Children of indigenous tribes in Mindanao fight for their right to education as the fight between the government and rebel troops worsens, leaving the children in the middle of this armed conflict.
President Duterte declared Martial Law to quell the ongoing conflicts between the government and communist groups in Mindanao, and this declaration led to the attacks on the Lumad—the indigenous tribes of the island—which they accuse of conspiring with the rebels. Paramilitary groups have ransacked Lumad-built schools and murdered not just tribal leaders but school heads as well. The violence has forced several indigenous tribes to leave their ancestral homes behind, while the military build camps inside their towns. In the midst of it all, the children have become collateral damage.
Indigenous communities in Bukidnon, Mindanao were forced to evacuate last year after the military intensified its occupation of their ancestral homes due to alleged presence of communist rebels. Military bomber planes hovered over their towns as paramilitary groups seize their houses and schools and killed five tribe leaders to scare them off their areas. The government is accusing the Lumad schools as fronts for rebel activities and communist integration. With the violence thrown at them, the tribes have no choice but to flee, and the children are caught in this conflict.
The documentary focuses on the struggles of Lumad children as they become collateral damage to the ongoing conflicts between the government and the rebels groups. The film follows the journey of the Lumad children as they escape from the violence, constantly transferring from one place to another just to continue their schooling. Chriselyn Empong, a 14-year old Manobo girl who chose to fight for her right even in the midst of an on-going war that separated her from her family, tries to live normally inside their new resettlement school, continuing her studies together with other Lumad children. However, the threat that they’re trying to escape from hasn’t vanished. As they continue their protests against the militarization, there have been reports of suspicious-looking men lurking around their settlement. Despite this, Chriselyn, together with her classmates, vowed to proceed with their demonstrations. She says the only way to regain their lands and their way of life is to fight for their rights.