By Jan Vincent Leuterio
Published on October 6, 2020
DAVAO DEL NORTE, Oct. 5 (PIA) – The Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities are now taking an active role in planning, project monitoring, and even safeguarding of the projects placed in their areas intended for development.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Head Area Management, Oliver Binancilan, revealed this change in the IPs’ behavior during One Davao Presser today (October 5).
“We have noticed the proactive role played now by most IP communities,” Binancilan said.
He said that this is a change in the IPs’ behavior since, before, they used to only “wait and see”.
“Most of our IP communities took part in participating in terms of planning, project monitoring in their particular areas. Alam po natin maam ang behavior ng mga IPs, nandoon lang sila sa area nila(We know ma’am the behavior of the IPs, they just stay in their areas), they seldom go out. But right now, they reach out to the LGUs and provide inputs as far as community planning is concerned,” he said.
As such, the LGUs now recognize the significance in the involvement of the communities.
“They were very much participative. The LGUs recognize their significance in decision making as far as governance is concerned, they are now consulted,” Binancilan said.
He added it is even more significant that the IPs have formed their own security forces to make sure the projects are safe, truly showing their active role in the development of their areas.
“Aside from that, what is very critical is in terms of providing safeguard to our projects. Ayaw nilang mawala at masira etong mga proyektong binigay sa kanila (They don’t want the projects given to them to go to waste). So they formed their own security forces to secure themselves and to secure the projects they are now managing and operating,” he said.
Binancilan believes that with the government’s fulfillment of the communities’ long-time needs through these infrastructure projects, the IP communities are now realizing who the real government is, and who deserves to get their support.
He was referring roads and bridges, housing projects, among other projects funded and constructed not only by OPAPP but other national agencies.
“Na feel namo nga na change ilang paglantaw towards the government (We felt the change in how they see the government). They see now that this is the real government to be supported. They really feel the presence of the government through these tangible projects. These are vertical structures. These are hard infrastructures that they have been requesting for a long time even before this administration,” he said.
Thus, the IP communities are now giving their full participation towards peace building.
“They now have this warm reception to us. They are now very willing to cooperate and participate in nation building, peace building, and development in their Sitios,” he said. (Jan Vincent Leuterio, PIA-XI)