"The Philippines, together with partners and Indigenous Peoples, has implemented the Mindanao Inclusive Agriculture Development Program (MIADP) that aims to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and integration in value-chains of organized Indigenous Peoples farmers and fisherfolk in the southern Philippines," Dahlialyn Dait-Cawed, Chief of NCIP External Affairs and Communication Division said in the Philippine statement delivered to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in its discussion on Item 6 on April 23.
Ms. Dait-Cawed said mechanisms and approaches are in place for the effective implementation of the outcome document, adding that the NCIP is the state mechanism responsible for the design of policies, programs, activities, and projects for the well-being of IPs, taking into consideration their beliefs, customs, practices, and culture. She cited the Educational Assistance and Merit-Based Scholarship Program benefitting 32,094 Indigenous Peoples grantees.
During the Forum, the Philippines' recognition that ancestral domains and land security to be the material bases for the Indigenous Peoples cultural integrity was emphasized.
"The Philippines respects the time immemorial rights of Indigenous Peoples to their native title through the issuance of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) where 252 CADTs have been issued covering 15 million hectares of land and water, benefitting more than 1.3 million Indigenous Peoples," Ms. Dait-Cawed said.
The Philippines, Ms. Dait-Cawed added, has also made it mandatory for Indigenous Peoples to be represented in local decision-making bodies. She shared that there are 4,300 Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs) in the barangay, provincial, and regional councils.
"Beyond recognizing and protecting the rights of IPs, the Philippines is committed to empowering them to be able to participate in decision-making in national and international fora, including in the United Nations system on issues affecting them," she added.
The UNPFII serves as the UN's central coordinating body for matters relating to the concerns and rights of the world's indigenous peoples.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The NCIP is the primary government agency that formulates and implements policies, plans and programs for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and well-being of IPs with due regard to their ancestral domains and lands, self-governance and empowerment, social justice and human rights, and cultural integrity.