Recommendations in working with the Indigenous People

There are already many recommendations given by many different officesand groups working with and for the indigenous peoples not just in thePhilippines and Asia but also around the globe. What we really need now is to put them in action so that the beauty would be real. I belive that both the Church and the government should reflect again the recommandations of the Stavenhagen report and the Statement of the 22nd ECIP-IPA Filipino National Convention.

Let me reiterate and add some points:

There is still so much to do to promote dialogue with their culture. The proclamation of the Gospel must not be compromised. We should always be reminded that it is the gratest contribution from part of the Church in creating a culture of solidarity with the indigenous people (IPs). Jesus Christ is not just the model in creating a culture of solidarity with the IPs but the emboidment of God’s message of solidarity with the whole creation.

Proper training ad orientation must be given to all those involved in the programs of the Diocese for IPs, so not to create more divisions and misunderstanding rather cooperation, mutual sharing, respect and cultural sensibility. They must also acquire a missionary spirituality because what they are doing is not just a work but also a mission. Is is good to know that the Tribal Filipino Desk of the Diocese aims to having more indigenous peoples involved in the implementation of their programs, like teachers and facilitators.

Continue to strengthen the Basic Christian Communities so that they may always be witnesses of the Good News to the indigenous peoples around them. Support the iniziatives of the Basic Indigenous Communities and other Tribal Filipino Organization of the Diocese.

Paternalistic attitude must be set aside. Minimize dole-outs. Benjamin Abadiano, the Philippines’ first Magsaysay (2004) laureate for emergent leadership said that ‘some Church workers need to improve their outlook and attitude, because they are still to paternalistic.

Local clergy and the religious should be the first one to show passion in working with the indigenous peoples within their territories. To work with passion with the IPs is ‘a vocation within a vocation’ that needs to be dicerned and discovered.

It is everyone’s mission to create a culture of solidarity not just of the few. Program for integral develpment of the young indigenous peoples must be strengthened and promoted. They are the future bearers of the indigenous peoples’culture and traditions. Their development is a development for all us. They play important role in creating a culture of solidarity. Failure to do so means lesser hope of bringing forward to the next generation their culture and traditions.

Keep the missionary attitude that conversion must not be imposed. They must freely embrace and respond to faith in Christ.