Philippines: Marginalised Indigenous Peoples
“Indigenous Peoples Unmasked”
The issues concerning Indigenous Peoples like ancestral domain, IP education, economic well-being, security and peace, and the IPs’ success stories and good practices in their indigenous communities were some of the topics that were discussed, presented, and listened to in five days (November 21-25, 2022) national convention on Indigenous Peoples organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Indigenous People. ECIP bishops, IP Administrators from different dioceses, and representatives from most IP communities in the country attended the said national convention.
In this national convention on Indigenous Peoples, the voices of those in the margins were heard and listened to. Their stories of fighting for their rights for ancestral domains were emotionally shared. The IPs’ desire for indigenous learning and education was expressed. Their longings for peace and security within their domains and their quest for economic well-being within the environment they knew best were articulated.
These five days of listening and interacting with Indigenous Peoples from most of the regions of the Philippines made me reflect on the universality of issues affecting the marginalized. Those five days made me ask myself, what more could I do for the Indigenous Peoples living within the vicinity of my parish and those within the territory of the Diocese of San Jose de Antique? It made me ask myself as well, how could I use my training in faith community nursing and public health?
Rather than answering that self-questioning at once, I paused first and thanked God for still experiencing newness in my missionary life and ministries.
Mario M. Dimapilis, MHM