ARISE: Paskuhan sa bahay ng mga katutubong Dumagat By: Lhen Casas, NDS

“To DO JUSTICE, to LOVE KINDNESS, to WALK HUMBLY with God” is the main thrust of ARISE, a movement for the Dumagat tribe.

Recently, members of the tribe participated in the Lakbayan of National Minorities and sealed their solidarity with other people’s organizations supporting the right of Indigenous Peoples to ancestral land. Since the symbolic blood compact or SANDUGO, ARISE has responded to the needs of the Dumagat.

Recently ARISE joined the Dumagat from Quezon and Rizal in organizing a PANULUYAN (search of Mary and Joseph for shelter)  or SANDUGO through a  symbolic blood compact or SANDUGO through a  symbolic blood compact or SANDUGO and to the close the year they held a Christmas Party last December 15,2016. The program begun with an introductory remarked from Fr. Teody Holgado, CsSR. In his opening message, Fr. Teody mentioned that despite of the continuing struggle, militarization and harassment done to the Dumagat, there are many things to be thankful of and this calls for celebration. It was for this reason that ARISE organized a Christmas party with the Dumagat and invited different groups, religious congregations and individuals who are in solidarity with the plight of Dumagat. After the opening message of Fr. Teody, Fr. Alex Bercasio, CsSR explained the meaning of Sulo or the light of peace that they carried along with them during the Panuluyan. The Sulo which symbolized light of peace was first lit last December 7 in Redemptorist Church, Baclaran. They used the sulo in their prayers and recollections. They also brought the light of peace during their panuluyan and thus praying and hoping that this symbolic gesture will soon become a reality. Afterwards the invited guests from different organizations gave their solidarity messages.

Ka Allan and Ka Bart from NDFP congratulated the group for their active involvement to the struggling masses like the IP’s. They also shared their hopes for the upcoming peace talk in January 2017. Fr. Rico Ponce, O.Carm. spoke of the joys and struggles they encountered as a group responding to the needs of Dumagat. Fr. Joel Canuel, MDJ in his solidarity message shared the importance of awareness to the plight of Dumagat. And it is for this reason that their MDJ lay missionary was able to experience living with the Dumagat family for a few days. One of the Kagawad present in the party shared his involvement to the cause of Dumagat. Most of the people present in the celebration expressed their solidarity to the Dumagat and promise to support their advocacy.

Of course, the celebration will not be complete without festive meal, dancing, singing and companionship. After all the inspiring and encouraging solidarity messages, good and nutritious food cooked with love was serve. It was cooked with love because the community helped in cooking the vegetables, grilling the fish, meat and etc. There were sweet food and lechon donated by generous people. The people enjoyed eating with their hands while sharing stories.

After filling the hungry stomach, kulturang pagtatanghal or community singing and dancing followed. Some of the progressive band and People’s org artists shared their talent and expertise in music in the kultural pagtatanghal.

The Paskuhan sa bahay ng mga katutubong dumagat in Antipolo was indeed a joyful moment of solidarity and an expression of God’s coming to our world to be with us. ARISE was thankful for all who came to give life to the celebration and wish them a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year! God is with us in the struggle for right to ancestral domain and in fighting for justice and lasting peace!