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IP communities appreciates 3 books on cultures, ancestral lands

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES NEWS • 15:00 PM Sat Mar 20, 2021
John M. Unson
Artists from IP communities performed during the March 14 launching of the three books. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- Southern indigenous communities felt elated with the publication of three books on their cultures and ancestral domains, for them essential to the preservation of their centuries-old identities.

The three books, Pagkilala, Paggalang and Pagtaguyod, depicting the cultural-pluralism among the country’s indigenous sectors were published by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples under its Project Epanaw, launched last March 14 in Davao City.

Leaders of Mindanao’s Blaan, Teduray, Ubu-Manuvo, Manuvo-Aromanen and other ethnic groups appreciated the NICP’s book project on their Facebook timelines.

Some have even insinuated it was a major stride towards perpetuation of their ways of life and tribal identities, now fading out due to modernization and influence of non-IP settler communities and lack of instruction, as a subject, in schools and other learning institutions.

Daisy Mangod, a Manuvo-Aromanen broadcast journalist in Cotabato City, said Saturday she is grateful to the NICP for embarking on the book project.

Among those who had overtly-expressed appreciation of the three books on cultures, means of livelihood of indigenous peoples, their ancestral homelands and their struggles to achieve political and socio-economic empowerment were Blaan tribal leaders in the towns of Columbio and Tampakan in Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato provinces, respectively.

Bae Dalena Samling, leader of the Blaan tribal community in Barangay Danlag in Tampakan, said Saturday the three coffee table books can educate readers that most IP communities in Mindanao are wallowing in underdevelopment due to lack of access to schools, to state medical facilities and lack of infrastructures needed to boost agricultural productivity.

“These books can help open the eyes of people who lack understanding on what we are, what our respective identities are and our needs to become empowered based on our very own cultural and traditional perspectives,” Samling said.

The three books about the Philippine IP communities, all supported with extensive photo orientation, are to be distributed to hotels and other establishments frequented by local and foreign tourists.

Joel Unad Lipatuan, one of the leaders of the Ubo-Manuvo community in Tambubong in Baguio District in Davao City, said the three books will also enlighten Filipinos on why IP communities are trying to protect their homelands from “development aggression” that can curtail their rights to self-determination as guaranteed by the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, or IPRA.

The IPRA, also known as the Republic Act 8371, provides the IP communities in the Philippines the right to self-determination, including power to manage and harness the natural resources in their ancestral lands.

“These books are good. The national government and the local government units and IP stakeholders must also cooperate in publishing individual books on history, cultures and traditions of each IP community in the Philippines,” Lipatuan said Saturday.

Mayor Ramon Piang of Upi town in Maguindanao, an ethnic Teduray timuay (chieftain) said Saturday he will ask for copies of the three books the NCIP published to be used as reference for their municipal government’s information campaign on the socio-cultural and political ramifications of the southern IP communities.

The municipal government of Upi, home to non-Moro Teduray communities, thrice received in the past three years the vaunted Seal of Good Local Governance from the central office of the Interior and Local Government for its peace and security initiatives focused on propagation of cultural and religious solidarity among local Muslim, IP and non-IP settler communities.

North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco, a scion of an Ubo-Manuvu clan, earlier urged Secretary Allen Capuyan of NCIP to consider producing digital formats of the three books for easier dissemination to IP communities in her province.

“We are thankful to Secretary Capuyan for having embarked on this book project,” Catamco said.

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