DSWD upholds culture-sensitive program implementation through Kalahi-CIDSS

MANILA – The   Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the implementation of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).  The MOA signing was held at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) last July 14.  

Kalahi-CIDSS is a poverty alleviation program that provides citizens the opportunity to identify and implement sub-projects that would address their basic needs. In most cases, the chosen sub-projects of communities come in the form of small-scale infrastructures such as school buildings, day care centers, health stations, pathways, and irrigation systems.

The scale-up of Kalahi-CIDSS led to changes in the design of the program. Part of these changes is the development of a comprehensive Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF), which also covers the engagement of IPs. Under the ESMF, the program commits to ensure the informed participation of IPs so that they are in a position to receive culturally compatible social and economic benefits, and guarantee that they will not be adversely affected throughout the process.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said, “Napakahalaga na kilalanin [natin] ang karapatan at dignidad ng ating mga katutubo [It is very important for us to recognize the rights and dignity of the Indigenous Peoples]”. She added that the MOA is intended to bring out the “power of peace, people, and time”, as it symbolizes the bringing together of the national government, the local government, and the IP and non-IP citizens together.

For her part, Atty. Leonor Oralde-Quintayo, the Chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, said, “We salute each commitment for community-driven development to be implemented in a way that the Indigenous Peoples are protected”, referring to the development strategy employed by Kalahi-CIDSS.  She also thanked the DSWD for the continuous support it provides the Commission.

As a program that promotes social inclusion, Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS)pays close attention to the inclusion of the Indigenous Peoples’ (IPs) and their improvement of well-being.

Protection of IP rights

As early as now, IPs feel that they are included in Kalahi-CIDSS activities, such as the case of the Bago tribe of Quirino, Ilocos Sur.

The municipality, which consists almost exclusively of IPs, is a first-time implementer of Kalahi-CIDSS. According to the residents, the program has helped strengthen their cultural practices, which was in danger of dying down.

“Ang proseso ng Kalahi-CIDSS ay lalong nagpatatag sa aming mga IPs dito sa Quirino dahil ibinalik nito ang maganda naming kaugalian (The Kalahi-CIDSS processes strengthened the IPs in Quirino because the Program has reinstated our old traditions)”, Hon. Artemio Marvil, Quirino Municipal Council Indigenous People’s Representative said.

Aside from the restoration of their culture, unity, and participation, the program has become a venue for the residents to connect with each other again and work hand in hand towards progress.

“Hangga’t nananalaytay sa ugat namin ang pagiging IP, pananatilihin namin ang kulturang aming kinalakihan. Nagpapasalamat ako sa Kalahi-CIDSS sa pagpapaalala sa aking mga kapwa IP sa kahalagahan ng pagkakaisa at ng aming kultura (As long as being an IP flows in our blood, we shall keep this culture that we grew up with. I am thankful to Kalahi-CIDSS for reminding us on the importance of unity among IPs and and culture)”, Hon. Marvil said.###