SanAg Reaches Out to IP Communities

Pia Victoria E. Graza

University of San Agustin- Center for Heritage and Indigenous Cultures (USA-CHIC) celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Month through the promotion of the documentary film, online events, and exhibition of cultural products of several IP Communities in Iloilo and Capiz, October 23-31.

With the theme, “The Journey of Indigenous Peoples for Genuine Recognition, Respect, and Self-Governance,” this weeklong activity highlights the IPs’ battle for recognition, respect, and self-governance within their cultural groups, a significant way to raise awareness about their culture and struggles.

“This set of events of celebrating with the Ati Communities, and getting to know them especially through the film, is one way of promoting understanding to their community with a hope to eradicate totally the marginalization of their community,” said Dr. Clement Acevedo, director of USA-CHIC.

The program started with ‘Ati Ako’ documentary film produced by USA researchers John Paul Petrola and Rosa Zerrudo in partnership with National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and National Culture for Indigenous People (NCIP) that reflects the life of the Ati Community in Brgy. Lanit, Jaro.

“In this film ‘Ati Ako’, it is one way of showing or making people aware of the struggles for cultural recognition of the Ati People. We are aiming to improve their socio-economic well-being, health conditions, and cultural identity where we can see in the film as they cope up with the demands of city life,” said Petrola.

Along with the film, a showcase of cultural products from the IP communities in the municipality of Lambunao, Dumarao, Capiz; Nagpana, Barotac Viejo; and Lanit, Jaro was held last October 25-27 at Festive Mall Iloilo, followed by a webinar at the Panublion Museum in Roxas City on October 30.

“Most of the cultural activity and research focusing on the culture are a bit silent but, in the university, we are not. The pandemic did not hinder us to have this film shown, did not hinder us to help the IP Communities,” added Petrola.

The celebration ended with another film showing last October 31 premiering on Youtube, with Dr. Acevedo sharing his gratitude to all the people who made this event possible.

“Besides the mandate of the CHIC, Dr. Jonel P. Saludes and Fr. President Frederick Comendador really desired to be of help to the Ati Community which reflects the Augustinian value of reaching out to the marginalized peoples. Without them, it will be an uphill battle in trying to help our brothers and sisters,” said Dr. Acevedo.

Published: April 25, 2022