In promotion and observance of the diverse and rich cultures of the Indigenous Peoples, DSWD Field Office 1 actively participates in the celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month by wearing ethnic attire and/or any IP accessory every Monday for the whole month of October 2020. This year, the celebration is guided by the theme Correcting Historical Injustices for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Welfare” which sends a powerful message in correcting inequities and unjustness long suffered by Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs).

Bilang isang IP at manggagawa ng Kagawaran ng Kagalingang Panlipunan at Pagpapaunlad, nagagalak ako na binibigyang halaga at kinikilala ng pamahalaan ang mayamang kultura ng mga katutubo. Ang pagdiriwang ng buwan ng mga katutubo ay isang napakahalagang pagkakataon sa mga katutubo na ipagmalaki ang kanilang iba’t-ibang kultura at tradisyon (As an IP and a staff of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, I am glad that the government prioritizes and recognizes the rich culture of the Indigenous Peoples. The celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month is an important occasion of the IPs to pride their diverse culture and tradition),” shared Irish Saguipilan, Focal of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer.

Meanwhile, Social Welfare Office IV Virginia Sesay said that the celebration provides a platform for every member of the Indigenous Peoples to assert their rights as Filipinos and as human beings. The OIC-Chief of the Specialized Programs Division further narrated the initiatives of the Department in reinforcing strong foundations in building relationships with the ICCs/IPs, “Since then and to date – partnerships with IPs by different sectors has been strengthened resulting to various activities that aimed to protect and promote the IPs’ cultural heritage. Both IPs and non-IP were made aware of the IPs’ rights as well as appreciation on contributions of the IP sector to nation-building are being recognized.”

DSWD FO 1 Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo encouraged all employees to deepen their understanding of IPs’ values and cultures to promote the nation’s cultural diversity. “All stakeholders must work hand in hand to uphold, safeguard, and fulfill the rights of Indigenous Peoples. We must respect and value cultural differences and social dynamics because these make us diverse and unique. I also encourage IPs to be part of our growing family here in DSWD FO 1 and to the Department as a whole. Through this, we do not only promote equal employment opportunity but we also put premium on organizational diversity that strengthens and broadens societal acceptance,” the Regional Director shared.  On the 3rd year of implementation, Director Castillo directed all staff to wear any ethnic attire and/or accessory every Monday this month. By doing so, the Department can support and sustain cultural resilience and sustainability. He further advised that an orientation on the proper use of IPs’ traditional attire in any public event should be facilitated in compliance with Republic Act 8371, also known as the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997.         

National Indigenous Peoples Month is celebrated every October of the year pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1906, series of 2009. (by: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit)