Indigents’ culture, art on display in Pagadian

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By A. Perez Rimando

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur—The National Commission for Culture and the Arts opened 2 weeks ago its “Schools for the Living Tradition Gallery” at San Francisco district here.

A city official said this was to preserve the arts and culture of increasing number of Indigenous Peoples in Zamboanga del Sur and its adjacent provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay.

City Councilor Bienvenido Culve said the gallery serves as the craft center where the artworks and hand-woven crafts—baskets, mats, hats, textile and the like—“are displayed to popularize the arts and culture of local IPs or lumad who include Subanen, Maguindanaon, Samal and Bangingi who reside in mountain and coastal villages of Zamboanga Peninsula.”

Culve stressed the building, constructed by the NCCA, through the assistance of City Mayor Romeo Pulmones, seeks “to showcase the unique arts and crafts of the IPs in the region” even as he noted that “Art is not a form of propaganda but an embodiment of truth.”

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Region 9 Director Margarita Baya urged local lumad, especially the young ones, to help conserve and propagate their rich culture “by learning and using their dialects, folk dances, native songs, customs and practices,” asking that “if we don’t do this, where will we be several years from now?”

At the same time, Roservirico Tan, chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Regional Public Affairs Office, pledged his agency’s help in processing of the IPs’ ancestral domain claims and other related efforts and in promoting the National Greening Program among the lumad in Zamboanga Peninsula.