Kim’s Dream Orlan Rvanera
They May Be Primitive
In modern day, the Indigenous Peoples globally are considered primitive but they are highly spiritually enlightened as exemplified by their high reverence for life, endowed with consciousness/awareness and oneness with all species, human and non-human. As USEC/Chairman of the Cooperative Development Authority for six years, I had the privilege of inter-acting with the Indigenous Peoples not only locally but globally. Their living cultures are life nourishing, based on the dignity and respect for all life. Their living cultures are ecological cultures which do not promote life-destroying lifestyles or consumption and production patterns, or the overuse and exploitation of resources. It is in this context that the Indigenous Peoples trust the economy of nature for their sustenance. To them, nature’s economy is like a home where one is born, grows up and is being taken -cared of. No less than the “Father” of the Indian people, Mahatma Gandhi, expressed such truism when he said, “The earth provides enough resources for everyone’s need , but not for some people’s greed.” He further said that, “If man has to be saved from doom, development must be in harmony with nature and not at its own expense.”
Greed came about in the so-called civilized world when colonialism spread out where highly well-armed advanced countries began colonialism. The British Empire conquered India and began enclosing the Indigenous Peoples’ commons, i.e., forest, land, water and all natural resources to satisfy the consumerist needs of the powerful countries. The same also happened in our country when the Spaniards came, subduing the Filipinos, first by SWORD and then by the CROSS. What happened to our Indigenous Peoples? Well, such is RES IPSA LOQUITOR (the thing speaks for itself).
The Indigenous Peoples in our country were once the masters in the land that no one owned because private ownership s not in their language as such is founded on a strong belief that no one can own the land which outlast him. They asked, “How can you own something that will outlast you?” You cannot own the land, the land will own you. Their ancestors passed on to them the use of the land based on the principle of Res Communis (no one owns but everyone uses), And rightfully so because just like water and air, land is means to life. Thus, for thousands of years, they had lived abundantly in a land oozing with ecological resources in the spirit of sharing and service to one another. In the Mountain Province, the Indigenous People in that place even collectively transformed the land into Rice Terraces (the 8th Wonder of the World), using technologies that trust in the inherent processes of nature. They were one with nature even with the stars, knowing when to plant just by looking at the stars. Look up to the “Big Dipper” and when that cup-like formation of stars is seen that as if it is tilted that water will flow, then that is a sign it will rain.
They had no pharmacy then but no problem, they know what herb to take to cure whatever ailment they had. They want to eat fruits or meat? No problem, the land is home to flora and fauna, the richest in the world as the Philippines was home then to endemic species not found anywhere else in the world.
Then came the colonizers, bringing their version of a flawed lifestyle that is founded on the material pursuit of instant wealth, fame and power. And everything was not the same again . . . forever. The Indigenous Peoples woke-up to a new kind of reality of private ownership to individuals or corporations where haciendas or big plantations sprouted. What happened to our Indigenous Peoples? They have become squatters in their own land as they have no papers to show in terms of ownership. Are the thousands of years of occupation in their ancestral domain conclusive of ownership? Not at all, as far as these neo-liberal capitalists are concerned. Thus, it came to pass that the Indigenous Peoples lost their ancestral domains, the choicest of land. They are tilling the land as agricultural workers or pushed to the marginalized areas. That is what is happening now.
In Butong, Quezon where some one thousand families of the Manobo-Pulangiyon Tribe have been illegally ousted from their 1,111 ha.-ancestral domain by the Kiantig Development Corporation owned and managed by the incumbent Mayor of Quezon, Bukidnon, transforming their ancestral domain into massive plantations to earn millions of dollars. They have been living under shattered tents along the hi-way in the last six years, eating only “kamote” once a day. All the children are malnourished and sickly and have to be tied-up at night while their parents are sleeping because 5 children have already been hit by running cars along the hi-way.
Last year, when they tried to enter an adjacent vacant 4 hectare-area, they were shot upon for 15 minutes by the armed men of the corporation. AS they were entering the 4-ha.-vant area, the tribal families were shouting, GUTOM NNA PO KAMI, MAAWA PO KAYO but like rats, they were shoed away and releasing barrage of bullets upon them as five tribal members including women and children were hit. Early this year, the tribe was issued a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) to their land-grabbed ancestral domain but until now are not allowed to enter.
