Impressions by Cesar Taguba
3rd Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Europe (ICBE) Consultation
5-8 May 2005
by Cesar T. Taguba
On the whole, the 3rd ICBE consultation achieved its objectives and my personal expectations. This is to be attributed to the excellent preparatory work, participation of many in formulating the program, in taking part in the various consultation activities. The superb organizational work of BIBAK Switzerland contributed to the smooth flow of the activities. It is important for BIBAK Switzerland to share their valuable experiences and insights in playing well their role as host in a highly organized and efficient way (ala the famous Swiss watch).
There was warm camaraderie between the young and old, new participants and those in the previous consultations, those coming from outside Europe and the European participants, the foreign guests and partners with the participants. The women played an outstanding role, which speaks very well of the advances of the Cordillera women’s movement. The program was well balanced. Roles and responsibility were shared. Consensus on the program content and procedure were easily reached, avoiding unnecessary lengthy and divisive debates. While the focus was on the Cordillera (particular), there was recognition of being a part of a larger entity - the Filipino people and nation and the migrant community or diaspora (general). The output was substantial and relevant to the consultation theme. It was a joyous consultation with lots of laughter, informality and spontaneity.
The impressive cultural evening highlighted the importance of cultural art forms (dancing, singing, chanting) as a source of identity, instrument for inter-cultural exchange and to establish solidarity.
In future consultations, we may have to be multi-lingual to enable more to participate in a language they are most familiar and comfortable with. Command of the main consultation language bestows an element of power, which may unconsciously make others feel inadequate or inferior, thus affecting their participation. We should also devise our program to achieve more focus on key issues and do adequate work to ensure output (i.e. circulation of discussion papers and main reference reading materials long before the consultation, etc). Moreover, we should make plans to make consultations affordable so more can attend.
It is fine that provisions for continuity are made through the publication of the Proceedings, opening up of additional web site and formation of a Consultative Committee to work with BIBAK Ireland for the 2007 4th ICBE Consultation. BIBAK Switzerland may have to take the initiative to get proposals for the theme of the 4th ICBE, as soon as possible.
Our loose, consultative and consensual method and leadership structure are serving us well, giving us much room and space for initiative and creativity. Next ICBE consultation, we may have to decide on a structure and method to correspond to the gains we made, realities on the ground and to give substance to our Europe-wide character.