We know Apad and his poetry of rage.
We know JR. We know Angelique. And Precy, the widow.
We met them last year, talked with them, ate with them, watched some crazy movie about some talking cat with them (the boys went, duh?).
That time, our peti-burgis minds went into overdrive:
Why did these children, who said they live in the mountains, speak so well? Where did they get to be so fluent in Filipino and even in English?
What made them so articulate as they shifted topics, from oppression, to math and science and the planets and music?
Now we know all about the award-winning lumad alternative schools. The award is mainly for academics, for the good scores their students get on equivalency tests.
But that is just half the story.
In Alcadev and the TRIPPS schools, they eat better than most lumad children in areas where communities are not organised. They wake early to farm. They eat the food they plant; learn to share life chores. They also learn to value the land that gives life to their people.
They are taught pride in their culture, in their history. They are taught independence and taught that they are equal to everyone else. They are taught about the rights of citizens.
This is what their enemies fear.
Because the downtrodden and the weak are easily shoved aside in the stampede for Mindanao’s lush resources.
Because the powers-that-be cannot stand the sight of lumad who do not grovel.
They are hunted for a simple reason. They are hunted because they act like free humans and not the slaves the powers want them to be.