Representatives from the different sectors of the Philippines such as the Lumad community, Indigenous People (IP) support groups and organizations, and religious groups among others gathered for the Indigenous Peoples Summit Philippine Jesuit Province last July 11, at the Finster Auditorium of Ateneo de Davao University.
The pakighinabi sessions started, first was entitled “Lumad Narratives in the Face of Development Aggression and their Assertion of Identities in Territories of Insecurity”. It was led by Timuay Jimid Mansayagan for the IP governance context with Fr. Joy Peliño as the moderator.
The discussants were Atty. Emman Dapaing from Maragusan, Compostela Valley, Beatriz Colmo from Kidapawan, North Cotabato, Datu Jose Amban from Paquibato, Davao City, Jaafar Kimpa from Zamboanga City, Erita Capion Dialang from Tampakan, South Cotabato, Nena Lumandong from Bukidnon, Timuey Boy Anoy from Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, Timuey Alim Bandara from South Upi, Maguindanao, Rechard Gugma from Culion, Palawan and Ria Esteves from Casiguran, Aurora.
The second pakighinabi session was entitled “Journeying with the IPs in their Struggle for Liberation”. It was led by Lyndee Prieto from the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) along with Gus Miclat, also from IID, as the moderator.
Armand Pacudan from the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), Fr. Pablo Salenga from Malaybalay, Fr. Florencio Acedo from the Indigenous Peoples Apostolate (IPA), Davao, Norma Gonos from the Institute for Indigenous People’s Education – APO Governance and Indigenous Leadership Academy (IIPE – AGILA) and Rene Pamplona from Social Action Center (SAC) of the Diocese of Marbel were the discussants.
After the session, the IP support groups presented established programs for the Lumad people’s education, livelihood, environment and resources.
“We developed a peace constituency in supporting a politically-negotiated settlement with the Bangsamoro in Mindanao. As early as 2000, na-articulate ang IP agenda sa peace talks and nabuo ang series of community dialogues,” Prieto said.
On the funding that the FPE provides, Pacudan, added that the organization aims to empower the IPs.
“FPE is a catalyst for cooperation among various stakeholders that will lead to the empowerment of the IP organizations, especially in the improvement of the management and governance of their ancestral domain,” he said.
The last pakighinabi session was then held after the presentation of programs. Entitled “Jesuit Institutions and the IP Ministry”, it was led by Fr. Jomari Manzano, SJ with Dr. Leah Vidal as the moderator. The discussants were Atty. Jaime Hofileña from Ateneo de Manila University, Dr. Erlinda Burton from Xavier University, Fr. Angelo Silerio, SJ from Ateneo de Naga University, Fr. Errol Nebrao, SJ from Culion Parish, Fr. Pedro Walpole, SJ from Bendum, Perpy Tio from Ateneo de Davao University Mindanawon and Ruth Guerrero from Ateneo de Zamboanga University.
Manzano stated that the Philippine Jesuits have a long history, tradition and presence in Mindanao. However, he further explained that that does not mean that they are the only ones that should be considered to be experts on the issues in Mindanao.
In the roadmap, they have also identified several church groups.
“One of the many contexts exists in the different Jesuit institutions, particularly the five Ateneo universities but with special focus on the three Mindanao-based universities, namely Ateneo de Davao, Ateneo de Zamboanga and Xavier, whose peripheries are more connected with the various tribes of Indigenous People here in Mindanao. Also included are the five Jesuit mission schools, the Enviromental Science Institute, the retreat center in Malaybalay City and the Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro,” he added.
Common programs established by the various Jesuit communities were on education, health, leadership, sustainable agriculture, livelihood and continuous conversation. Extensive research on IP culture was also brought up.
“The Manobo women go to the farm to get food and bring them to their families at about 12 noon. That’s the only time they eat. They only eat once a day but with this initiative of livelihood and food production, now, they are eating three times a day. You see, the improvement is gradual. You really have to work carefully with them and be culture-sensitive,” Burton said.
Tio also pointed out the significance of the tribe in the upbringing of young Lumads.
“While others say that it takes a village to raise a child, I say, with all humility, that for indigenous youth to become professionals, it takes a tribe,” he said.
The second day of the summit will be held on July 12.