DAVAO City, Oct. 1, 2014—The Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is set to hold a four-day conference workshop upholding the rights of Filipino Indigenous Peoples (IP) from October 9 (Thursday) to 12 (IP Sunday) at the Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples Education, University of Southeastern Philippines, Mintal Campus, Davao City.
Themed “Indigenous Peoples Lives: Blessed in the Midst of Challenges”, the gathering is in solidarity with indigenous communities nationwide, which experts stress are an important, if often neglected, segment of the Philippine population.
In line with the event, this year’s 9th Kalindogan, or National Indigenous Leaders Congress, hopes to celebrate with indigenous communities and religious missionaries the commitment to faith and spirituality they share as manifested through acts of bravery and heroism.
Meaning “gathering” in the Mandaya language, Kalindogan, which expects hundreds of participants from different indigenous communities in the country, seeks to find concrete ways of solving the issues and concerns being faced by the Filipino IPs.
To cap the “Year of the Laity”, which reminds all faithful they are “Called to be Saints, Sent forth as heroes”, the occasion aims to honor the heroic deeds and unwavering faith of lay people from various sectors, who have risen above life’s many challenges.
Central to the meeting are stories of Indigenous Peoples on their experiences in living out a faith defined by native culture amid the fight to secure their rights to ancestral domain, cultural integrity, self-determination, governance, and basic social services, among others. (Raymond A. Sebastián)