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Cagayan de Oro
Monday, April 22, 2024

Government of yore establishes bureau dedicated to indigenous communities

By Annabel Consuelo Petinglay

In San Jose de Buenavista, Antique, the Antique Provincial Board approved the establishment of an office specifically dedicated to serving the indigenous peoples (IP) during its regular session on Monday.

The Provincial Indigenous Peoples Office (PIPO) is now mandated by an ordinance passed on its final reading by the provincial board. This office aims to address the needs of approximately 38,440 IPs in Antique, ensuring their active participation in various sectors such as education and health. Board member Karmila Rose Dimamay emphasized the importance of PIPO in facilitating the delivery of essential services to the indigenous communities.

Antique has three IP communities, namely Iraynon Bukidnon, Cuyon-on, and Ati, which also need to be given priority in terms of better healthcare and livelihood,” Dimamay said during her report to the provincial board.

The ordinance carries with it a provision for an annual allocation of PHP3 million for maintenance and other operating expenses.

The office will advise the Office of the Governor on matters relating to IPs and coordinate with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and all existing IP desks in the province in formulating projects and programs for the benefit of their sector.

An IP desk under the Provincial Youth Development Office (PYDO) currently looks after their concerns.

Elpidio Canja, an IP Mandatory Representative (IPMR) in the municipality of Valderrama, welcomed the creation of the office because it would help them push for IP representation in the municipal councils of 17 other towns in Antique.

“Right now, I am the only IPMR in the province of Antique,” he said.

As an IPMR, he lobbied for livelihood programs such as hog-fattening for IPs in their municipality, as well as bringing up their other concerns to the attention of their municipal council.

Seven of the 22 barangays of Valderrama, with about 9,000 population, are certified as 100 percent IP barangays. (PNA)

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