Hundreds of youth, students welcome the national minorities in Manila to commence Lakbayan 2016
Students from various universities and colleges in Metro Manila led by the National Union of Students of the Philipines (NUSP) welcome the Lakbayanis, comprised of national minorities from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, October 13 to set off this year’s historic Lakbayan.
Consist of delegates from Southern Tagalog, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Panay, Central Visayas, and Mindanao, this year’s Lakbayan highlights the unity of the different national minorities to continue fighting for their right to ancestral land and to self-determination towards achieving long-lasting peace which is based on social justice.
“Today, hundreds of youth and students join the national minorities in fighting for their right to land, peace, justice, and self-determination. Being the hope of this nation, we are challenged to create a just society for the national minorities, and we can only do this by being one with their struggles,” Kevin Castro, NUSP spokesperson said.
Students from University of Santo Tomas, University of the East, San Sebastian College, and National Teachers College conducted a “Salubongan,” a traditional welcoming ceremonies, at the University Belt to receive the national minorities from the northern regions of the Philippines. Students from De La Salle University, St. Scholastica College, and University of the Philippines – Manila performed the same ceremonies at Taft Avenue for those who will be coming from the southern regions of the country. Both delegations proceeded to march to Mendiola to commence the conduct of events of Lakbayan 2016.
“Lakbayan 2016 is an avenue for students and youth to recognize the issues faced by the national minorities. More than a spectacle of identities, this aims to showcase that different cultures can unite to be victorious in facing an encompassing similar struggle among all national minorities – the fight to protect their self-determination,” Castro added.
After a short solidarity program at Mendiola, the Lakbayan delegates went to the University of the Philippines – Diliman to settle down. Prior the start of Lakbayan, student and youth volunteers build the Kampuhan, the area where the national minorities will be staying in for two weeks.
“The collective efforts of the youth and the national minorities create a strong foundation that serves as a platform to forward the greater cause of the Filipino people. The youth are committed to fight for the rights of the national minorities, and this pledge will persist even after this year’s Lakbayan,” Castro ended. ###