Driven from home, Philippine indigenous people long for their land

As Philippine military battalions closed in, shutting down schools, rounding up men and harassing women, Tungig Mansumuy had to make a tough decision: stay and protect their homes, or flee to save their lives and risk losing their land.

After discussions with other tribesmen, Mansumuy, the chief of a Lumad tribe in Mindanao island, decided they had to leave and seek shelter until martial law was lifted and it was safe to return to their homes in Talaingod village.

A few men stayed behind to guard their homes, while the rest fled by foot in February, carrying few belongings as they made the two-day trek down the mountain, Mansumuy said.

Today 244 of them, mostly women and children, are in rickety shelters of bamboo and tarpaulin in the middle of a banana plantation in Madaum village, about 80 km (50 miles) from Davao City, with no inkling of when they can return to their homes.

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