By Sarwell Q. Meniano
TACLOBAN CITY, Aug. 9 (PNA) – As far as healing is concern, the Manobo tribal group in this city combines nature and science.
Datu Rico Padecio, a 76-year-old tribal member has never been seriously ill, owing the good health condition to consumption of organically-produced foods and fresh air.
“Our food is derived from nature, which is pure and reduces the risk of acquiring food-borne diseases,” Padecio said.
His wife, Divina, 64 is the chieftain of the tribe of 30 families dwelling in a farming community uphill of Bagacay village, northern part of this city.
The Tacloban-based ethnic group originated from Agusan del Sur. In the 1970s, they settled in upland areas of Samar Island. Illegal logging forced them to establish settlement in Tacloban mid 1980s where they initiated massive reforestation.
“Although we believe in cure from nature, we also advise some tribe members to seek medical attention in clinics and hospitals for those suffering severe illnesses,” said Divina, a midwife by profession.
Living on the outskirts of Tacloban for the past three decades, the tribal leaders have noticed the change as more tribe members have become educated. Most of them have completed college education related to farming, their major source of livelihood.
“Whether it is farming or health, we have learned to blend the natural way and technology for as long as the system is consistent with what our forefathers taught us,” said Divina, a highly skilled and socially powerful woman who represents the ethnic group in various events both here and in Manila.
Occasionally, the elderly performs rituals to seek spiritual intervention in driving away plagues.
The tribe also welcomes medical mission from the national government, city government and humanitarian organizations.
Every August 9 of the year, the world commemorates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day is celebrated with special events around the world.
This year’s theme puts a spotlight on the issue of indigenous peoples’ access to health care services.
In a statement, the United Nations said that improving indigenous peoples’ health remains a critical challenge for indigenous peoples members states, and the United Nations.
“The challenges related to improving indigenous peoples’ health are linked to social, cultural, economic and political factors, including inadequate education, disproportionate poverty and discrimination in the health service delivery,” the UN stated.
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated annually on 9 August, in recognition of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in Geneva in 1982.
The International Day was first proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994, according to UN. (PNA)