The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is checking on the situation of the indigenous cultural communities (ICC) and the indigenous peoples (IP) especially that the country battles with the raging coronavirus pandemic.
NCIP Chairperson Allen Capuyan, in his message during the online celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Day on Sunday, said he is visiting different IP communities in Mindanao to personally check on their needs.
“Today is also the day seven of my Mindanao sortie for the purpose of giving the hand information on how our ICC and IP are coping with the pandemic and at the same time assess our responses to food security concerns,” he said.
Capuyan encouraged everyone to participate in the celebration in recognition of IPs, as he targets to visit 120 areas in the country within two months and talk to IP leaders and elders to know their situation and assess how the government can help them.
Among the current concerns of different IP groups in the country are food, safety, and the issues on their ancestral domain.
To help the NCIP in supporting the IP communities, the Department of Agriculture gave an assurance that it will continue to support the programs, projects, and activities of the NCIP as it allotted a budget for the IPs in their ancestral domain.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, in a message, said his department “aims to provide a livelihood to IPs, increase their income, and improve their living conditions”.
He said this is in accordance with the vision of President Rodrigo Duterte to uplift the economy of the country to several initiatives, including meeting the needs of the IP sector.
“It intends to transform agricultural chance of this domain into food production areas. The department has committed to increasing the growth of these agricultural areas by two percent annually,” he said.
As the national IP day was celebrated online for the first time, different IP cultural communities nationwide from Luzon to Mindanao participated and showed their rich culture through chants, songs, and dances.
Among the highlights of the celebration included the chanting and prayer by the Eru-manen Menuvu IP group from the ancestral domain of Bentangan, Carmen Cotabato through their “Ulahingan”, to ward off the pandemic brought about by Covid-19.
IP leaders also shared that they are coping with the pandemic through acts of “bayanihan” which is innate in each tribe making them resilient as a community, the IP’s Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSPs), and through the various assistance given by the government. (PNA)