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Launching of the Panay and Guimaras Indigenous Peoples’ Network, Inc. (Dagsaw-pgipnet)


by Pistong Melliza on Monday, August 8, 2011 at 2:24pm

ILOILO CITY, Philippines (August 8, 2011) – Minority rights advocates kicked off with rituals the birth of the Dagsaw Panay & Guimaras Indigenous People’s Network, Inc. (Dagsaw-pgipnet) in support of the Tumandok in danger of losing their ancestral homes from  multinational companies and militarization.

Today’s gathering is marked by exchanging of ideas on the current situation of indigenous communities, particularly, those in Panay for the benefit of those living in urban and town centers.

The country’s indigenous people are in danger as big business encroach into their ancestral lands for lumber, minerals and agri-plantations, says Rev. Hudson Hervilla, general secretary of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.

Militarization accompanies the agressive drive of big companies, mostly foreign monopoly capitalists. The deprivation of ancestral lands and the militarization that comes alongside ignites armed resistance and, with the escalating resistance, growing human rights violations.

On Panay Island, Central Philippines, the most militarized areas lie along the Capiz-Iloilo-Antique border, homeland of the Tumandok-Bukidnon (earlier called “Sulod” by anthropologist Landa Jocano), which is also swamped by mining applications by multi-national companies.

Some 30,000 has. of Tumandok lands have been grabbed by the national government through Executive Order 67, issued by Pres. Diosdado Macapagal, father of the inglorious and bogus president named Gloria, in 1967, along the Iloilo-Capiz border.

The gathering has an ante-finale called “pangasi” a ritual of sipping wine from a single earthen jug with a “bagacay” tube as straw while a village elder chants. The tumandok perform the pangasi whenever family members (magburugto) gather. Pangasi is the rice wine of the Tumandok.

The pangasi that I witnessed and joined was just symbolic. There was no pangasi or rice wine. We only had vodka that we sipped with plastic straws instead of the “bagacay” (a kind of bamboo) tube. 

In pangasi, individual take turns sipping the rice one from a single jug. At the Dagsaw at St. Clement’s, Aileen Catamin and Lino Parle chanted one after the other. 

Due to continuous rains for over a week, the “tapay” (yeast) was hard to come by and the person supposedly to bring the bagacay straw did not arrive due to ongoing military operations after the encounter last August 6. 

Those who went down were not allowed to return to their mountain homes, according to Erlinda Chiva, a Tumandok and daughter of Coronacion “Waling-Waling” Chiva, a revolutionary martyr.

The Army soldiers instead of running after the NPA rebels set up camp within the village, occupying chapels, school buildings, barangay halls and day-care centers, thus putting civilians to risk, in case of clashes with guerillas.

The gathering was capped by the “binanog” a romance dance mimicking the courtship of eagles (banog).

“Dagsaw” is a yearly fishing ritual, where the Tumandok celebrates the bounties of their rivers. The whole community participate in erecting temporary barriers to drain a portion of the river to make it easy to catch fish, eels, crabs and shrimps.

Rev. Hudson Hervilla, general secretary of the Council of Philippine Baptist Churches: “God is on the side of the oppressed indigenous peoples”.

Cynthia Deduro, Dagsaw executive director waves a copy of Executive Order 67, signed by Pres. Diosdado Macapagal, grabbing 33,000 hectares of mountain lands along the Iloilo-Capiz border as “military reservation”, where the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division set up its headquarters.

Lino Parle (left) and Ayleen Catamin, chanting

Binanog Dance

Performing background instruments for the Binanog dance

The “tultog” instrument made from bamboo tube, and the Tumandok drum, made from the skin of a deer.

Sipping the “pangasi” or rice wine

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