Exposure program to Lumad communities takes off with UP group

A Lumad performs a traditional piece on his ‘kuglong’ while UP Diliman Chancellor Michael L. Tan, in the background, looks on. Last year, the UP community supported the participants of Manilakbayan, composed mainly of Lumad leaders, and joined in their calls to stop the attacks against their schools and communities. [PHOTO by Gary Ben Villocino]



‘Ila-ila Lumad’, an exposure program to Lumad communities, launches with a batch from the University of the Philippines, Diliman visiting a Manobo Literacy and Numeracy school in Malungon, San Fernando, Bukidnon.

The interfaith exposure program is designed for religious leaders, members of the academe, and other sectors who wish to know more about the Lumad of Mindanao. [Read more about the program: http://rmp-nmr.org/campaigns/2016/07/12/ila-ila-lumad-program]

“The exposure trip aims at showing the daily routines of the indigenous families in an effort to make individuals from urban centers understand their call for the respect of their right to self-determination,” said Ailene Villarosa, the point person for the Ila-ila Lumad program. “They may have a different concept of development. They may identify different needs from what we believe them to need.”

UP Diliman first showed support for the Lumad struggle when they hosted the Manilakbayan, a protest caravan that brought issues of the Lumad from Mindanao to Manila in 2015.

The Ila-ila Lumad exposure, which will also provide research support for the Lumad struggle, intends to deepen the university’s commitment to help the Lumad by sending around 25 experts, writers, and researchers, among others, to learn more about the issues and culture of the Lumad. The delegation will be headed by Prof. Sarah Raymundo, head of the secretariat of the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network UP Diliman, and Edge Uyangguren, university extension specialist. The exposure is supported by the Office of the Chancellor under Dr. Michael L. Tan, who also chairs the SOS Network in Diliman.

“We hope to have workshops for the children – art workshops, story-telling, and other such activities to also tap the expertise of the participants coming from a highly respected academic institution,” said Sr. Maria Famita Somogod, MSM, coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR).

The literacy and numeracy schools of RMP-NMR have been giving alternative education to indigenous children and adults in remote communities for six years now.

Ila-ila Lumad is a component of the ‘Healing the Hurt’ Project implemented by the RMP-NMR. The initiative is supported by the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. ###