Monday, August 23, 2010

Mindanawon’s 10th Anniversary

The Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue will observe its 10th founding anniversary this coming 24-25 August 2010. Our theme, Lumadnon ang Kaugmaon (The future is indigenous) embodies our solidarity with the Lumad’s harmonious union with their environment. In joyous celebration of this significant decade, we have prepared various activities for this two-day observance. This occasion would likewise highlight some of Mindanawon’s efforts during the past ten years.
Please join us in this event. Program starts at 1:00 PM, 24 and 25 of August 2010 at the SM Entertainment Plaza , second floor, SM City-Davao. We would be very glad to see you there.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Welcome to Mindanawon!

Welcome to the official blogsite of the Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue.

Get to know its vision-mission and learn about its training and education programs, as well as its research and publications, as well as other basic information, as you browse through the menu options.

At the moment, we have yet to update the blog of the latest news and updates. Stay tuned for these updates. For any questions, comments and suggestions, feel free to contact us.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Capacity Building for Indigenous Leaders in Sibulan

Sibulan is an indigenous community constituted mainly by the Bagobo-Tagabawa, one of the indigenous communities who since time immemorial have been living around the southern slopes of Mt. Apo. The 2007 National Census noted that Barangay Sibulan has a total household population composed of 490 households. As high as 98% of this population are descendants of those who first settled in this upland area of what is now Davao City. It is part of the city’s Toril District

Despite being quite near Davao City, the inhabitants of Sibulan – like most of the indigenous people of Mindanao – continue to be plagued by poverty and underdevelopment. The various levels of government and the different agencies tasked to deal with the social needs of the people (especially infrastructure, education, health and social services) have had very inadequate social intervention in the area that could truly benefit the lives of the Lumads in this village.

The little that the State and its local expressions (the city government, its district representatives and some line agencies) have done are to pave the typical farm-to-market roads that are quite primitive, assist in building barangay-level buildings for meetings, a local elementary school and the like. For all intent and purposes, the Bagobo-Tagabawa are left to their own survival.

Since the People Power of l986 that led to the changes in governance (from the Marcos dictatorship to the present “democratic” system of electoral politics), Sibulan’s local political government system has followed that of the rest of the country. This means the people elect their local government officials (a barangay captain, 7 kagawads or council-members and a youth representative). They are then represented at a district level, and in their case, this is the Toril District.

There have been sincere attempts on the part of a few Senators/ Congresspersons since the time of Mrs. Cory Aquino to deal with the reality of weak local government units. Responding to this need, Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code (LGC) was passed in Congress in l991 to empower local barangay units. Unfortunately, the agency tasked to popularize this and to enflesh it in local government realities – the Department of the Interior and Local Governance – has not been able to make this Code workable in many local units in the country, especially among indigenous communities such as Sibulan.

And yet, for all the good intentions of the LGC, its formulation had always been very inadequate since the very start. Ignoring the indigenous peoples’ realities throughout the country, it failed to incorporate the existing indigenous governance systems that have been operative for centuries.

As a result, in communities such as Sibulan, there has been established a Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) which tries its best to operate hand-in-hand with the existing Barangay Tribal Council (BTC) which is a governance system that go back to the past hundred years when the Lumads manage their own governance without any interference from colonial systems. Today in Sibulan there is supposedly a BLGU and a BTC co-existing with each other.

Thus, on one hand Sibulan has a set of LGU officials headed by Barangay Captain Eric Agos and the kagawads (Hernan Ambe, Elena Vigilancia, Danny Atan, Joel Ontic, Rosita Abalayan, Carlito Tayo and Lumaway Anto). There is also another member who represents the youth – Romneck Attos. Attached to this is the group of purok leaders with Jovito Dolauta as the over-all Purok Leader. There are presently 15 puroks in the whole Sibulan.

As the LGU through the exhortations of the Local Government Code need to set up its own local bureaucracy, there are sub-units that are supposed to handle the judiciary tasks, as well as peace and security. At the same time there are initiatives to organize women, youth and other sectors. All these are expressed within the organ gram of the LGU.

On the other hand, the BTC has its own network of tribal chieftains with their own officers including: DelapeƱa Erano as Chair and Carlos Salinde as Vice-Chair. Technically, the BTC is not organically connected to the LGU system; however, since the LGU members are all Lumads, they have to deal with their tribal leaders who constitute the BTC.

To complicate the matters, part of Sibulan’s land area was included in the Bagobo-Tagabawa’s claim for their ancestral domain which they successfully secured from the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP) set up by the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of l997 (Republic Act 8371). Secured a few years ago, the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) of the Bagobo-Tagabawa covers a total of over 4,000 hectares. The IPRA recognizes indigenous governance such as the BTC but it also has its own set of officers chosen from among the CADT holders and claimants.

Unfortunately, there has been very little done in implementing the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) under Sibulan’s CADT. The agency that assisted them in securing their CADT, unfortunately, was not in a position to assist them in their ADSDPP. Neither has the NCIP been able to assist them in this area. Until now there is a major need for the CADT holders to pursue their ADSDPP.

So there are all kinds of governance systems co-existing in Sibulan: the LGU, the BTC and the set of officers connected to the CADT.

Meanwhile, a cooperative program arose in Sibulan with the intervention of FARMCOOP which began its operations in Sibulan three years ago. FARMCOOP arose out of the efforts of agrarian reform beneficiaries in some of the former banana plantations in Davao Norte to set up cooperatives. Later on, they ventured into organic farm growing in Sibulan. Their intervention in this village led to the setting up of the Sibulan Organic Banana Growers Cooperative or SOBAGROMCO and the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative which are both serviced by the FARMCOOP.

Since most of the members of SOBAGROMCO are inhabitants of Sibulan, their officers are also mainly Bagobo-Tagabawa. Thus the former operations manager of SOBAGROMCO is also a kagawad. Board members of this cooperative also hold positions in both the LGU and the BTC.

Another intervention that became a reality in Sibulan involved the field of education as initiated by the Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM), a program funded by AustAid in collaboration with the Department of Education (DepEd). BEAM in turn funds the Institute of Indigenous People’s Education (IIPE) which is a consortium of the Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue (which took the lead role in organizing this Institute), DepEd, NCIP, Lumad Dev, Assisi Foundation and MEDCO. Through the initiatives of IIPE, the local elementary school – the Mt. Apo Elementary School – became one of the pilot areas to come up with a curriculum sensitive to the Lumad culture of the area. This curriculum is to incorporate lessons in indigenous history and knowledge systems. So that this is possible, there are materials produced that can be used in the classrooms and there are training programs for the teachers on how to help evolve and use such a curriculum. Mt. Apo Elementary School is intent in implementing this program.