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Mindanao tribes make early Earth Day

Mindanao tribes make early Earth Day
Mach Alberto Fabe and staff, Cagayan de Oro City

April 15, 2011

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In deference to a Church official’s request to postpone this year’s Earth Day celebrations as it falls on Good Friday, tribal people and villagers in southern Philippines held separate early celebrations. Indigenous people called Lumads in Mindanao started a five-day Earth Day celebration yesterday with rituals calling attention to their struggle for rights over ancestral land. Rituals of sacrifice, offerings, prayers and feast were performed during the opening program. Dulphing Ogan, a B’laan head of a Mindanao-wide alliance of Lumad groups, said that they want development but not the kind private companies and the government imposed on them. “What the Lumads want is development that centers on making the land productive for agriculture and not the kind of development pushed by the government that aggressively displaces us from our ancestral domain,” said Jomorito Goaynon, a Higaonon leader. The celebration, attended by chieftains from the Talaandig tribe of Agusan del Sur, Manobo of Agusan del Sur, Tigwahanon of Bukidnon, and Higaonon of Misamis Oriental, was held at the Blue Waters resort in the village of Macasandig in Cagayan de Oro City. Meanwhile, some 700 villagers from the towns of Banaybanay, Lupon and San Isidro and from Mati City in Davao Oriental celebrated Earth Day 10 days early on Tuesday at the Mati center. The participants, mostly farmers and fishermen, assembled at the St. Scholastica’s Enfide managed by the Order of St. Benedict sisters prior to the rally. Spearheading the event was Panalipdan Davao Oriental, a multi-sectoral group dedicated to environmental protection. “Because the integrity of God’s creation is violated, our people suffer the destruction… those disasters cannot be traced merely to the uncontrollable powers of nature, but also to human greed for short-term economical gain,” said Panalipdan chairman Wencislao Mapa. Mati Bishop Patricio H. Alo thanked the participants and organizers of the affair. Earth Day has been celebrated worldwide since 1970 every April 22. PM13988.1649
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