Drawn from the context of the conducted multi-sited two-year ethnography with the internally displaced Lumad ethnolinguistic groups in Manila and Mindanao, Southern Philippines also known as Lumad “bakwit” (evacuees) before and during the militarized lockdown and global COVID-19 pandemic, this Ph.D. research project provides a transdisciplinary, theoretical, methodological, and empirical narrative of the impact of the militarized pandemic in the Philippines on the internally displaced Lumad evacuees who politically act, resist, and speak out on issues such as human rights violations, environmental plunder of their ancestral domain, widespread state-sponsored impunity, and deprivation of social services.

The Ph.D. project theorizes the various context, forms, continuities, and emergent ontologies of political conflict and violence as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research elucidates the politics of everyday lived experience of the Lumad, the survival strategies against the attacks, human and non-human relationships vis a vis land and food during the militarised lockdown, creative response to violent social media disinformation, terrorist tagging, red-tagging and vilifications against them, and the recreation and reimaginations of city and public spaces as the spaces of desubalternization despite the shrinking of democratic spaces in the Philippines. Methodologically, it theorizes con tangere as a methodology of activist-researchers in distressed and volatile contexts by relating the concept to research as solidarity/ or solidarity as research, contiguities and contingencies, compounding and coordinating methods (its grammatology). The paper argues that these methods may be an orientating device to explore the frontiers of knowing, doing, and gathering “difficult knowledge” in politically violent zones.

  • Funding: University of the Philippines Faculty REPS and Administrative Staff Development Program
  • Time period: April 2022-March 2025
  • People Involved: Clod Marlan Krister Yambao (PhD students), Jeroen Adam (supervisor)