The Sama Dilaut: Their Life During and After the Mindanao War

By JOHNNY R. LEE, Ph.D.

The life of Sama Dilaut was never the same again after that ‘war’ which devastated not only their peaceful way of life but also caused their lives as victims of atrocities committed by forces from both sides. 

For instance they were made as slaves to procure food supplies from the sea at no cost at all for their efforts. In some extreme cases they were made as human guinea pigs ‘to test the efficiency and effectiveness’ of certain guns and firearms issued or obtained by violent rebel groups. There were also reported cases of rapes among their women. Human rights violations against the Sama Dilaut were never so pronounced at those times but who cares when lawlessness prevails within their midst?

Just like small fishes seeking protection from their predator, the Sama Dilaut has to blend with the mainstream populations no matter how ‘awkward’ it is for them because all their life from generations to generations has been confined to live among their kinds and the sea is their homeland. 

Living outside the realm of their comfort zone, the Sama Dilaut has to embrace the way of life that is entirely different from theirs. Their social and economic activities have to be restrained in conformity with the social norms of ‘modernity’ as dictated by the community where they live. Johnny R. Lee

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