The ethnic tribes-A A +A
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
IT IS about time that we speak of these special groups of people as our own. They are Filipinos as we all are. They have the same rights and privileges. They, too, are inheritors of our ancestral lands. Let not their welfare be sacrificed in the name of progress and modernization. It is not impossible to be able to achieve a happy medium. Let us understand and aid in the struggle of these ethnic groups to save their communities, their natural modes of existence, their beautiful and quaint ethnic costumes, customs, and traditions. Let us not make technology and modernization grossly intrude into their domains. Workable programs for their relocation and provisions for livelihood must be afforded them. They do not have to sacrifice their native practices or altogether lose what they had cherished for centuries of a peaceful symbolic co-existence with nature.
First, let us get acquainted with our ethnic brethren. A complete listing is an eye-opener for urban groups of Filipinos. Let us remove the lines that delineate the “kulots” and the “unats” for after all, we are all Filipinos.
Different ethnic groups exist in the different regions in the Philippines. A survey has revealed that there are about seventy-three cultural groups with a total population of about 6,756,018.
Davao Regions have the following ethnic tribes. They are the Lumad, Talaingod, Mansaka, Mandaya, Bagobo, B’laan, K’lagan, Tagakolo, and Mangguangan. Tribals call for the protection of ancestral domain, this is their clamor.
In a nation teeming with oppressed sectors, the indigenous Filipinos are, possibly, the most pathetic. Not only do they suffer cultural discrimination by being portrayed as “barbaric and uncivilized” in movies and television shows. Their ancestral domain, immemorial vestige of their cultural heritage, is continuously being lost to logging and mining firms, multi-national agricultural companies, and land-grabbing migrants.
We can do much to help save the indigenous tribes. Our tribal brothers and sisters are becoming increasingly active in the defense of their lives, lands and cultures. However, the problems which they confront cannot be solved without effective support.
Establish support groups and network with other NGOs, line agencies and other concerned groups to attend to the concerns of indigenous cultural minorities. Lobbying in the Office of the Presidents, government line agencies, and Congress, to support them will do this. Make the public more aware of the plight and concern of the indigenous cultural communities.
Hear their pleadings. “We want land for our tribe, enough for all of us, land that is secure, that others cannot steal. We want our own way of life. We are willing to live side-by-side with others but we want to live according to our own culture and traditions.”
Some organizations have programs to help the indigenous tribes. The program should seek to assist them in socio-economic development. In undertaking this task, it places emphasis not only on economic but also human development.
Specifically, the objectives of the program should include the following measures: promote a settled way of life, improve agriculture, develop home industries and native handicrafts, improve nutrition, improve health and family welfare, develop a functional educational system, promote community solidarity and strength , develop the ecology of the whole area, strengthen self- identity and encourage greater participation in national life, promote greater awareness of indigenous people among members of the majority society, and formulate a workable socio-economic development model applicable among the cultural minority groups.
To carry out this program, the organization puts special emphasis on the people’s participation in change. This is carried out through extensive and periodic consultation and planning with the people. This process enables the people to identify critical problems they are facing and to assist in setting up a program of priorities.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 07, 2012.