February 16, 2010 in Featured
WITH REPORTS FROM SLOAN RAMOS
BAGUIO CITY — How does a first-time indigenous partylist candidate beat the hustle and bustle in the city on day one of the campaign period for national positions?
Beat the gongs
Amidst the cacophony of campaign jingles and urban noise, indigenous peoples played gongs across Metro Manila to sound the official start of the maiden congressional bid of KATRIBU Partylist, a sectoral party of indigenous peoples.
Gongs, also known as gangsa in Cordillera, are made of bronze, brass or iron, and are struck with wooden sticks or slapped with the palm of the hand to produce a rhythmic community music. Gong playing among Igorots, and even among other tribes is an important part of peace pact gatherings, marriages, feasts and rituals.
KATRIBU hit the campaign trail with its nominees — Beverly Longid, a Bontok-Kankanaey from Cordillera; Genasque Enriquez, a Manobo from Mindanao, and Nelson Mallari, an Aeta from Central Luzon.
A colorful and festive twelve-car caravan ferried the indigenous leaders and their supporters around Metro Manila. As it moved through the streets, the caravan played a KATRIBU jingle produced with the gangsa accompaniment blended with the kulintang gong ensemble of the Moro people.
“Today, indigenous peoples will play their gongs across the country to signal the start of our historic campaign for representation in Congress. Gongs produce the evoking sound of our collective plight and struggle as indigenous peoples,” said Longid.
KATRIBU Partylist chapters in Cordillera, Davao and other indigenous areas were also set to launch local campaign kick-off activities.“Indigenous peoples are often submerged in national aggregates and relegated to the sidelines of policy-making, yet they are diverse and constitute about fifteen percent of the Filipino population,” she lamented.
“Indigenous peoples have long been neglected and misrepresented. It is high time that we give indigenous peoples a strong voice in Congress,” Longid remarked, adding that KATRIBU’s campaign is timely as it kicks off on the same day that the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Report by the United Nations will be launched in the country.
According to the report, “Indigenous peoples face systemic discrimination and exclusion from political and economic power, they continue to be over-represented among the poorest, the illiterate, the destitute; they are displaced by wars and environmental disasters.”
It also reported that “indigenous peoples are dispossessed of their ancestral lands and deprived of their resources for survival, both physical and cultural; they are even robbed of their very right to life.”The report was launched by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in the University of the Philippines Diliman Tuesday.
According to Longid, “KATRIBU Partylist will champion in Congress and beyond the cause of indigenous peoples in solidarity with other sectors including the Moro people.”
“It runs on the platform of people’s empowerment, environmental protection, defense of ancestral land, promotion of sustainable livelihoods, provision of appropriate social services and recognition of cultural identity,” she said. # nordis.net