DAVAO CITY - Inspired by the stunning Kublai artworks at Ponce Suites Gallery Hotel in Davao City, eight newly selected Council of Elders of the Ugnayang Pambansa para sa Katutubong Kaalaman at Talino (UPAKAT Inc.) held their first council meeting on January 24-26 2017.
The council members who hail from the different ethnographic regions of the country, finalized the networks’ constitution and by-laws and came up with a plan that detailed what the network would want to do in the next three years.
According to Mr. John Mart Salunday, a Tagbanua from Palawan and the current Secretary of the network, the crafting of the constitution and by-laws is one of their responsibilities as appointed officers of UPAKAT.
One of the main activity of the network for the year is to train indigenous representatives of the different indigenous political structures, organizations and communities on human rights based approach. This is to enhance indigenous peoples’ awareness and understanding on their inherent rights and the different international and national human rights instruments.
“The goal is to equip our people with the necessary skills to effectively lobby and advocate for indigenous peoples rights,” said Timuay Santos Unsad, a Téduray elder from Upi, Maguindanao and the current President of the network.
“The new set of councils are committed to serve during their term and will collectively continue to promote and advocate traditional knowledge nationwide,” he added.
UPAKAT is a national network of indigenous political structures, organizations and communities for the promotion of traditional knowledge and wisdom, in the Philippines. ###