Orendain exhorts IPs: ‘Speak up, be heard’ PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 November 2014 13:26

City caretaker and Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. yesterday underscored the contribution of indigenous peoples to nation building, as he called on them to speak up and be heard on all issues that need to be addressed.

Orendain represented Mayor Beng Climaco in the opening of the Dayaw 2014- Philippine Indigenous People’s Festival- Mindanao leg at the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) gymnasium Friday morning attended by hundreds of IPs representing the 17 tribes from all over Mindanao.

“You now have voices with which to speak your mind and I urge you to speak up and be heard! There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. We may not be able to address them all in one sitting, but let us still start with one or two until all have been discussed and resolved,” Orendain declared in his welcome speech.

Organized by the National Commission for the Culture and Arts (NCCA), the 2-day activity showcases the unique culture and tradition of the IPs and is in line with a presidential directive celebration the Philippine IPs festival.

For years, he said, the IPs have been overlooked and excluded and were among the marginalized members of society who have remained voiceless and unrepresented. “But the times have since changed. Society is starting to take cognizance of our indigenous people and that is indeed a great cause for celebration.”

Referring to the festival’s theme “Katutubong Filipino Para sa Kalikasan at Kapayapaan,” the city caretaker said it is a fact that IPs contribute to the efforts to protect the environment and to the establishment of true and lasting peace.

“As fellow Mindanaoans, we are all familiar with the struggle of having to contend with misperceptions. We all understand the frustration of having to defend ourselves from those who are immediately wary of us upon learning of where we come,” he commented.

Orendain also thanked the NCCA for holding the activity in the city which is aimed to highlight the importance and richness of indigenous cultures, to discuss issues indigenous peoples face today and facilitate interactions with other indigenous peoples.

NCCA Commissioner Anwar Anzar said Zamboanga City was chosen to be the site for the Mindanao leg of the Dayaw Festival as it is an icon of solidarity and cultural diversity. “Zamboanga City is populated and governed by hospitable people and Zamboanga City is IP friendly.”

Present during the opening program yesterday were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Councilor Percival Ramos and Ismael Musa and other NCCA officials, City DILG Director Atty. Taha Arakama and Dr. Pendatun Talib, Dayaw Festival coordinator and numerous others. — Sheila Covarrubias