Indigenous Peoples

503 requests on e-FOI portal

183 denied, 166 granted, 154 pending

MORE THAN three months after the Freedom of Information (FOI) Executive Order took effect on Nov. 25, 2016, requests for data from state agencies have been coming in, but not at the volume expected by government officials. Yet the relative low number has not meant quick processing for several of the requests, leaving some requestors […]

R2RKN report on first 3 months of FOI EO

Action, inaction on requests
for People’s FOI Manuals

HAVING HAILED Executive Order No. 2 (s. 2016), operationalizing for the Executive branch the people’s constitutional right to information, as a major step forward, the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition (R2RKN) committed to engage processes related to it, and launched a new round of FOI practice centered on its implementation. This report covers the […]

FOI Practice projects of 6 CSOs

Slow & quick action, open & opaque agencies

SUPER QUICK or interminably slow action, a few or all documents, and clear or vague policies and lines of authority — a mix of good and bad practices marked the conduct of state agencies and personnel that recently received access to information requests from six civil society organizations (CSOs) of the Right to Know, Right […]

Predators now protectors
of Tubbataha marine park

RANGER STATION, TUBBATAHA REEFS – At around noon each day, eight strapping young men wait for Valerie to make her appearance. Her daily entrance, coming almost like clockwork, is what makes their day.

“That’s Valerie, sir,” Navy PO2 Jonathan Lobo says proudly as a dark shadow swims underneath the posts that hold up this ranger station. Even at some distance, her large disk-like shape, with the four flippers where arms and legs should be, is unmistakable.

Valerie is certainly no mermaid, but she is the only four-limbed female (and even the gender is an assumption, but it seemed impolite to point that out) within miles around that the men ever get to interact with.

She is, in fact, a Hawksbill sea turtle – hardly the stuff of any man’s fantasy, but then here everything else has fins, feathers, or gills.

The spirits, flora, fauna
thrive in Mount Kitanglad

MOUNT KITANGLAD, BUKIDNON – A peso coin drenched in chicken blood is the welcome offered to visitors to this mountain, which soars 2,899 meters over the city of Malaybalay, and the towns of Lantapan, Libona, Impasug-ong, and Sumilao.

“This will serve as your identification,” says Bae Inatlawan as she hands over the bloody coin, “so that the spirits will allow you to enter.”

Confident about ‘confidential’ deal?

Ahead of contract, San Miguel starts
to court Laiban residents

SAN ANDRES, Tanay, Rizal – We were wondering why Sofia de la Rosa seemed a little agitated with our presence. After all, it’s not every day that visitors bother to come to this remote barangay nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre range.

In the course of our conversation, the barangay captain of San Andres also kept telling us that her people will not leave this village unless they are paid proper compensation by San Miguel.

Sidebar

‘Playground of the Gods’

IT IS Luzon island’s roof and highest peak, and the Philippines’ second highest, after Mount Apo in Mindanao. Now that it is almost summertime, Mount Pulag is bound to be at its busiest, having earned a spot on the itinerary of many nature-lovers and mountaineers.

But for the indigenous Ibaloi, Mount Pulag (also called Pulog) is where the gods live, rest, and play year-round.

Living rhythms

BAGUIO CITY — Minutes after Manny Pacquiao beat Erik Morales last year, gongs could be heard ringing joyously throughout this northern city. Last Sunday, when Pacquiao wrested the World Boxing Council superfeatherweight belt from Juan Manuel Marquez, Baguio’s foggy communities were silent. Yet it may hardly been because residents here were less appreciative of The Pacman’s efforts this time around.

Even last year, pattong, or playing the gongs, could not have been for Pacquiao. Pattong is simply not done for individuals without relations in the community — even if that individual happens to be the “Pambansang Kamao (National Fist).” More likely, the gongs were brought out by some families here to announce a victorious bet made over the fight and to invite neighbors to partake of celebratory drinking and eating.

Video

Headhunter country

THE story of the Bugkalot, the last of the Philippine headhunting tribes, is a chronicle of loss. Like many indigenous peoples in many parts of the world, they have been dispossessed of their land, their culture destroyed, and the forests from which they derive sustenance exploited by outsiders.

Lawyer from the mountain

EVEN AS a child, Renato Zosimo Evangelista knew he was different. For one, he dreaded Christmas. Unlike other children who would get excited at the first whiff of the “–ber” breeze, he would get anxious for the coming days ahead.

It gets colder in the mountains during those months. But it was not the cold that bothered him too much; Christmas was the time when his fellow Mangyan would come down from the mountains and ask for money from the lowlanders. As the youngest Mangyan studying in predominantly Tagalog Holy Infant Academy in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, he was often bullied by his classmates who would tell him: “Bakit ka nandito? Doon ka sa mga kasama mo. Di ka ba mamamasko? Nasaan ang bahag mo? (Why are you here? Go stick to your own kind. Aren’t you going to ask for Christmas charity? Where’s your g-string?)”

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