Jinky Malibato, 15, is one of the few brave youths who continually represent the voice of the oppressed Lumads. Jinky, together with the many Lumads from Kapalong, Talaingod and Bukidnon, opted to take refuge in UCCP Haran in Davao City due to the militarization of lumad communities. She is on her 6th grade under the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) Academy.

With the help from support groups and theology teachers, the lumad children visited various classes in Holy Cross of Davao College and Ateneo de Davao Univeristy. The children tell stories of how the military and para-military elements continue to subjugate their peaceful communities in attempt to juice out the New People’s Army.

In classes, Jinky together with her cousin, Alvin, would talk about their dreams of studying in their classrooms without the threats from the military. “Bahala na dili ing-ani ang classroom basta makaswela mi nga hapsay (We want to study peacefully even if the rooms aren’t like this),” Alvin said. At such a young age, Alvin already stood for what he believed in. He went against his familiy’s choice to go back to their community in exchange of 5,000pesos and a sack of rice. He is now speaking in behalf of the Lumads.

As for Jinky, she would talk about how she views the students in big schools as lucky ones, especially that they have a lot of fancy materials and a peaceful environment.

Jinky fights for her dreams. In a short interview with LIYAB, Jinky narrated how their teachers moved to Haran and still continued their classes in English, Math, Science, Filipino and Makabayan. She said that their Sir Ricky Balilid continued to educate them despite their situation. Someday, Jinky wanted to become a teacher and later serve her community.

Jinky spoke about how her own ‘iyaan’ – local word for aunt – just gave birth about a week ago. Jinky does not only fight for her own dreams. Even before her own dream of becoming a teacher comes to reality, another generation had sprung in Haran – another generation of dreams that are threatened by oppression of those in power. Jinky fights for these children and their dreams.

Written by Vincent Carlo Cuzon