Aptly stated in the project rationale, “inspite the fact that the Philippines has IPRA and is under obligation to comply with various UN human rights instruments including UNDRIP, the country’s indigenous peoples continue to suffer from multiple forms of human rights violations, and remain among the most impoverished and marginalized sectors in the Filipino society.”
According to Dinteg, development, especially mineral, forest and water resources, has long been a contentious issue associated with conflicting frameworks in resource utilization.
For indigenous peoples, development is about maintaining a healthy balance in the relationship between the human community and nature. For corporations and states, however, development is about owning, extracting and profiting from nature, and achieving economic growth as a result.
“It is in the context of this gap in development perspectives that the project would come in, to facilitate in bridging the said gap,” said Dalang. One way is by ensuring the free, prior and informed participation of indigenous communities in development planning.
According to Dalang, there is a felt need to introduce some changes in the process of formulating area development plans for the process to be consistent with the human rights-based approach as applied to indigenous peoples.
Besides FPIC, IPRA also prescribes the formulation, implementation and evaluation of Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Program (ADSDPP), an arena available for intefacing the development perspectives of indigenous peoples with national development goals.
Enhancing the Rights-Based Approach
With financial support from the European Union, Dinteg and its project partners will embark on awareness-raising activities for communities to get a comfortable grasp of FPIC, memoranda of agreement, organizational management and policies. It will also lobby and coordinate with local government units to facilitate local planning processes.
Dinteg will also conduct round-table discussions, press conference and legislative inquiries as a result of its activities on monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violations.
Partner organizations include Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance; Kamp; Koalisyon ng mga Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (Kasapi); Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanaw (Kalumaran); Legal Rights and Natural Resources – Kasama sa Kalikasan (LRC-KSK); EED Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (EED-TFIP); Tebtebba Foundation; Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) and peoples organizations in 10 communities throughout the country.
Most of the service areas are in Mindanao and Cordillera. (Bulatlat.com)