In the last leg of the National Inquiry on the Situation of Filipino Indigenous Peoples (IPs) on October 27 at Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-10 reported that land rights, gender equality, migration, government service accessibility and employment are among the major issues of the IPs in Mindanao.
CHR Focal Commissioner on IP Rights Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said that the inquiry includes three thematic areas which are the protection and promotion of the IPs’ land and cultural rights, effectiveness of the current government process to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of IPs, and the state of economic and social development of IPs in the Philippines.
“Layunin ng National Inquiry na alamin ang kasalukuyang kalagayan ng ating mga kapatid na katutubo sa buong Pilipinas at ilarawan kung ano ang antas ngayon ng pagkilala at pagtupad sa inyong karapatang pantao,” Gana stressed.
(It is the aim of the National Inquiry to know the current situation of the IPs in the Philippines and describe the level of recognition and fulfillment of your human rights)
IP communities in regions 9, 10, CARAGA and BaSulTa (Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi provinces of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) participated in the national inquiry.
Community leaders and members from Bangigi, Subano, Manobo, Bajau, Kolibugan, Sama Bangigi, Sama Dilaut, Sama, Tausug, Bukidnon, Manubo Pulangyon, Yakan and Talaandig shared some of their experiences in their area which hindered them to establish their cultural identity and further brace development.
Representatives from BaSulTa said that one of their primary concerns is the treatment of women in their area especially in Jolo noting that most women are not prioritized in accessing education since they will just be confined in homes as housewives.
Aside from gender equality, illegal employment of Badjaos in Malaysia was also reported where the group’s representative stated that they are still seeking for a bilateral agreement of the two governments (the Philippines and Malaysia) to lessen undocumented employment in the neighboring country.
When it comes to health concerns, most of the IPs mentioned that the government still lacks medical service and provision of medicines in their areas. They stressed that the proximity of their areas and the cultural practices of some groups may cause such health service gap.
The Badjaos also cited less to no employment opportunities for their graduates.
These concerns and more were tackled carefully by the CHR as these outputs of the National Inquiry will comprise the Indigenous Peoples’ Right Observatory (IPRO). The CHR also said that such issues will be raised to the national government agency concerned for appropriate actions.
“Ang lahat ng mga kaalaman at datos na lilitaw sa National Inquiry ay gagamiting batayan upang magpadaloy ng kaukulang serbisyo at tulong para sa mga katutubo sa Pilipinas (All of the information and data that will emerge in the National Inquiry will be used as basis to provide appropriate service and aid to the Indigenous People in the Philippines),” Gana said.(RTP/PIA10)