Regenerating Knowledge – The forum gathered academics, civil service organizations, regional line agencies and government officials from all over the country to share innovations on indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices. The forum also included researchers from Indonesia and Taiwan.

BONTOC, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – During the peak of celebrations for the 14th Lang-Ay Festival, the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) in partnership with WOW Bali International Initiative brought together experts and learners on Indigenous Peoples (IP) studies. The 1st International Forum on Innovations for Indigenous Peoples’ Empowerment and Social Transformation was conducted in Bontoc last April 5 to 7.

The event was a melting pot of multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary ideas and action. Delegates from roughly 20 institutions from Luzon and Visayas and Mindanao presented their IP studies on various topics. Topics covered ranged from sustainable entrepreneurial ventures, good governance to regenerative knowledge and transformative education. MPSPC partners from Bali, Indonesia and Taiwan were represented by WOW Bali co-founder Hai Dai Nguyen and Dewa Hum, and Dr. Eing Ming Wu, respectively.

NEDA Regional Director and RDC Cordillera Vice-chair Milagros Rimando delivered the first keynote speech of the forum. “These [indigenous systems] are not based on nothing but based on highly-detailed knowledge…these are results of experience over several generations”, she emphasized. She cites the Cordilleran conflict-resolution systems of the Bodong and Tongtongan that have withstood the test of time.

Director Rimando made sure to remind everyone in the forum that indigenous peoples, especially the Cordillerans, recognize their rights and the inequality they have endured. She underscored that regional autonomy is the best way to correct the injustices experienced by the IPs of the Cordillera. “With autonomy…we may be able to attain IP empowerment”.



by Marlo T. Lubguban, NEDA- SPCAR