Panay Bukidnon chant is beautiful – Legarda

August 26, 2014

SENATOR Loren Legarda expressed interest in helping preserve the culture of indigenous group Panay Bukidnon.

“I will help preserve their chants, rituals and dances with the limits of my resources, time and capability,” Legarda said during the Indigenous Peoples Regional Assembly-Visayas held at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.

Amidst concerns of various indigenous groups in more pressing concerns including rights to their ancestral domains, Legarda, who chairs the Committee on Cultural Communities, emphasized that cultural preservation is a key ingredient to nationhood and pride of place.

“The chant of Federico Caballero is so beautiful,” Legarda said referring to the epic chanter from Calinog, Iloilo who has been declared as a National Living Treasure.

The Panay Bukidnon or Sulodnon is found in the mountains of Central Panay that crisscrosses the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo.

Initially studied by Ilonggo anthropologist F. Landa Jocano, they have a rich cultural tradition that dates back to pre-colonial Spanish period and have been the cultural keeper of the longest known epic in the country called Hinilawod.

“I have a bill that seeks for the protection of these cultural properties,” Legarda said referring to Senate Bill No. 2831 or the Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. It aims to document or make an inventory of all cultural properties as well as giving royalty rights to the indigenous peoples.

Legarda is also sponsoring the Ethnic Origin Act and the Anti-Ethnic or Racial Profiling and Discrimination Act of 2011, which both seeks to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

Legarda underscored that sustainability of cultural preservation is collaborative effort between private and public sectors including the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the local government units (LGUs), the non-government organizations (NGOs), and the academe.

A preservation program for the Panay Bukidnon was previously initiated by NCCA, NCIP, Center for West Visayas Studies (CWVS) of UP Visayas, and anthropologist Dr. Alicia Magos with the establishment of a School for Living Tradition.

Meanwhile, the two-day assembly in Iloilo City brought together Visayan indigenous groups Panay Bukidnon, Mangyan, Ati, Ata, Badjao, and Eskaya.

Source: The Daily Guardian