DSWD seeking partners to instill cultural trainings to lumads

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 March) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development is open to a partnership with academic institutions in instilling cultural trainings to indigenous groups, some of whom are beginning to forget their own culture.

In an interview Tuesday, Audrie Perez, DSWD XI indigenous peoples focal person, said they could integrate the idea into their family development sessions of their beneficiaries under the modified conditional cash transfer (MCCT) of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

He said the agency’s thrust leaned towards cultural sensitivity for its programs for IPs.

However, there were IPs who were starting to be unaware of their own roots, he lamented.

“We’re open to the partnership,” Perez said. “Maybe we could ask some experts to speak to our beneficiaries.”

He said the agency valued the expertise of the academe.

In Mintal, Tuesday also marked the graduation of 34 anthropology majors from the University of Southeastern Philippines’ Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples Education, which offers the course to deserving IP students from all over the Philippines.

The DSWD official said it was open to having a partnership with USEP as well as other academic institutions for projects involving IPs.

The Pamulaan Center, according to the USEP website, aims to produce graduates equipped with knowledge and abilities to initiate collaborative actions towards sustainable development of IP communities.

The term “Pamulaan” is a Matigsalog word meaning “seedbed”.

In an interview, USEP president Perfecto Alibin said the graduates would go back to their communities to serve as teachers or community leaders.

The graduates come from as far as Zamboanga, Maguindanao, Mindoro, Ilocos, and Ifugao, among other areas.

The graduation marked the university’s fifth commencement exercise for the degree program.

At a speech delivered during the commencement exercise at the university’s Mintal campus, Teduray timuay Alim Bandara said the graduation of the students was an opportunity for leaders to emerge in the midst of continuing conflict, in the time of discussions for the Bangsamoro Basic Law as well as the long struggle for their ancestral domains.

Bandara said the IPs have their own version of globalization, in the idea of an absence of borders, where delineations meant points of interaction instead of segregation.