For this year's round table discussions, I wanted to organize them in a different way. Since this year's MAFA board wanted to focus on bringing awareness to more "hot topic" issues, I wanted to educate the participants on topics covered through general background research I did. This new layout would acted as an overview of the topic for people familiar and unfamiliar with it. The process consisted of collaborating with different organizations and people to come up with discussion questions & what MAFA board wanted to highlight with its roundtable for that month.
The theme for October's discussion was "Global Support & Basic Human Rights". MAFA chose this topic to announce its philanthropy this year with the Salupongan International organization. They are dedicated to "the unity and empowerment of marginalized indigenous, Moro and rural communities in Southern Philippines. We combine social services, campaign advocacy, and local and global support to help meet the basic needs and human rights of the respective communities we serve."
This being my first time hosting a round table I was enthused with the amount of participants came out to talk about this topic. We had Loyola, Kabataan Alliance members and Anakbayan join us to discuss how we can be advocates for change.
Livestream Link: Click Here
Salupongan International (SI) - non-profit, non-stock organization dedicated to the unity and empowerment of marginalized indigenous, Moro and rural communities in the Philippines.
Social services, campaign advocacy, help meet basic needs
Knowledge of indigenous people
Raphie - had the opportunity to meet some indigenous people during her trip to the Philippines
Diana - first became familiar with Igorot tribes, then learned more about other indigenous communities
Martial Law in the Philippines (1970s - 1980s, Ferdinand Marcos)
Gilary - provided some context about the kidnappings, murders of protesters
Martial law allows military to bypass legal process
What that looks like today - concentrated on the island of Mindanao. Mining corporations are trying to purchase indigenous land
Diana - It’s important to support schools in indigenous communities so they can protect their homes
Learning their indigenous language, Tagalog, and English is important
Maddie - Her lolo was a mayor in Kabugao
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and why education should be a basic human right
People need to meet a certain level of needs to grow
Basic -> Psychological -> Self-actualization
Raphie - education is necessary to participate in society
Maddie - education meets several different human needs (social, esteem, etc.)
Bakwit schools for displaced indigenous children have been established at several educational institutions in the Philippines.
Destruction of ancestral lands in the Philippines.
Angelou - loss of culture and history, future generations will lose connection
Raphie - place is an important aspect of many cultures, people have a deep connection to their ancestors’ land
Development often has a negative impact on the environment
Edmund - supporting Salupongan helps indigenous communities as well as the environment
Gilary - the indigenous land is rich with natural resources, which is why corporations are trying to control it
Pantaron Mountains - rich with valuable minerals, particularly at risk. This precious land should be protected for the sake of not only indigenous communities, but the Philippines and the world
Abby - economic zones exist where laws heavily favor businesses
Raphie - creates an opportunity for corporations to abuse land and labor, cycle of exploitation where local communities create value but do not reap most of the benefits
Gilary - who is the economic development benefitting? The people or corporations
Why is having a homeland important to our identities?
Maddie - having a homeland is important for people in diaspora. Experience as a Filipino-American is different than her ancestors, but having a homeland helps connect with tradition. Legal: national origin
Marian - having a homeland helps us remember and relate to the stories of our family
Challenge of creating economic growth while maintaining culture and supporting the local community
Angelou - helps us connect with the past and understand our identities. Changing the homeland can cause a loss of culture/history
Diana - wealth in the Philippines and the US is concentrated in a small number of people
Are we sharing wealth fairly when those most directly creating value are not being compensated enough to meet basic needs?
Conversation to Action: How can we be allies?
Anakbayan: An organization of Filipino youth and students fighting for democracy in the Philippines
The American government affects the Philippines
Provides financial support for military
Fil-Ams have a responsibility to be civically engaged and stand in solidarity
Works to educate people
Hosts educational workshops focused on Filipino history
Raises funds to advocate for several causes in the Philippines
Education, access to medicine and other resources
Educates Filipino-Americans about how they can support marginalized communities in the Philippines
YouLeaD Mission Programs:
Learning about how Philippine government works and the current political climate
Opportunity to meet and interact with indigenous communities
How MAFA plans to support Salupongan International
Will donate the proceeds of our philanthropy efforts (MAFA’s Got Talent)
Attempted to make contact with the organization, but still waiting to hear back