Defending the Ati

The Philippine island of Boracay is a tourist paradise; it is also the scene of abuse and violence suffered by its indigenous people, the Ati. The church in the Philippines is by their side to defend their rights and perhaps protect their very existence, said Bishop Sergio Utleg, president of the Philippine’s Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples. The bishop spoke on Feb. 22 following the murder of Dexter Condez, an Ati leader. A security guard for a chain of hotels in Boracay has been charged in the slaying. Bishop Utleg said the killing “highlights what is happening in that area. Due to extensive tourism marketing, these tribal people...are threatened, abused, deprived of their rights. Their land is occupied, and the goal is to expel them altogether.” Similar incidents have occurred in other parts of the country, he said. The church is on the side of the indigenous, the bishop said, and it asks the government “to protect the dignity and rights of these people.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

It is astonishing to think that God would choose to enter the world this way: as a fragile newborn who could not even hold up his own head without help.
Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017
Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat, and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)
Rarely does the death of a private citizen elicit a formal letter of condolence from the Pope.