In an effort to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and to prepare them  to  be actively involved in decision-making processes for local development, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) oriented yesterday IP leaders on the soon to be launched National Community Driven Development Project (NCDDP).

The NCDDP is the scaling up of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the national government’s flagship poverty alleviation programs being implemented through the DSWD. The ten-year implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS has shown that IPs have high attendance and participation in the project's community activities.

As a community-driven development (CDD) program, one of the main areas of focus of NCDDP is the empowerment of ordinary citizens by way of their inclusion and active participation in local governance and key community activities meant to address local poverty issues. The approach ensures the inclusion of IPs and other vulnerable sectors in community decision-making.

 The IP leaders who attended the national orientation were the head claimants of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in NCDDP municipalities from the seven ethnographic regions.  These are: Region CAR and I, CAR II, CAR III and the Rest of Luzon, Region Island Groups and the Rest of Visayas, Region Central Mindanao, Region Northern and Western Mindanao, and Region South and Eastern Mindanao.

The orientation also focused  on key issues that may affect the design and implementation of NCDDP, such as culture, ancestral domain, and human rights. Likewise, it provided information on the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) legal instruments that are relevant to IP-related concerns, particularly those that protect and promote IPs’ rights over their ancestral domain and in their participation in Local Planning Processes. 

According to DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman, “IPs are some of the most marginalized and vulnerable in society. Through the NCDDP, they will have access to health care, schools, and other services. They will also have the voice to articulate their unique needs. The NCDDP empowerment platform will facilitate their growth so they can work together with other members of society while preserving their indigenous culture.”  

Targeted to begin implementation by late 2013, the NCDDP will expand Kalahi-CIDSS’ coverage of 364 municipalities to 900. Of these, 768 municipalities, or 85% of the total coverage of the program, have barangays with IP populations.