Embracing ethnic identity
I like the article, “‘Igorotak latta’ (I remain an Igorot),” (Young Blood, 4/26/18). I agree with writer John Rey Dave Aquino that one’s ethnic identity should be embraced even if there are distortions imputed on it.
These distortions should, however, be corrected and the correction spearheaded by the country’s educational system.
If I remember right, it was the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo who instituted the mandatory representation of indigenous peoples in the Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panlalawigan where there are significant IP populations.
The intention is for the IP representatives to advocate and introduce local ordinances aimed at promoting alternative models of conserving and protecting territories and natural resources, correcting distorted images that tend to erode the indigenous way of living, and coming up with alternative models that are sensitive to the geophysical and socioeconomic makeup of communities found in the highlands, lowlands and shorelines.
Likewise, it was former education secretary, Bro. Armin Luistro, who revived the use of the mother tongue and encouraged the development of learning materials consisting of local histories and technologies to be taught in communities as part of basic education.
I once attended an international conference of the Igorot in Washington more than a decade ago. I interviewed many younger participants who, like John Rey Dave Aquino, were proud in claiming that — “dakami, Igorot kami met” (we too are Igorot ).
CLARO Q. ESOEN, research coordinator, Easter College Inc., Guisad Road, Baguio City
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