March 10, 2016

Literacy among Indigenous People takes Center Stage in Lente 2016

By: Glecy Canonoy

Lente, an annual event for film showing and synthesis talks, was held last March 7, 2016 at CTC 405. This project aims to feature challenges and achievements of the Philippine education sector through a screening of an education-themed film along with talks from experts in the field of education and other fields relevant to the film. Snacks are also provided for the audience to share among themselves during and after the film screening.

After the prayer and opening remarks led by project heads Marjorie Chan and Gab Hernandez, the program proceeded with the screening of “Manoro,” a film directed by the award-winning Brillante Mendoza. It features an Aeta girl named Jonalyn, who taught her fellow Aetas how to read, write and count and also encouraged them to use what they have learned from her in time for the 2004 presidential elections. For a relaxing ambiance, the audience sat or reclined on mats and shared free snacks and drinks during the film screening.

In the second half of the program, Ms. Monica Santos, a lecturer in Ateneo’s Sociology and Anthropology Department, gave an ethnological overview of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the Philippines such as the Aetas. She explained the definition of IPs and enumerated the efforts of past Philippine governments in integrating IPs into the mainstream society through founding different institutions dedicated to them. She also challenged the audience to challenge the way mainstream society casts IPs as “different” and concluded that integration should not just involve the cultural adjustment of IPs but also that of the mainstream society.

Ms. Urduja Amor, a lecturer in Ateneo’s Development Studies and Health Sciences Departments and an OSCI formator, shared her experiences of working with IPs as Lente’s second featured speaker. She pointed out Manoro’s two themes, namely education and political awareness, and related them to her past work related to voters’ education, registration and elections of the Aeta community. The audience was particularly struck when Ms. Amor said that Aetas have been victims of electoral fraud initiated by candidates themselves. Her talk provided a synthesis to the importance of literacy to IPs as shown by Manoro.

Lente is a project of the Education Formation Committee.

Projects Heads: Marjorie Chan and Gab Hernandez

Core Team: Glecy Canonoy, Cheryl Comida, Rae Grepaldeo, Alizza Ibrahim, Louie Adrian Lava, Angelou

Prado, John Paul Sabio, Boris Yamit

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