A consultation forum with Lumad advocates was held on June 2, 2022, at the Jesuit Retreat House in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. This learning consultation was spearheaded by Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. in collaboration with the Birhen sa Kota Development Foundation, Inc. led by His Eminence Archbishop Emeritus Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ DD.
The learning consultation aims to gather information from various key stakeholders working with Indigenous Peoples communities in Northern Mindanao and develop a collaborative framework and plan in support of Lumad communities. The event was participated in by representatives from Department of Science and Technology Region 10 led by Director Alfonso P Alamban with Ms. Ritchie Guno, Provincial Science and Technology Director, DOST Bukidnon along with Luz Denuyo of Ganda Natural Farming, Sailyn Guarin of Fr. Leoni Mission Foundation, Inc., Fr. Bros Flores, SJ head of the Bukidnon Mission District., Fr. Gabriel Gonzalez, SJ, XSF Board Member and Xavier University Chaplain, Ms. Judith Pit and Ms. Josie Igloria from the XU-College of Agriculture, Mark Jaeno Duyan of The Samdhana Institute, Ms. Myrna Siose of BKDFI, Atty. Alberto Lagamon, Luda Egbalic of the IP Apostolate-SIC Cathedral, and Former Undersecretary of the Cooperative Development Authority Orlando Ravanera.
Given the growing commercial demand for land and natural resources, the Lumad communities are experiencing increasing pressures on their ancestral domains. Engagements with business corporations are reported to be non-transparent, lack of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) or manipulative. Without clear guidelines, lack of information and feeble organizational capacities, these communities have experienced unfair deals, abuse of power and exploitation of their resources. These mistreatments have also increased during this time of the pandemic.
It is with this context, that the collaborative undertaking is directed towards providing support to Lumad communities through information sharing, capacity building, advocacy and establishing social enterprises. The key stakeholders have come together to assess the strategies undertaken and explore efficient, impactful mechanisms where everyone can create a collective landscape goal.
This learning consultation is the first of many and XSF will serve as the secretariat to ensure forum for dialogues among other stakeholders within the Northern Mindanao landscape.