CHR lauds DSWD’s concerns on migration of indigenous peoples to urban centers

Published December 10, 2022, 1:05 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has lauded the concerns of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on the migration of indigenous peoples (IPs) to urban centers where most of them end up “homeless or beggars.”

But the CHR said the DSWD’s efforts should not violate the IPs freedom to travel, the right against discrimination, and the right to education, health and adequate standard of living.

The rights of the IPs were pointed out by the CHR since one of the measures adopted by the DSWD to prevent migration and human trafficking is to monitor points of entries and exits, including piers.

“Being an IP should not be a basis for preventing passage through ports and transportation centers. As with all law enforcement actions and policy implementations, fair investigations should be conducted to determine if the traveling IPs are indeed victims of trafficking,” the CHR said.

The CHR found laudable DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo’s decision to implement two rescue efforts for IPs — one is intended to rescue them from begging on the streets of Metro Manila and other urban centers, and the other is to prevent human trafficking and exploitation of IPs.

“CHR commends the rescue efforts, announced on Nov. 21, that involve helping IPs return to their home provinces, giving them financial aid amounting to P10,000 per family, and providing livelihood assistance which seeks to help indigenous communities live sustainably within their ancestral lands,” the CHR said in a statement.

“CHR particularly commends the acknowledgment of the DSWD Secretary that merely sending IPs home is not enough,” it added.

Secretary Tulfo had earlier said the reason why IPs are migrating to Metro Manila is because they do not have food and jobs or livelihoods in their place. Poverty is prompting them to go back to the Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities in order to beg, he said.

Also, Tulfo said there are unscrupulous individuals who would deceive IPs into a state of indebtedness by lending them travel money under the false assumption that urban centers would provide them guaranteed economic opportunities.

The CHR said it fully agrees with Tulfo that IPs need to be protected against slavery, servitude, and forced labor.

TAGS: #CHR #DSWD #Sec. Tulfo #Indigenous people