The massive taking of the COMMONS of the Indigenous Peoples in Bukidnon is going on without let-up. In San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, the 5,000-ha.-ancestral domain of the Manobo Tribe headed by Bae Merlita Mayantao has been fenced by a powerful corporation Ramcar in 2016 and when the tribe staged a protest, barrage of bullets were released upon them by the firm’s Tagbagani Segurity Group. Then and there, three tribal members were killed and three wounded Until now, the known killers are still not arrested.
In Mirayon, Talakag, some one hundred families of the Talaandig Tribe are now living pitifully in a TULUGAN as their houses and farms were buck-hoed two years ago by a powerful former official of the military who is a close friend of the Mayor. How can they claim back their ancestral domain when their tribe is among those declared by the incumbent mayor Persona Non Grata and some chieftains are now hiding after having been “red-tagged.”
What is so painful is what is happening now in Sitio Kibaritan, Malinao, Bukidnon when the community is being claimed as a military reservation which was belied by the incumbent Mayor, Atty. Raymon Charl Gamboa, who officially testified that the Sitio is just ADJACENT and not a part of the reservation. In fact, the Sitio has long been a community with a Chapel, an Elementary School and Day-Care Center and a Committee of government agencies and LGU issued a statement that never should the Sitio be treated as a military reservation which will be very dangerous to the community. But such had been totally disregarded, thus, in 2016 three innocent children playing near the school became victims of UXO explosion. So painful to see a father of the two children-victims was competing with the dogs in gathering the blasted parts of the bodies. Despite that painful incident, the men-in-uniform are continuously fencing and destroying the farms of the farmer-residents and if they resist, they are being harmed. They are now living in hunger and misery and are even being threatened that their houses will be bulldozed despite the decision of the DAR to issue Certificate of Land Ownership Award to the native residents who have already earned prior right as they have been there for more than 50 years already.
If only colonialization did not happen in our country, the Indigenous Peoples could have allowed their spirituality to bloom, giving high reverence to the sacredness and divinity of life that could have brought them to transcendental dimension where the Universal Intelligence governs. Indeed, they are beyond form (the physical aspect) but more on spiritual essence with a firm collective belief that all forms are just transient, what is essential is the spirituality of the huma being. I then realized that they are beyond EGO that is now in control of humanity that is now suffering from so much illusions and collective insanity.
Indeed, we are now living in the world of illusion, buried deeply in unbridled materialism and consumerism, The so-called civilized society has taught us to think in conventional terms, such as beginning, end, birth, death, creation, destruction, good, bad and so on. Instant pursuit of fame, wealth and power is the order of the times. The EGO has dominated the mindset of the homo sapiens, with the continuous dictate of compulsive thinking geared toward the physical satisfaction for self-aggrandizement. The contemporaneous times of the so-called civilized societies seek the non-stop indulging in the whims and capriciousness of the mundane, in utter disregard to the sublime. The EGO (THE DEVIL) is giving high veneration to the profit motive that has already captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and even of religious groups that has highly denigrated spirituality. Now controlled by the EGO, homo sapiens has been created in the likeness and image of God but is now the most flawed of all the species. In just a century (the 20th) humans had killed one hundred fifty million fellow humans out of two world wars and the cleansing of Hitler and Pol Pot. Humans have manufactured powerful armaments that can kill humanity forty times over. But such brutal nature is not just confined to their own kind but have made extinct billions of life form without mercy to be sacrificed to the altar of greed and profit. The homo sapiens are even killing Mother Earth as it is now, as described by thousands of concerned scientists worldwide, “one minute before midnight,” as the earth is now in the precipice of its 6th extinction which is Anthropocene (man-made).
The spirituality of the Indigenous Peoples manifested in their living cultures and oneness with divinity and sacredness of life that sustain life on earth is now almost gone. No wonder why no less than Pope Francis has recently beg for an apology to the Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The Pose said, “I beg for your forgiveness for the evil done by the Christians for the assimilation of the IPs’ living culture.” Indeed, they may be primitive in modern day but the Indigenous Peoples worldwide are spiritually advanced. It is now looming that, ‘Those who are considered in modern day a “primitive are spiritually and energetically advanced; whereas, those who are considered in modern day as “advanced” are spiritually primitive.