UST opens doors to indigenous people

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Thomasians welcome members of the Cordillera People's Alliance at the Arch of the Centuries on Thursday, as part of the annual Lakbayan. Photo by Maria Charisse Ann G. Refuerzo

Thomasians on Thursday welcomed members of a cultural minority group from the Cordillera region as part of the annual “Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya” or people’s caravan to assert the rights of indigenous people.

Members of the UST Yellow Jackets, Political Science Forum and the Central Student Council (CSC) met with the members of the Cordillera People’s Alliance at the España gate.

CSC Public Relations Officer Francis Santos said UST will open its doors to members of the Igorot tribe who will camp at the Central Seminary Gym from September 11 to 21.

Lakbayan, a month-long event, will be an enlightening experience for the Thomasian community, he said.

“You will not learn anything from the book but rather by first-hand experience with the people who are going to tell you stories,” Santos told the Varsitarian in an interview.

Windell Bolinget, chairman of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, said the government must continue peace negotiations with communist rebels and stop the militarization of their lands.

“Sana ipagpatuloy at ibalik ang usapang pangkapayapaan bilang isang paraan sa pagresolba ng maraming usapin at problema ng mga pambansang minorya,” Bolinget told the Varsitarian.

Tanggulan-UST convenor Niccolo Bongolan urged Thomasians to express solidarity with cultural minorities and be involved in social issues.

“Tao rin sila [and] they also want to live; they also want to learn, and as Thomasians, we are lucky we have the capability to live and to learn properly. [W]e need to understand what their issues are, kasi there are other issues bigger than the ones we face right now,” Bongolan said.

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