CBCP-ECIP, OVRRA, SIMBAHAYAN celebrates indigenous cultures

The Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (ECIP-CBCP) partnered with the UST Office of the Vice Rector for Religious Affairs (OVRRA) and the Simbahayan Community Development Office (SIMBAHAYAN) for the “Isang Puso para sa Katutubo: Celebrating Indigenous Cultures,” a celebration of fraternity and warm friendship between indigenous peoples (IPs), ECIP-CBCP friends, and guests who support the advocacy and concerns of the IPs.

The event, which was held on the 13th of December 2023, coincided with the Paskuhan Mass and Agape. IP representatives from Ayta (Zambales), Dumagat (Quezon), Kalanguya (Ifugao), and Mangyan (Mindoro) tribal communities shared their stories of struggles and triumphs and showcased their indigenous products at the UST Central Seminary Gymnasium. A poster exhibit was also prepared by Alyssa R. Contreras, Meryl Aila M. Ongsotto, Angela Marie G. Ubac, and Assoc. Prof. Mary Ann Venturina Bulanadi, Ph.D. of the College of Fine Arts and Design.

Most Rev. Valentin C. Dimoc, D.D., the Chair of CBCP-ECIP, highlighted in his opening remarks that “isang puso” means “walang iwanan para sa mga katutubo.” It is a strong call to humbly join in the preservation of human dignity, working collaboratively for the greater good of IPs, and conserving the environment through alternative means of sustainable development. As the IPs continue to safeguard their culture despite numerous plights they face, such as poverty, discrimination, lack of access to basic social needs, development aggression, and red-tagging, they need assertive assistance and protection of their communities and their rights. Furthermore, Rev. Fr. Earl Alan Cura, CICM, stated that it is essential for the younger generation to deepen their awareness and appreciation of who they are as it is rooted in the culture and identity of a person and member of society.

The event was capped off with a symbolic tribal dance to underscore solidarity. Lastly, Rev. Fr. Pablo T. Tiong, along with the officials of SIMBAHAYAN Asst. Prof. Froilan A. Alipao, MCD, , Asst. Prof. Christian Rey D. Rimando, MSPT (SIMBAHAYAN Assistant Director), and Junior Teacher Frederick F. Prevosa, MA (OVRRA Executive Assistant) distributed sixteen (16) Noche Buena packages to the IP groups present from the NINGNGING 2023, a UST Paskuhan gift-giving project.

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