LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Pangasinenses saw the vibrant culture of Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups from all over Pangasinan recently as they performed infront of the Capitol building an ethnic dance which served as opening salvo of the 1st Pangasinan IP foru dubbed ‘Gimong.’
Fourth district Board Member Liberato Z. Villegas, on behalf of Governor Amado I. Espino, III who was the guest of honor and speaker, welcomed the IP groups and participants from various Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the province during the opening program of the Gimong forum held at the Sison Auditorium.
“Ipinapabatid ng Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ang pagkilala nito at pagpapahalaga sa mga IP groups sa ating probinsya,” BM Villegas bared during the IP forum as he added that the Espino administration sustains various programs for the IPs which include the offering of scholarship grants to IP scholars.
Expressing the all-out support of the provincial administration to IP groups in the province, BM Villegas stressed that Gimong which means ‘the gathering’ was a fitting opportunity to reawaken and strengthen further the sensitivities of Pangasinenses on IP culture and to discuss the challenges encountered by IPs and the opportunities that Pangasinenses could engage in promoting IP development.
The Gimong forum, a tie-up project of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Lingayen Liberation II and the provincial government of Pangasinan, was held in support to the National IP Month celebration this October.
Mark Gerry Oblanca, IP Forum Chairperson, said that the project was also supported by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Pangasinan Visitors’ Bureau (PVB) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Oblanca added that the forum sought to inspire Pangasinenses to become more IP culture sensitive and to urge them to banner advocacies which would reach out IP communities in the province.
Topics discussed during the forum include: Overview and Situationer of IP Groups in Pangasinan delivered by NCIP Pangasinan Chief Enrique delos Santos, Jr.; Mainstreaming IP Development in Pangasinan expounded by NCCA Executive Member and Pangasinan – Bolinao Communities Chaiperson Elnora Dudang (NCCA Perspective), PVB President Michelle Zarate-Liaonag (Tourism and Investment Perspective) and DSWD Region 1 Project Development Officer III Ma. Irish Saguipil (DSWD Perspective); and Understanding Republic Act No. 8371 expounded by NCIP Region 1 Hearing Officer Richard Cawas.
Participants were given chance to ask questions to the resource speakers during the opening forum.
Heading the IP delegation was Provincial IP Federation President Inocencio Carganilla of Sison town.
By Dexter A. See