Matigsalog Tribe representative Dadong Gumatao called for help especially from the educated youth in fighting for their rights on ancestral homelands.
“This is the right time to ask your help on how can we fight this or how we can survive this kind of development or how can we protect our ancestral land or how can we preserve the environment that we are living now,” he said.
During a forum called “Laudato Si’: Further Reflection on Integral Ecology and Common Goods,” Gumatao shared how investors court indigenous leaders to give their ancestral homelands and how the destruction of the forest affects their source of living.
“I am afraid because many IP communities are threatened of many things, so I need your help on how we can survive, how can we sustain our defense on our land and protect our mother nature,” he explained.
The disagreement regarding their homeland and forest preservation, however, often leads to the misinterpretation that their community is against development.
In support to the needs of the marginalized and the indigenous people (IP), Rev. Fr. Patrick Riordan, SJ presented the significance of the experiences of IP whose culture enable them to maintain a relationship of integral ecology within their environment.
He pointed out the challenge of how people should engage in the world of politics and economics with a basis from the dialogue of indigenous communities and Pope Francis’ Laudato Si.
“An integral ecology must mean that we are concern about all of those who are in danger of being left aside, being disposed of, whose lives are not considered to matter. We must be concerned about them that they too come to have a share in the goods that we pursue in common and that we share in common,” Fr. Riordan said.
The forum was held at the Pakighinabi Dialogue Room, 3F of the CCFC building on Wednesday afternoon.