Mr. Manuel Malingan Jr., BIBAK Confederation President:

I know that it is nearly lunch and we are all hungry. But, the more you listen to the Youth, the more you will become younger.

Our Church Leaders headed by our Father Manny, Government Officials, we have our Congressman, the Academe, the leaders of NGO, and the ones who taught me to talk in front, the faculty of SMU, and the reason I stand here today, of course, my fellow youth,

It was a breakthrough that now the voices of the Indigenous Youth are being heard, because always in a tribe the youth are not given a part in decision making. I have heard from my grandparents how the CICM care for the Indigenous Youth. They go to the mountain, … the wildlife infested forests just so to teach the Indigenous Youth. Now, the Indigenous Youth comes down to the lowland to learn. Well, I would like to thank Father Manny for affirming the mission of the CICM.

Now that IKAT is born, the Indigenous Youth would have a place in SMU to call their home. Well, today, if I would ask our CWTS students and ROTCS, if I would ask them about our past history, and our indigenous culture, they do not know about it actually. They are not interested, but if you ask of TV personalities, you ask about Claudine Bareto or Gabby Concepcion, and Isadora, they know more about it. IKAT is therefore very timely. Even the Youth no longer try the Indigenous way of courtship, we just do it throught text. Yes, we are becoming globally competent, but globally lost. I thank therefore, that IKAT is born.

The very rich culture of discipline and respect for … handed down by our forefathers have now been distorted and forsaken, therefore IKAT is very significant. My point now is the sustainability of cultural heritage. Time is only in the hands of the youth

I urge therefore, our government officials to support programs related to cultural activities especially for the youth. Much more if these are youth initiatives.

The indigenous youth are full of potentials and talents. In the areas and parlance of entrepreneurship and professionalism. We find best woodcarvers, we find handicraft, artists, workers, even in SMU we have noted that IPs have made their part in the records of board topnotchers. That is in the area of professionalism.

I therefore encourage my dear teachers to continue to mold the Indigenous Youth. Because the more you hone us, if we go back to our land, then time will come that the Indigneous Peoples will no longer be displaced and marginalized. Rather, we become, and govern our own indigenous community, char our destiny and natural resources.

The indigenous communities are full of vast potential natural wealth. Water, minerals, vast forest reserves. Notice this: it is the Indigenous Youth who would inherit this vast natural wealth. For example, Coldillera as an Indigenous Community serves as the watershed of Northern Luzon. As Coldillera produces lesser and lesser volume of water, rice fields in Isabela, some parts of Nueva Vizcaya and Region that would dry up. It will result to more hunger and poverty to arise.

Now, therefore, I urge the academe, and our government officials, to hone the youth so that when they go back to their own land, they would be more responsible to their natural resources, thus, benefiting everyone of us.

The responsibility of the youth is very big, for example, what they have shown awhile ago, the culture of butchering pigs. Don’t you know that it entails a lot of expenses? Now, if our elders would hand this to us, then it would be a burden on our part. Therefore, we ask our government officials and the academe to help and guide us, and teach us to be responsible. So that in the future, we will be able to manage such, anyway, the return of investment is priceless. It is beauty, peace and cooperation.

Lastly, let us make culture interesting to learn. And not just for the sake that it was integrated in the curriculum, literature and social sciences. Well, the presence of Indigenous Youth in SMU has molded a culture and that is the spice of the Marian experience. For decades and decades, but before that, I know that the jokes, the conversations, the tirades on the Indigenous Youth in SMU have made the face of our faculty more colorful and has lengthened, maybe, the life of our dean of men and women.

For decades and decades, let this day be also a tribute to the indigenous youth who are working scholars, most of them are indigenous youth who come early in the morning to clean every classroom, just for every Marian to be comfortable. So this day, I give it as a tribute to them.

With this, we the Youth, forge an accord to support IKAT.

And, lastly, I would make an announcement for our CWTS students and MTS, we will have the pinikpikan festival on December and the Gottad SMU on February so we invite you all.

Thank you very much.


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