support from friends

Dearest Mik-Mik,
I started as an organizer and human rights defender of my own rights, of our fellow indigenous peoples in the
community, and of other indigenous communi<es as well.

I was an 18 years old and as youth when I became aware of our poor situa<on, lack of financial capacity to
con<nue studying to a higher level. Like you, I grew up in a community experiencing the different forms of
harassment and violence that the “Abyangs” (Tagalogs) that come to our place do the chea<ng in coun<ng
and paying our forest products, violence brought by military opera<ons implemen<ng development projects
which threaten our means of livelihood, most especially our rights to resources, ancestral lands, and
self .determina<on

When I was living in our community, I became the military’s target to silence me and stop me from con<nuing
my ac<vi<es to educate, organize, and mobilize our indigenous brother and sisters on the social issues and
having alliance with the farmers in our community. I experienced being shot between my feet and chase by
the military’s armored vehicle. My strong determina<on, commitment and broad thinking in upholding my
principles and ac<vi<es mo<vate me to con<nue and fight for my basic rights as an indigenous and ci<zen of
our country.

For me to con<nue these ac<vi<es, I always think that I can proceed if I am with the people in the community,
my colleagues in the organiza<on, and be able to speak in forums and group discussions to share the
condi<on and circumstances of our fellow indigenous peoples in the community.
I s<ll provide some <me to take care of myself, cook simple food, and bond with old and new friends to build
support from friends that are not directly involved in my ac<vi<es.
Expected to lead the ac<vi<es especially in figh<ng for our basic rights to the lands, resources, and our self
determina<on, I need to clearly analyze the current situa<on and issues that our organiza<on and community
It is very important for us to hold to our principles and the roles that we need to lead. Always remember the
principle of unity, may it be a personal problem or of the community. Always remember that we are a big part
of our organiza<on and community. It is essen<al for us to be open in our plans or thoughts for ourselves and
the community.
Do not also forget and set aside assessing our ac<vi<es and ourselves based on our individual responsibili<es
and ac<ons.
Always remember that our individual strength comes from valuable experiences and lessons from our
previous experiences and ac<vi<es.
It will not stop us as a human rights defender and protector of our ancestral lands and self determina<on!

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