DSWD committed to protecting and promoting indigenous peoples’ rights and welfare

Published October 22, 2020, 5:07 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

As the nation observes Indigenous People’s Month, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Thursday, Oct. 22, it remains committed to promoting and safeguarding the welfare and interest of indigenous communities in the country. 

DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje said the agency will continuously implement programs that would benefit the millions of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the country. 

“Pinapahalagahan ng DSWD ang kasarinlan na ating mga katutubo na kababayan. Ang ahensya po ay pinipilit paigtingin at palakasin ang kanilang kakayahan upang mabigyan sila ng intevention na hindi  naman salungat sa kanilang kultura at pagkakakilanlan,” he said during the Laging Handa briefing. 

(The DSWD values the independence of our indigenous peoples. The agency strives to intensify and strengthen its capacity to give them intervention, which is not contrary to their culture and cultural identity.)

He noted that the DSWD and National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) are closely working together to ensure the delivery of “efficient and effective” services to the IPs. 

It has been noted that the Philippines has around 14 to 17 million IPs who belong to 110 ethno-linguistic groups.

Paje said one of the programs that the DSWD is implementing to benefit the IPs is the Comprehensive Program for Street Children, Street Families, and Indigenous People.

The program seeks to empower partner-stakeholders especially in communities and barangays to be directly involved in addressing the concern of street dwellers not only in their respective areas of jurisdiction, but also to their neighbouring barangays and communities.

Paje noted that the DSWD is also granting cash aid to the IPs, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) under its Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program.

“Pinapatupad ng DSWD ang Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for indigenous peoples (MCCT-IP). Partikular na nagbibigay ng cash grant sa ating mga katutubo mula sa geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas na hindi sakop ng regular na Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program o ng 4Ps,” he said. 

(The DSWD has implemented the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for indigenous peoples (MCCT-IP). We are giving cash grants to our IPs from the geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas that are not covered by the regular 4Ps program.)

In its Memorandum Circular No. 2 series of 2018, the DSWD explained that the cash transfer program is a sub-component of the 4Ps, which uses a modified approach in implementing the conditional cash transfer program (CCT) for poor families, including Homeless Street Families (HSF), IPs, and Families in Need of Special Protection (FNSP).

It said the salient features of the MCCT include modification in terms of targeting, conditionalities, program interventions, and mode of implementation. 

The MCCT program “aims to provide social protection services fit to the needs of IPs, and to the dynamics of the HSF and FNSP beneficiaries,” the memorandum said.