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Dayaw Festival set on Nov. 21-22 in Zambo


by Hader Glang


With just two weeks before the first ever Dayaw Festival kick off in Zamboanga City, event organizers led by National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in partnership with the City’s Indigenous Peoples Council of Leaders and the city government are finalizing the preparation and other arrangements including security measures for the two-day celebrations.

The festival is touted to be the biggest gathering of the country’s IPs set from November 21 to 22, 2014 in the city. It features forums on issues and concerns of the indigenous people, demonstrations of traditional crafts and cuisines, recognition of cultural masters, an exhibit of photographs and crafts, and outreach performances of ethnic songs and dances.

At a news conference Thursday at Grand Astoria Hotel, NCCA’s Sub-commission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts Al-Anwar Anzar, IP Councilor Ismael Musa, National Commission on Indigenous People-Zamboanga City head George Jocutan and Yahya Abdulsalam, representing city hall mayor office were optimistic about the Dayaw Festival 2014 and their progress to date.

“Various activities will be held at different venues in the city, where the opening ceremony will be held at the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology, while the closing ceremony will be held at Paseo del Mar,” said Anwar.

“It (Dayaw Festival in Zamboanga) will be participated in by 27 tribal affiliations/communities or indigenous groups of southern Philippines composed of 12 clusters,” he said. “The Zamboanga celebration is part of the nationwide celebration of Dayaw 2014: The Indigenous Peoples Festival in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.”

Dayaw aims to highlight the importance and richness of indigenous cultures, to discuss issues IPs face today and facilitate interactions with other IPs. It also aims to mine traditional knowledge as well as draw inspiration and insight from indigenous ways of life to find solutions for modern problems.

In previous years, Dayaw gathered IPs in one venue. This year, it is held in three different venues in the future major island clusters of the country under the theme “Katutubong Filipino Para sa Kalikasan at Kapayapaan” (Indigenous Filipino for Environment and Peace).

In Luzon, Dayaw was held from October 22 to 23 in Baguio City, in partnership with Negros Cultural Foundation, Inc. participated in by northern ethnic groups. In the Visayas, Dayaw will be held from November 10 to 11 in Bacolod City, also in partnership with Negros Cultural Foundation, Inc., and will be participated by indigenous groups of central Philippines.

Councilor Musa said they have taken coordinated efforts with the police and the military to ensure security during the two-day Dayaw Festival.

“We actually sent letters to our police chief Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro, andv Lieutenant Colonel Taharudin Ampatuan, Group Commander of the 4th Civil Relations Group based in Western Mindanao... basically we are not only coordinating with the joint Task Force Zamboanga but we’re coordinating entirely with the Western Mindanao Command,” he added.

Dayaw is annually held in celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples’ Month observed every October, showcasing the different indigenous people groups of the Philippines, and an enriching and interesting array of activities - form performances, rituals, and forums to tradition cuisine demos, traditional games, arts to crafts exhibit and cultural others.

The signing of Presidential Proclamation 1906 in October 5, 2009, declaring National IPs’ Month, expanded the IP’s Week celebration, and the NCCA has been celebrating indigenous cultures in different parts of the country.

“Indigenous peoples play a great role in the preservation, protection of environment and promotion of peace,” Anwar stressed.

“We’re very happy because they bring Dayaw in Zamboanga...we’re very much in support to this indigenous peoples festival,” said Jocutan.

For Abdusalam, “In behalf of the city government, especially the city mayor’s office, we’re also glad that NCCA brings Dayaw here, the first in Zamboanga City... it’s time to take part in this coming event.” Hader Glang

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