23 January, 2020

Second Phase of Pagsasalinlahi Project Kicks off

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By: Helen Biangalen-Magata and Maribeth V. Bugtong-Biano

Baguio City, Philippines – Representatives from different government agencies joined forces with UNICEF and Tebtebba for Capacity Development for Indigenous Youth and Children towards leadership.

An inception workshop for the project, also called as Pagsasalinlahi 2, gathered indigenous peoples advocates from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Youth Commission (NYC), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and UNICEF on July 17-19, 2018 in Mandaluyong City, Philippines to discuss and finalize the particular arrangements for the realization of the UNICEF Phase II Project.

“The project did not start from zero. This is a second phase of our project that resulted from the research done last year with the University of the Philippines,” Jennifer Corpuz of Tebtebba said. She referred to the first phase of the project that looked at the situation of indigenous youth and children with special focus on education, health and participation among others. The research found out that among the issues of the indigenous youth and children is the need for capacity building to enhance their capabilities to engage at the community level, which the current project aims to respond to.

According to Juliet Alegarme from the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer of the DSWD, the DSWD uses the Enhanced IP Participation Framework in their work program. Unfortunately, she said their recent researches also resonate with the results of the Pagsasalinlahi 1 research.

“We found out that while we reach out to the remotest, we (the development workers) do not fully respect the culture of indigenous peoples in the communities that we work with.” She recognized that the agency has still have a lot to learn to fully implement their IP Participation framework. She also expressed her optimism that the project will not only empower indigenous youth and children but will also teach a lot to service providers like them.

The workshop levelled off expectations, clarified the different roles of the various implementing actors and clinched institutional arrangements for the implementation of the project that will end on December of 2018.  Each one them also shared their mandates and programs regarding indigenous peoples, specifically on youth and children.

According to the representatives from the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS) under the Office of the President (OP), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the National Youth Commission (NYC), the government through the supervision of the OCS is implementing convergence initiatives of the government agencies, local government units and private partners in response to the current situation and emerging issues of indigenous peoples in the country. A number of resolutions have emerged from several convergence summits conducted around the country with participation and representation of indigenous peoples. An IP roadmap based on 14 thematic concerns identified are also drafted which is expected to lead to and broaden opportunities for indigenous peoples. The NYC has particular program that intends to promote economic and social conditions of indigenous youth and increase their presence in the Filipino society by promoting their meaningful participation in platforms created for them.

Emee Lei Valdehuesa of te UNICEF Philippines discussed the importance of children’s participation and participation in advocacy. She stressed that participation of children which is affirmed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child allows for appreciation and acceptance of children’s perspectives in the resolutions of issues that affects them.

“When these children are given spaces, they become visible and accepted as social actors and active citizens who have ownership of solutions to the issues that affect them”, she said.

The DSWD participants of the inception workshop who are from Zamboanga, Region 10, 11, 12, Central Office said they look forward to a very close coordination with Tebtebba given that they have barely 5 months to implement the project. They also expressed their hope for the project to scale to other regions in the country.