A Journey Through Contested Lands: Philippines

Chien-Chi Chang documents the ongoing attacks against the indigenous people of the southern Philippines islands of Mindanao, as told through the eyes of now-displaced survivors.

Mindanao is an area that's rich in natural resources: a 2006 memo by the U.S. embassy (and disseminated by Wikileaks) estimated its resources, namely natural gas and oil, could be worth upwards of $1 trillion. But Mindanao also has a history of violence and military abuse, particularly toward indigenous people, who have often been displaced by profit-hungry mining and logging companies. Most recently, the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani has been accused of a series of murders and torture, allegedly intended to spark panic among those who refuse to give up their land. The Philippine military claims any killings are a result of inter-tribal wars; human rights groups around the world disagree. In this photo essay, Chien-Chi documents the hardships of displacement, particularly among indigenous women. 

A Retreat From Massacre

The T'boli-Dulangan Manobo, an indigenous group in the Philippines, lived peacefully in the village of Sitio Datalbonglangon—until the country's armed forces showed up.