FOR the first time, the celebration of the Philippine Indigenous Peoples’ Month was conducted in Geneva, Switzerland.
Organized and hosted by the Cordillera Community in Geneva, Switzerland with the Filipino community group Ugnayang Bayan, the October event was also first time in the history of Switzerland and presented 22 years after the IPRA became a law.
Lawyer Cheryl Daytec-Yangot, Labor Attache’ of the Philippines in Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic and Liechtenstein State served as the guest speaker in the momentous occasion.
Ugnayang Bayan vice president for external affairs Joy Cadangen said lawyer Daytec-Yangot presented the global scenario on the location of IPs including the percentage of resources that are in IP territories, poverty rate, undiscovered skills in resource management, and the laws that protect them and oppress them.
Cadangen added that the Labor Attache’ also presented further the IP situation in the Philippines and emphasized on the very strong unity of the IPs.
“It is very impressive that Atty. Yangot showed presentation about the Indigenous People. We learned a lot and it is only now that I learned that 80 percent of the world’s resources is within the IPs territory,” Cadangen said.
Association of Cordillerans in Geneva president Hilda Balusdan hopes that such event will continue in Geneva while another officer of the group Judy Ann Asias said that it will be good if IP Month will be celebrated every year.
Other activities in the IP day celebration include discussions on IPs-Dole-OWWA and passport issues and other concerns of the OFWs such as the case of Caroline Remiendo Alawis who died in Geneva.
Cadangen said the Cordilleran Community is extending their gratefulness to the DOLE Philippine Overseas Labor Offices staff in Geneva, Bing Aguilar, Paul Cabugao, especially Atty Yangot and the direct support from DOLE Secretary Bello for helping bring home the body of Alawis in Bakun, Benguet.
Former Baguio City Councilor Engineer Leandro Yangot also attended the IP celebration and even joined in the dancing of the traditional Pattong with the IPs.
The occasion was attended by at least 100 OFWs which include those who are not from the Cordillera Region.
The IP Month celebration again showed the strong unity of the Cordillerans and showcased their unique cultural practices and traditions. May this event be institutionalized in Geneva.
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