By NIÑO OCONER
BANGUED, Abra — Around 100 indigenous youth from different church denominations and communities of Abra gathered in the capital of this province to celebrate the Tribal Filipino Sunday last October 20 and renewed vows to continue their ancestors’ legacy to defend life and culture.
The activity started with a Biblico-Theological Reflection given by Rev. Fernando Laguitnay of Ecumenical Theological Seminary(ETS) of the North Luzon Jurisdiction of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).
Rev. Laguitnay focused his discussion on the role of indigenous youth in social change and why the youth should take action to resist the continuing injustices happening in the country. The program continued with the discussion of Ms. Georgia Velasco and Ms. Renz Cuyop of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) about the history of the struggle of the Cordillera people and the historical role of the indigenous youth and elders in defending their communities.
Mr. Agripino Casay of Abra Elders Alliance shared his own experience in Malibcong town as a tribal leader in the defense of their community and their culture. He also challenged the indigenous youth participants to continue the legacy of the Itnegs and Tingguians to stand by for what is right.
Meanwhile, a declaration of unity was presented by the indigenous youth as a response to the challenges of the community elders. In a statement of unity signed by different indigenous youth leaders of the province, they said that today’s generation is confronted with development aggression and corporate greed, environmental crisis, widespread poverty, and the corroding appreciation for human rights.
The statement also pointed out that there is an urgent need, for the Abra indigenous youth, to stand firm on their brave ancestor’s principles and to be the voice of change. The Abra indigenous youth statement ended with their full commitment to unify and solidify their ranks and be an instrument for social change.
The Tribal Filipino Celebration of the province ended with a tribal community dance and cultural workshops.# nordis.net