Statement on the Indigenous People’s Month

“Pag-alabin ang Diwa ng Pagtatanggol sa Lupa, Buhay at Kalikasan”

This year’s theme of the observance of Indigenous People’s week or month places anew the defense of land, life and the environment as a primary call and key concern.  The relationship between land, life and the environment is undeniable and indelible.  We have seen in recent months how changes in the environment have affected so much the landscape and human life.
For many years the indigenous peoples have championed the defense of land. Indeed, they are the stewards of the land.  Their active defense of land is based on the awareness that “land is life”.  Stewardship is then understood also as the preservation of the land.

The resistance of indigenous peoples to massive resource extraction is neither resistance for resistance sake nor resistance because they are anti-development or politically inclined.  Rather, the resistance is borne out of the profound spirituality of reverence to life and its relationship to land and the environment.  This spirituality does not seek economic gain as primary but places premium on accountability to future generations and how they in turn shall be responsible to those after them.  Such spirituality allows time and space for the renewal of everything that is in and upon the earth and ensures the survival of the people after us.

We can thus be grateful to the indigenous peoples in this country and around the world for their steadfastness in preserving our land and our environment.  We have benefited from that steadfastness.  Thus, their call for the defense of life, land and environment is not only for them.

It is a call for everyone.  It is an invitation to participate.

God has wonderfully placed human beings on earth to “till it and to keep it” (Gen.2.15).  It is ours to enjoy and not to destroy.

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THE MOST REV. EPHRAIM S. FAJUTAGANA                                                REV. REX R.B. REYES, JR.
Obispo Maximo, Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                           General Secretary
Chairperson, NCCP

October 23, 2013