The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR), through Atty. Czarina Golda Musni, entered into and signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Xavier University Junior High School (XUJHS) through its principal, Ms. Pamela Pajente, Ph.D., to make official their partnership on “Ila-Ila sa Lumad” (Know the Lumad) Program.
The MOA detailed the exposure program for XUJHS students in a Lumad community in Bukidnon. During the signing on June 2, 2017 at the XUJHS Conference Room, XUJHS Formator Renan Agad expressed that they wanted their students to be involved in Lumad community exposures because the school is “aiming for cultural sensitivity among the students”.
“We want our students to be aware of the social issues, particularly in Mindanao. We want them to know the reasons why there are Lumad protesting in Divisoria [Cagayan de Oro]. Hopefully, this program will help the students become aware of the Lumad cause. We also want them to be aware of the role of Lumad in defending the environment”, Agad said.
The XUJHS formator also expressed hope that the Program and the partnership with RMP NMR will expose the students to social realities first-hand, especially when the learning environment is limited to researches from the internet sources and books, most of which are misinformed of the true situation of the Lumad. He further said that the XUJHS wants to inculcate the five core values of 5 C’s of the university which includes Cultural Integration.
The “Ila-Ila sa Lumad”, a component of the ‘Healing the Hurt’ Project of RM-NMR and partners supported by the European Union, will offer the program enrollee an opportunity to join the host community’s daily production activities, engage the community members in discussions on land and other issues in the locality, and witness the rich cultural traditions of the Lumad. The exposure will show the simple living of the Lumad, which is in contrast to the violence they are faced with upon the entry of ‘development’ projects that are supposed to uplift their lives.
During the signing, Musni commended the XUJHS formators and personnel for incorporating the Lumad advocacy into their program. Musni, advocacy program officer of RMP-NMR and project manager of the ‘Haling the Hurt’, also emphasized the role of the academe, not only in developing cultural integration and cultural sensitivity among the youth, but also in educating the people of the true conditions of Lumad. Musni also expressed hope that the exposure will bear fruit into solidarity actions to address the challenges that the Lumad face.
The ‘Ila-ila Lumad Program’, now on its second year, had been availed by interfaith leaders and students from professors from the Mindanao State Univerisity, Bukidnon State University, and the University of the Philippines-Diliman, among others.###