HUNDREDS of Aetas from six indigenous people’s (IP) community in the Province of Guimaras have converged at the Provincial Covered Gym on Oct 21, 2019 to celebrate the National Indigenous Peoples’ Month.
The spectators were treated to a colorful showcase of culture and tradition of the IP communities from Sitio Serum, San Nicholas in the town of Buenavista; Sitio Ubog, Barangay Lanipe and Sitio Tarug, Barangay Poblacion in the Municipality of Nueva Valencia; Sitio Kati-Kati, Barangay San Miguel in Jordan; Sitio Liningwan, Barangay Maabay and Sitio Dagubdob, Barangay Concordia in the town of Sibunag.
Sitio Serum IP community was hailed champion in the cultural presentation while the group from Sitio Kati-Kati won the Composo contest and the Turtle Race.
Governor Samuel T. Gumarin underscored the importance of empowering the indigenous peoples in the province as a step towards inclusive development.
The Provincial Government of Guimaras (PGG) aims to educate the Ati tribes in the island through a scholarship program and provide them with livelihood.
Gumarin said that while the PGG seeks to introduce the indigenous people of Guimaras to modern technologies, it is the province’s thrust to preserve their culture and tradition.
He believes that what Guimaras has achieved today is due to the struggle of the ancestors and the fruit is now enjoyed by today’s generation.
Gumarin stressed that true development for the Province of Guimaras is for its indigenous communities to be part of the island’s progress.
Vice Governor John Edward G. Gando said that the province’s goal is to integrate the IP communities into the mainstream society and one with the local government in running the community.
Rep. Ma. Lucille L. Nava underlined that the indigenous people is an important sector of society.
“Tam-an kamo ka importante nga sektor. Indi kamo namon pagkalimtan. Kun ano ang inyo kinahanglanon, pabal-on lang kami. Bukas gid ang opisina naton sa pagbulig. Always gid ara kami sa likod niyo,” Nava said.
Gumarin and Gando also warned the IP communities in the island to be cautious amidst reports that there are groups that want to take advantage of them.
“Nag-improbar ang aton ekonomiya bangud manami ang kahimtangan sang aton peace and order sabilog nga probinsiya sang Guimaras. And I would like to remind sang mga IPs sa bilog nga Guimaras nga kun may magkadto sa inyo kag maghaylo, indi kamo magbaton bangud nalab-ot ini sang Guimaras bangud sa peace and order,” Gumarin added.
“May mga grupo nga gusto kamo abusuhan. May mga grupo nga gusto sudlon ang inyo komunidad. Gani aton ginahambal, mangin mahinalungon kita. Indi basta-basta magsunod sa grupo nga nagasulod sa inyo komunidad. Kun may magsulod sa inyo komunidad, magpahibalo gid sa mga otoridad,” Gando said.
Guimaras Police Provincial Office (GPPO) director Police Colonel Hector Maestral also appealed to the indigenous community of the island to help maintain the peace and order situation in the Province of Guimaras.
To honor the indigenous peoples in Guimaras, the Department of Health and the Provincial Health Office conducted a dental mission and they were pampered with free manicure and pedicure, haircut and massage.