Speeches

Dr. Charito Medina, National Coordinator of MASIPAG:

Rev. Fr. Manuel Valencia, the University President of the SMU, Dr. Henry Navarro, the Director of IKAT, …the faculty of SMU, farmers who are here, the Indigenous People, students, naimbag nga bigat yo amin. Naimbag nga aldaw yo.

It is with great honor and privilege to be in partnership with the Saint Mary’s University. Your tradition of excellence in education, research and extension and your initiatives in rural development runs parallel with out organizations mission and goal.

MASIPAG or the Magsasaka at Syentipiko Para sa Pag-Unlad ng Agrikultura, with its core members of about 35,000 farmers, about two dozen scientists, about 60 Non-government organizations, and many church development workers from 47 provinces of the Philippines congratulates your great university and the launching of the Indigenous Knowledge and Tradition Institute aptly named as IKAT.

We are aware that IKAT as one of the new initiatives of your University is just one of the constellations that your university is implementing as it approaches its 80th year as an academic institution.

The importance of indigenous knowledge as generated by indigenous people of course can never be over-emphasized. They are the most elaborate, most practical and most effective adaptations, of humans in every unique agro-environmental conditions.

Take note that me, coming from a development agency, no. 1 development agency … we are concerned with the functional and utilitarian indigenous knowledge rather than the structural description of such even if they are not inseparable.

So, indigenous Knowledge is a social and cultural milleu background and when understood and applied appropriately, it is very cost effective and it provides latest dividends.

Indigenous knowledge is also a wellspring of coping mechanism to climate change in this rapidly increasing, changing world of today. In fact, one of the recommendations of the recently concluded International Assessment of International Science and Technology for Development sponsored by the FAO, World Bank, GDF, UNESCO and the WHO, myself being a member of the three year assessment, the recommendation is to tap indigenous knowledge of local communities for safeguarding natural resources and for sustainable agro-ecological practices.

I have noted in your brochure that of course, the scope of interest of IKAT is much much broader than simply functionality especially the cultural and social dimension. And that is a commendable broad perspective of indigenous knowledge and indigenous people.

Indigenous knowledge, however, are least understood. Saan unay nga maawatan ti kaaduan. It is undervalued, saan unay nga makitkita ti kinapateg ti indigenous knowledge, and often misrepresented, no maminsan ibain da pay ti dadduma. Ti kinapudnona indigenous knowledge ti kasayaatan ken kasamayan ken kakapintasan nga producto ti tattao ti rabaw ti daga.

If I were to express my own personal opinion, in fact, indigenous knowledge divides a human being much above being an animal that makes human being a human being so that is indigenous knowledge developed by themselves and nurture by themselves. It is also beyond … the overtly materialistic modern society. Agsipud ta ti indigenous knowledge ket para iti sustainability ti panagbiag iti lubong… nangnangruna kadagiti adda kadagiti luglugar a inhabited dagiti indigenous people.

The rampant spread of telecommunications and the dominance of globalization development model is steadily eroding indigenous knowledge through its homogenizing effect. Likewise, the exodus of the young people to urban centers and overseas threatens indigenous knowledge through sheer negligence of such knowledge. The treats can never be as serious as it is now. It is therefore imperative to do the documentation, understanding and communication of such indigenous knowledge before they are totally desipitated. We should act with resolve and the time is now. This is now the reason why IKAT has been launched and we congratulate IKAT, we congratulate Saint Mary’s University in today’s launching of IKAT because it is a very timely one.

The success and relevance of the Institute that is IKAT, will grow a hundred fold upon documentation fo the indigenous knowledge. But it will grow a thousand fold upon the communication of the understanding to students academicians and other stakeholders. But more than that, the success and relevance of IKAT will grow a million fold when Indigenous People continue the practice and improve such knowledge. The challenges will be enormous but I am quite sure that your endeavors will be truthfully be productive but more importantly it will be a highly fulfilling one. MASIPAG therefore shares your interest and wishes you good luck in your endeavors.

In solidarity, MASIPAG.

 
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