JARO, Iloilo, Oct. 13, 2014 — As the Philippine Church celebrates Indigenous People’s Sunday, a diocesan priest echoes the truth that all are children of God, including indigenous people.
“Let us always remember that indigenous people are no different from us, we are all children of God! We have the same Father in heaven; we are all brothers and sisters, ” Fr. Ricky B. Soriano, director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Indigenous People said in his message on Indigenous People’s Sunday,
Observing the current situation of the IPs, Soriano lamented, “They are at many times neglected, despised and rejected. Yet still they continue to live, survive and face the future with hope and courage. Their prayer is that, one day, they will be treated with dignity like every human person should be.”
According to him, IPs are no different from other people in that they also dream of justice; of affording their children the freedom to express themselves without fear of being ridiculed; of living in a home free from the fear of demolition jobs.
“They pray that people will understand their custom and tradition and hope that everyone will see and appreciate the beauty of their lives and their goodness,” Soriano added.
Following the CBCP’s call to Filipino Catholics to be a people of mercy and compassion, the priest said “On this day, we are called to remember the Indigenous People in our prayers and through our concrete acts of charity. Indigenous People need us. They need our love, our concern and our respect. They need us to appreciate their goodness and acknowledge and understand them for who and what they are. They need our sensitivity to their feelings and struggles. They need us to be their friend to lean on, to be their brothers and sisters who can listen and not judge them, and as their own family who can protect them.”
In his call to action, Soriano challenged the people of his archdiocese to “Act now, not tomorrow, to have the heart and the courage to express our love and support to the IPs.”
On Oct. 21, 2014, the Archdiocese of Jaro will hold a celebration with Indigenous Peoples with the theme “Hugpong Katutubo: Magbalik Tan-aw, Ugatsang Ginsuguran Padulong sa Kauswagan”.
On that day the Ati community of Leong will act as the host community for this year’s Indigenous People’s celebration. Different IP communities in Iloilo will gather at the Ati Community, Barangay Leong, Cabatuan, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Indigenous People is appealing to people for their generosity by sending donations for the on-going programs for IPs. Interested parties may contact their office at telephone number (033)329-4442.
“This occasion will be an opportunity for all of us to re-visit and re-appreciate once again indigenous cultures and practices and to strengthen their brotherhood as one family of God,” Soriano added. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)