ON ANCESTRAL LANDS
The Philippines is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of ecological wealth and diversity. It is among the mega-diverse countries both in terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The country is abundant in mineral deposits, rich forest ecosystems, predominantly agriculture with fertile lands, and has a variety of renewable energy sources. These resources can be pillars for economic and social development for the Filipino people if utilized properly. The country’s finite natural wealth and unparalleled ecosystems, however, are in a rapid state of degradation, destruction, and decline. They are viewed as mere resources to be extracted and exported not taking into account its essential role in sustaining the country’s ecosystems and its various communities.
Due to development aggression and projects ripe with corruption in the government, Lumad are currently facing forced migration and land grabbing of their ancestral domain. These aggressions bring serious threats to the environment, human rights violations, and impoverishment among the people. In addition, the effects of climate change aggravate the poor condition of many communities which have already been facing environmental problems.
ON EDUCATION IN THE PHILIPPINES
The Philippine education system has been heavily influenced by its colonial history, which has included periods of Spanish, American and Japanese rule and occupation. We are currently seeing trends of privatization which leads to inaccessibility for those living in poverty. Students are required to pay fees to attend school, to take tests, to purchase uniforms, and all the supplies needed.
Another trend is the westernization of the education system which paves the way for the erasure of indigenous culture. Schools in the Philippines have adopted the K-12 system and students are primarily taught in English in order to prepare Filipinos for the workforce outside of the Philippines.