientists denounce large-scale destructive mining in the Philippines; most of large-scale mining and energy projects are located in national minorities’ ancestral lands and domains. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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A protester holds a placard placing the responsibility of human rights violations against national minorities on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). (Photo by Mark Ambay III/Lente)

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Indigenous Peoples from different countries joined the call for self-determination of national minorities in the Philippines. (Photo by Amihan Euza Mabalay/Lente)

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An Aeta man from Central Luzon uses hats to show his resistance against development aggression and the impending construction of the Balog-balog Dam on Aeta lands, which will displace thousands of Aetas from their ancestral lands. (Photo by Mark Ambay III/Lente)

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Datu Jimboy Mandaguit, a chieftain from the Tigwahanon Manobo people of Bukidnon province, listens intently with his people to the Salubungan program in Mendiola. Last year, paramilitary forces rained down bullets on his village, killing a pregnant Manobo woman and injuring several others. (Photo by Mark Ambay III/Lente)

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National minorities use this bonfire to symbolize the commitment in their hearts to continue the struggle for self-determination. (Photo by Mark Ambay III/Lente)

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Moro and Indigenous Peoples use torches as light to guide their way in their struggle. (Photo by Kilab Multimedia/Lente)

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Protesters throw paint bombs at a picture of Rodrigo Duterte to show their anger at Duterte’s rising militarist tendencies. (Photo by Emmanuel Halabaso/Lente)

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Protesters vow to fight martial law, Duterte’s all-out war against the national minorities, and encroachment of development aggression on ancestral lands. (Photo by Mark Ambay III/Lente)

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The Igorot peoples of northern Luzon protest violations of Indigenous rights through this traditional Igorot dance. (Photo by Mark Ambay III/Lente)

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With clenched fists raised, Moro and Indigenous Peoples march for self-determination. (Photo by Kilab Multimedia/Lente)

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Church officials show support in the struggle of national minorities. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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National minorities and students and employees of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City meet to renew their ties. U.P. Diliman has already played host to the Lakbayanis in  2015 and 2016. (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan meets with Moro and Indigenous leaders to officially welcome them back to campus grounds as “visiting professors.” (Photo by Efren Ricalde/Lente)

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National minority leaders renew unity and commitment to struggle for their rights. (Photo by Emmanuel Halabaso/Lente)

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Torches serve as light for the program during the welcoming ceremonies in U.P. Diliman. (Photo by Ipe Soco/Lente)

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These flames, symbolising the unity in the fight for self-determination of national minorities and for human rights, burn strong. (Photo by Ipe Soco/Lente)

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