Promotion of bio-cultural diversity and empowerment of young leaders of the country's indigenous people was the rallying point of the “Dungog 2018” held yesterday at the Binalbagan Multi-Purpose Hall.
Dungog, a Hiligaynon word which means pride, or honor, is on its 7th year run as a program for indigenous peoples' youth initiated by the Sigmahanon Foundation Inc. and is supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The program started in Capiz in 2011.
The event gathered some 200 participants from the 11 ethno-linguistic groups of various tribes of minorities in the country. The number comprised largely of the youths of Central Cluster, mainly of the Visayas area, from Atis, Agtas, Bukidnons, Itoman and Magahats from the provinces of IloIlo, Capiz, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Samar and Leyte.
“We want them (the youth) to recognize their capacity as leaders of their tribes”, NCCAs Commissioner for Cultural Communities and Traditional Life, Alphonsus Tesorosaid.
He said the other aim is to link the IPs communities to the local government units and other government agencies so that they can create projects for their communities.
“It is time for the IP youths to work and act, for articulation is not enough” he said adding that in charting their destiny, they need champions and workers to achieve their goals.
Since the start of Dungog, many success stories have been told by the participants, more prominent of them the success of the BalayTulun-an in Capiz where IP children get their early education including the traditional practices of their forefathers, Tesoro said.
Meanwhile, at the press conference attended by the steering committee, youth leaders express their wishes and gratitude towards the government. Foremost is the call for respect and recognition of the IP's tradition and culture and the easing of load of requirements especially in claiming ancestral domains which they find the most difficult.
They also called for the consultations on the project by the government to make it fitting to the needs of the tribes and the concrete solutions to the education problems of the IPs of the country. Other concerns are sustainable livelihood and additional funds for the IP programs.
The Dungog 2018 will have its 4-day run until Monday to be highlighted by the 1st Bulusan Festival, a local celebration of the Ituman-MagahatBukidnons of Binalbagan. The festival is expected to gather around 3,000 indigenous people from the southern parts of Negros Occidental.*
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