When its the ant’s view, not the birds eye view that matters
He willingly accepted our “invitation” for a courtesy call posed as a quick stop over. D.A., a known and even vocal advocate and leader of Lumads in Mindanao received us warmly in his humble shed-reception hall-meeting place made of bamboo. It was despite our short notice.
My colleague J.J. and DA knew each other for quite a while and with their mutual respect and admiration for each other’s works, it is obviously the reason of the warmness.
DA talked openly about what has kept him busy over the years: the life, plight and struggle of the Lumads in Mindanao. He is part of a group of lumad leaders working together to assert their role in today’s Mindanao, their aspirations, their futures and lives.
I could not articulate fully the advocacy of DA. Especially with my respect for him and his people I will not attempt to do it. I will wait for the right time when he and his groups will be the one to tell what they are doing to the publics.
But talking to him in that road side abode over native coffee brew and rural ambience made me realize the immense amount of knowledge I still did not get over realities in Mindanao.
I was actually in a trip to Cotabato City when we decided about that stop over. More than three hours later and 120 kilometers deeper into Central Mindanao, we figured in another landscape of realities.
We spent time discussing with officials from the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies, a partnership for the Grassroots Documentation and Reporting Training.
In that side of the world, I heard them speak about the immense issue of what happens to the communities when the International Monitoring Team (IMT) pulls out from Mindanao starting May 10. For them the issue is worrisome and is sidelining the grassroots issue of increasing prices of fuel and rice prices.
The IMT has been attributed to a big amount of reduction of violations to the ceasefire agreement between the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
I believe that my encounters of DA and the IBS people thrust to me up front my need to dig deeper to understand the issues that I claim I report on Mindanao.
And I realized that focusing so much on the big newsmakers in the wide spectrum kept me traversing the issues so thinly.
Almost as always, visits to the communities — the avenues for “groundtruthing” and the backdoors that the mainstream so much oversee — keeps me on track or at least propels me to catch up with my own research backlogs.
The bigger and more immediate newsmakers are the Malaysians. At least from the way it is seen now. But what caused the Malaysians to be the newsmaker are the real newsmakers.
If Malaysia is pulling out because its the annual routine, OK. But there are rumors the pull out is out because the Malaysians are fed up with the GRP?
There is still a lot more complicated, entangled, connected and hidden matters behind it. At least, again, from my own ant’s view.