‘Taking care of environment, culture comes together’

KALASUNGAY, Malaybalay City (Bukidnon News/14 October) “No one else needs to die, we should be able to live in order to see the environment is taken care of,” Fr. Crisanto Aninloy, director of the diocesan Indigenous Peoples Apostolate, said in his homily Sunday, when the Diocese of Malaybalay marked two intentions, the IP Sunday and the 21st anniversary of the death of Fr. Neri Satur.

He added that Satur’s heroism in the past helped the people of today in the protection of the environment.

“But no one needs to die today. We must live so there will be people to protect the environment,” he added.

Aninloy, parish priest of Kalabugao in Impasugong town, cited that culture and environment are closely related, adding if you take care of one, you take care of the other.

On Oct. 14, 1991, Fr. Satur and his female aide were ambushed on their way back to Valencia City, then a municipality, after celebrating a mass in Barangay Guinoyoran.

He was shot with a shotgun at pointblank range after falling from his motorcycle. His head was smashed with a rifle butt.

In September 1990, Satur was 13th on the list of 45 members of the Bukidnon clergy who were deputized by the DENR as forest protection officers upon request of then Malaybalay Bishop Gaudencio Rosales.

He said IP culture can be a tool to protect the environment and for community development.

“Our culture is rich. Use our customary laws and virtues so we all develop. Leave those that block us to our progress,” Aninloy said. The whole mass, including his homily, the songs, and readings, even the announcements, was said in Binukid.

The mass was the first ever dedicated to mark the indigenous peoples Sunday that was said in Binukid, Aninloy said earlier. He said the Catholic church respects the non-Christian faiths.

Bae Inatlawan Adelina Tarino, spiritual leader and head claimant of the Bukidnon Daraghuyan tribe, led the ritual before and after the mass.

Aninloy was in traditional mass vestments but wore a head dress typical of those used by tribal leaders.

He challenged parishioners never to be ashamed of their culture and instead use it to advance their tribe’s and their province’s development.

Aninloy urged the mass goers to “wake up” to defend their culture and the environment.

“The care for the environment … culture… It’s all in your hands,” he added.

He admitted that so far he is the only priest in the diocese who can say the mass in full-length Binukid.

“But soon other priests will learn (to preside on Binukid masses),” he said to the cheer of parishioners in Kalasungay, where about 85 percent of the population are Lumad.

Many of those present wore traditional costume. Before the entrance of the priests and lay ministers and during the offertory, teachers from the Kalasungay Central Elementary School performed Bukidnon dances.

Datu Mayda Pandian, IP mandatory representative to the Bukidnon provincial board; Datu Benjamin “Otto” Omao,IP mandatory representative to the Malaybalay city council, and other tribal leaders attended the mass.

From October 15 to 17, Pandian will preside over a tribal congress, where representatives from around Bukidnon are expected to gather to consolidate their legislative agenda and hold a dialogue with provincial government officials. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)