Indigenous Peoples Community Empowered to Sustain Peace

IP COORDINATING CENTER: PGO Chief of Staff Ednar Dayanghirang, 67th IB Commander Lt. Col. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, and Provincial IPMR Hon. Charlie Ambasan lead the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony of the newly inaugurated Coordinating Center for Indigenous People set inside the  military camp in Baganga town.

DAVAO ORIENTAL— Empowering Indigenous Peoples communities by letting them have an active involvement and participation in government, the Philippine Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion had organized its first Indigenous Forum and inaugurated its Indigenous Peoples Coordinating Center set within the military camp.

Tribal chieftains and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) from the first district of Davao Oriental and the Municipality of Lingig, Surigao del Sur participated during the historic event held on February 19 at the Philippine Army’s 67th IB Headquarters in Baganga town.

Emphasizing that “IPs are the key to long and lasting peace,” Lt. Col. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion, said peace will be sustained through the delivery of basic services to the poorest of the poor. And with the coordinating center’s established links with national agencies, the needs of the IP communities are ensured to be catered much faster.

Lt. Col. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion

In the effort to counter insurgency, Obligado, during the forum, urged all IPMRs to strengthen their respective community defense system to protect their area from extortion and harassment of the communist rebels. He has also challenged the IPMRs to reactivate their respective Indigenous Political Structure (IPS) for them to exercise autonomy in implementing their tribal policies and programs.

“IPs is either victims [of violence] or the solution [to armed conflict]. IPs can either fear or fight [the communist rebels],” he said.

SUPPORT TO IP COMMUNITIES

Boosting economic growth in the ancestral lands, the government further plans to improve agricultural skills of the IPs to increase production on abaca, falcata, and other agricultural commodities that will contribute to the economic prosperity in the ancestral domains of this province. 

Through the provincial government’s Inclusive Growth and Development Framework, various programs are also set to be implemented in the ancestral domains of the province.

Provincial Governor’s Office Chief-of-Staff Ednar Dayanghirang, who graced the occasion, disclosed some of the major programs set for implementation in the IP communities here.

The newly inaugurated Indigenous Peoples Coordinating Council set inside the 67th IB Headquarters in Baganga

Aside from the implementation of the abaca industry development in partnership with the Fiber Industry Development Authority and the P1 million worth of livelihood projects for each of the 16 ancestral domains, to be funded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), a P10 million worth of housing project will be implemented next year. Each ancestral domain will be given 100 housing units with each housing unit costing P100,000. The National Housing Authority, the project’s funding agency, is set to conduct an assessment in the project’s site.

In support to education, the provincial government here has started providing rice assistance to 27 IP college students in partnership with the Provincial Employment Services Office.

Dayanghirang said that these are some of the provincial government’s interventions under inclusive governance to end poverty and insurgency among the IP communities. He said the “IPs has become the most vulnerable to the recruitment of communist New People’s Army. He said that there are 3 IPs out of 4 NPA rebels”, thus, prompting the government to swing into action to counter the alarming recruitment rate among the IPs.

“The solution to insurgency is good governance. If the government will succeed in eradicating poverty in the ancestral domains, then it will also succeed in eradicating insurgency”, said Dayanghirang, citing IPs as the most marginalized sector in the province living in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) who are denied of the free services of the government due to inaccessibility.

Through inclusive governance, peace was maintained in the province within the last 7 months, he said.

“This is our way of defeating poverty without a single fire,” Dayanghirang said, mentioning the Provincial Government’s flagship program on peace and development called the Nagkakaisang Lingkod Bayan ng Davao Oriental (NLD) Barangay Outreach Caravan (BOC) which delivers much-needed services to the people. By Riza M. Golez/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

 

 

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