In his message at the opening rites Thursday, UGAT President Jose Eleazar Bersales said the conference also aims to help the seemingly “damaged Philippine culture,” which he added many observers still write as subjects in weblogs and the public opinion pages of newspapers.
“This is the opportunity for anthropologists as well as our colleagues in the social sciences who are also presenting papers in this conference, to come together to share what new knowledge has been generated to help provide critical understandings of how Filipinos deal with or exercise power and authority – of the task thereof – whether as one nation or as individuals, groups or communities,” he added.
ADZU President Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, the conference host, added the theme is just “timely to strengthen dialogues between the state and ethnic groups and communities (in the country).”
The conference is also important to educators and learners because “they share in the spirit of transformative learning. The value of socio-cultural anthropology is that it concerns itself with all the dimensions of humanity,” he said.
Participants in the annual conference include UGAT members, researchers, anthropologists, academicians, IP leaders, representatives from civil society groups and local government employees.
Among the papers presented are the studies conducted by top researchers in the country particularly on aspects of state power and its impact on particular groups, down to the enduring practices and authority systems among indigenous communities.
The three-day conference is divided into eight sessions, focusing on issues like IP governance, conflict resolution and peace-building, customary justice system, asserting citizenship and entitlements, urban governance, eco-governance and heritage, ethnography of state violence
Topics include “Shedding Blood, Preventing Bloodshed: Conflict Resolution among the Lumad” by Xavier University’s Jay Ray G. Alovera; “Customary Justice System among the Iraya Mangyans of Mindoro” by University of the Philippines’ (UP) Aleli B. Bawagan; “Tiyawan: The Teduray Justice System” by Institute of Bangsamoro Studies’ Abhoud Syed Lingga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Fatima Kanakan and “Maranao Customary Justice System” by Abdul Hamidullah Atar of Reconciliatory Initiatives Development Opportunities (RIDO) Inc.
Other topics are “Interest and Voices: Indigenous Governance in the 21st Century Philippines” by Dina Marie B. Delias of National University of Singapore’s Asian Research Institute; “Mainstreaming of Bodong Matagoan” by Mary Constancy Barrameda of the Diocese of Marbel; “An Anthropological Inquiry into the Governance of Conflict” by Aileen Toohey of the University of Peace; “The Syncretic Policy: Transformation in Political Action Repertoire among MNLF Returnees in Palawan” by University of Sto. Tomas’ Maria Carinnes P. Alejandria; “Bangsamoro Self-Determination” Abhoud Syed Lingga; “Seeking Sanctuary” by Kathryn A. Poethig of California State University; “Tolerance of Torture in Military Training Camps” by Marites C. Caballero of UP; “Visualizing State Violence in the Philippines” by Rosa Castillo and Riza Jopson of UP; “Pagsilip sa Isang Buhay Lider Estudyante” by UP’s Roxanne Gale R. Villaflor.
The conference will also feature “Ifugao Mountain Terraces: Monument of the Ifugao Political System in Antiquity?” by Ateneo de Manila University’s Michael Armand P. Canilao; “The Bugang River Tour: A Community-Based Ecotourism Project in Local Governance” by ADMU’s Nagai Hiroko; “Stakeholders’ Perception on the Impact of Donsol’s Butanding (Whale Shark) Ecotourism Project: Policy Implications for Sustainability and Human Security” by Herbert B. Rosana of Bicol University; “The La Mesa Dam(ned):Strategies in Water Resource Management” by UP’s Annabelle B. Bonje and Joy Raquel R. Tadeo; “The Practice of Corporate Social Responsibility in Low-Income Community: The Case of Tubig Para sa Baranggay Program of the Manila Water Company, Inc. in Sitio Kaingin II, Baranggay Pansol” by Marian Rica O. Lodripas of UP; “Community Coastal Resource Management: A Case Study of Mariveles Bataan” by Andrew Lou L. Mungcal; “Establishing the Legal Framework and Need for Social Justine in the Implementation of Energy and Development Projects in the Philippines for Sustainable Development” by Jay L. Batongbacal of Dalhousie Law School; “The Turtles Island Heritage Protected Area: The Paradox of Conservation” Rolando C. Esteban of UP; “The ATOB (stone tidal weirs) of the Ryukyus, Pescadores , and Visayas Self-governance from relics of maritime megalithic civilization” by Cynthia N. Zayas of UP; “The Role of Academe in People Empowerment: The Case of Cienda-San Vicente Farming Association (CSVFA), Baybay, Leyte” by Visayas State University’s Merlito Jose M. Bande, Pia Fluer Khristine M. Noriel and Jimmy Pogosa; “School Dropout: Power and Accountability in Basic Education” Julian E. Abuso of UP; “ICT and the Anthropology of Communication” by ADMU’s Raul Pertierra; and “Ethnicity as Performance: IPRA and its Implications for Formations of Ethnic Identities at the Rio Tuba Nickel Project, Bataraza, Palawan” by Christine Joyce Ajoc and Audrey Dawn Tomada of UP.
Besides the plenary sessions, there are also poster presentations on the same theme simultaneously running at the sidelines of the conference.
UGAT is an anthropological group established to promote closer working relationship among its members to help in the solution of socio, cultural and governance-related problems in the country.
This year’s annual conference is its 29th since 1978. (Nung Aljani/Mindanews)