COMMENTARY: Wanted! Cultural impact assessment on Kaamulan

by Amay Yi Iwag Linsahay

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon (Bukidnon News/30 August) Today, wala nako naghinayak ug adto sa sentro sa Malaybalay to personally witness the street dancing along the Sayre Highway. Instead, I watched the live coverage of GMA network sa TV.

At first glance, it was very impressive. In the first place we must be proud that the branded “the only cultural festival in the Philippines” according to the Department of Tourism is being showed across the country, even around the globe.

However it was quite alarming.

Personally, dako kaayo ang problema sa hosting and the hosts themselves.

They tried to interpret what has been covered on TV. The worst, it was mis-educational and brought misinformation when the hosts and hostesses tried to interpret and give meanings over some basic “bukidnon” terminologies. They got it wrong.

Anyway, let me give them some “benefit of the doubt”, kay basin pod kung mao pod ni ang nahisulat didto sa mga story lines nga ilang gigunitan ug gibasa.

But who reviewed the story lines? Are “Lumad” elders coming from the communities who are authorities and well-versed on customary laws, “gugud” (the sacred accounts of IPs’ oral traditions), indigenous spiritualities, etc. part of the team or committee who reviewed each of the story lines for each presentation?

Is this the essence and spirit of genuine recognition, respect and promotion of indigenous cultures (as mandated under R.A. 8371/ IPRA)? Or are these merely corrupted ideas of the hired and paid choreographers (with exemption to the very culture-sensitive ones).

This is the reason why the PASAGI – the Indigenous political structure of the traditional territory is strongly calling on Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA) on every proposed activity sa “kaamulan”, up to media coverage.

Mind you, if these things are not properly handled and addressed, are truly devastating to the identities and cultures of the authentic indigenous tribes in Bukidnon.

Well, it is not too late to start.

Daghan pa umaabot pa nga mga Kaamulan in the future. This is a wake-up call sa tanan nga mga milingkod nga Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs) o “Konsehal nga Lumad” at all levels of the Sanggunian in the Local Government Units of Bukidnon. Also, a wakeup call to the National Commission on Indigenous peoples (NCIP).

I doubt if these things were addressed during your claimed conduct of “free and prior informed consent” (FPIC) before Kaamulan has started.
Siguro, watch the replay nalang at GMA channel. Peace and Magbabaya Bless us all!

(Bukidnon Views is the opinion section of Bukidnon News.Net. Amay Yi Iwag Linsahay, 42, who hails from Ticala, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, is a servant-leader of the PASAGI – the Indigenous political structure of the traditional territory. He first posted this in his timeline on Facebook. React to this via editor@bukidnonnews.net.)