UP chancellor to IPs, Moros: your visit teaches our students

Oct. 14, 2016

WELCOME. Chancellor Michael Tan (left) shakes hands with Datu Jomorito Guaynon upon the arrival of over 3000 delegates of the Caravan of National Minorities for Self Determination and Just Peace at the University of the Philippines Diliman on Thursday, October 13. (Paulo C. Rizal/davaotoday.com)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — About 3,000 indigenous and Moro people arrive at the University of the Philippines Diliman after a five-day journey from various points in Mindanao, Cordillera, and Southern Luzon which culminated in a mass demonstration in Mendiola here Thursday.

The delegates for the Caravan of National Minorities for Self Determination and Just Peace were welcomed by students, faculty, and staff. UP Diliman chancellor Dr. Michael Tan in his opening remarks said that the event is an important in the university’s history, akin to the First Quarter Storm and the Diliman commune.

“Our meeting here today is a very historic event for our university. Today, we talk about the First Quarter Storm and the Diliman commune, but 20 or 30 years from now, we will recall that on October 13, the national minorities converged here in UP Diliman where our hearts united as Filipinos,” Tan said.

Tan also said that as the national university, it was only right for the national minorities to be welcomed in its halls.

“Your visit is very important because it contributes to the education of the scholars of the nation. As the national university, it is only right for you, the national minorities to be here. Because of your visit, the students will have the opportunity to learn something that cannot be taught in classrooms. Hopefully, this will inspire them to become agents of change,” Tan said in Filipino.

“Hopefully, if we will still see each other 30 years from now, hopefully at least some of your problems will have been solved, and hopefully your sons and daughters will be studying in UP,” Tan added.

In response, Datu Jomorito Guaynon, chairperson of Lumad group, Kalumbay from Bukidnon province thanked the university for the support.

“Your warm welcome and support to the national minorities are very important. Our struggle for true freedom and self determination is the fight of the Filipino people because we are all affected by national oppression, which hampers us from achieving real democracy and peace,” Guaynon said. The caravan of national minorities is the theme of this year’s Manilakbayan, a human rights caravan of indigenous peoples in Mindanao that started in 2014.

Guaynon said this year’s caravan is the biggest yet, with national minorities from different parts in the country joining.

The delegates to the caravan will be camping in UP Diliman until October 28 where daily activities highlighting the stories and struggles of the national minorities will be conducted.

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