By Gabriel Kuhn
The Philippine Local Autonomous Network (LAN) wants to provide support for people displaced due to the armed conflict in the country’s south.
The Local Autonomous Network (LAN) connects community groups around the Philippines. The activists seek to continue a tradition of grassroots resistance to colonial and state rule that they identify as a central feature of indigenous life on the islands constituting the modern Philippine nation-state. This perspective is summarized in Bas Umali’s essay “Archipelagic Confederation: Advancing Genuine Citizens’ Politics through Free Assemblies and Independent Structures from the Barangay and Communities”.
LAN-affiliated groups run Food Not Bombs chapters, organize lectures and festivals, install solar power (“harnessing the power of the sun against the state and market institutions”), and tour with the Mobile Anarchist School in some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods.
In 2013, they coordinated efforts to support people who had lost their homes after the typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) had caused devastation in the province of Leyte. LAN provided food, medical supplies, and solar panels. Members of the network were also involved in stress-relief activities for children.
Now, LAN members are planning a trip to Mindanao where thousands of people have been displaced in the wake of clashes between government troops and insurgents acting in the name of the Islamic State. In a communiqué, LAN writes:
“There are thousands of internally displaced individuals and families in Mindanao areas. … Most of them are in dire needs of medical supplies, food, water, clothing, and students are also in need of supplies for their schooling. … Currently, we are in the process of gathering support among our network (autonomous activists and anarchists). We are planning to travel to witness the actual situation of the refugees scattered around different parts of Mindanao. We are in the process of identifying safe locations where we can have direct interaction with the victims of aggression. A few comrades went there in advance to gather information.”
LAN members are looking for support in their efforts. People are encouraged to get in touch with the coordinating group, the Onsite Infoshop (an “anarchist and autonomous community-based resource center in Muntinlupa, South Manila”) at onsiteinfoshopphilippines[at]gmail.com.