Thousands of indigenous folk to watch Duterte's SONA

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 16 2016 04:17 PM | Updated as of Jul 16 2016 04:19 PM

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MANILA - Some 3,000 indigenous people from Mindanao will travel to Manila to watch President Rodrigo Duterte's first address to the nation next week to highlight what they describe as the "militarization" of their communities, one of their leaders said Saturday.

Indigenous groups are hopeful that Duterte, the country's first president from Mindanao, will listen to their grievances, said Kernal Fanagel, of the Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organization in Southern Mindanao.

"Ito'y para iparating namin sa bagong Pangulong Digong ang amin pa ding patuloy na problema na mga Lumad na patuloy na nakakaranas ng militarisasyon," Fanagel said, addressing Duterte by his nickname.

Communist party leaders, who have reopened peace negotiations with Duterte, earlier called on the president to prioritize the safe return of indigenous folk to their strife-torn communities. - Report from Abner Mercado, ABS-CBN News

READ: Bringing the Lumad home a Duterte priority, says NDF official