Mission ensure tribal heritage conservation, development
Apart from the educational programme, the missionaries also focus on adult formation and in promoting rights awareness among the Monobo-Dulangan people.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate have established their presence on the Mindanao islands in Southern Philippines by promoting human development and education among the indigenous Manobo-Dulangan tribe in the province of Sultan Kudarat.
Father Renan Aban, who served as Coordinator of pastoral care of the indigenous peoples in the local Episcopal Conference, said that they provide scholarships to elementary school children through the Oblate Missionary Fund. “In the new school year, 60 indigenous children will have shelter, food and school for free.”
Apart from the educational programme, the missionaries also focus on adult formation and in promoting rights awareness among the Monobo-Dulangan people. The aim is to ensure the conservation of the cultural heritage of the tribe.
The Manobo-Dulangan lives mostly by satisfying everyday needs. Their presence is often completely ignored by the institutions; forestry and mining contracts recently awarded by the government in the land where the Manobo live, jeopardize their very survival. The ancestral lands of the Manobo-Dulangan tribe are exploited, the land they cultivate and the forest resources have sharply decreased.
All this happens without any reference to the Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the Philippine government in 1997, and without any consent on behalf of the Manobo-Dulangan, the Oblate missionaries highlighted.
The missionaries adopt a style of "immersion" among the tribe, sharing their life. The tribal leaders are now aware that they do not walk alone, but are accompanied by the Church.
“Thanks to the support of the missionaries, the voice of the Manobo-Dulangans can be heard by civilian institutions and indigenous peoples can assert their rights,” said Father Aban.
Source: Agenzia Fides