IRIGA CITY – August 9 is celebrated as International Day of the World’s Indigenous People to celebrate their achievements and contributions to the world.

As a fitting tribute to the indigenous peoples (IP), the Department of Agriculture Bicol joined the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and other government entities in a one-day caravan dubbed as Serbisyo para sa mga Katutubo: Pantawid Pamilya Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration cum Information and Service Caravan.The event which was spearheaded by the DSWD and NCIP was attended by the chieftains and members of the different IP tribes of Iriga City.

Mayor Wilfredo Rex C. Oliva of Iriga City presented the programs of the LGU concerning the IPs including “kasalan sa mga tribo” where the LGU is giving one sack of rice and P1,000 cash to the newlywed couples. Mayor Oliva added that the City adheres to the principle that “those who have less in life shall have more from the LGU.”

Meanwhile, Asuncion De Leon from the NCIP regional office discussed the ancestral domain delineation and titling services. She said that there are 467 million IPs worldwide. In the Philippines, there are 17 million indigenous people or katutubo, and 222 ethnic groups including Agta and Manide of Bicol.

“Twenty-nine years after the first Indigenous People’s Day was celebrated, tayo ay patuloy pa ring naglalakbay, itinataguyod at kinikilala ang suporta ng mga katutubo,” De Leon added. She reminded all entities that are planning to deliver interventions to the IPs to secure a Free, Prior Informed Consent first (FPIC) as mandated by IP Rights Act Law 8371 and NCIP AO 3 series of 2020.

Danicris Orcio, IP Desk Officer of DA Bicol discussed the programs of the DA particularly the Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo or 4K Program.“Layunin ng 4K na paunlarin ang Ancestral Agricultural Lands ng ICC/IP upang maging produktibo at mapagkakitaan; bumuo sa kanila ng napapanatiling mga negosyo sa agrikultura, mapataas ang kita at mai-angat ang kanilang kabuhayan.” Katulong ng DA sa pagpapatupad ng 4K ang NCIP at mga Municipal Agriculture Office,” Orcio said.

Dr. Mary Grace Rodriguez, focal person of 4K in Bicol said that the program started in Bicol in 2021. As of this writing, there are 34 beneficiaries of 4K in Bicol. Five IP communities in Albay; two in Camarines Norte; 16 in Cam. Sur; two in Camarines Norte; nine in Sorsogon.

The DA Bicol team composed of 4K Program and RAFIS distributed IEC materials and vegetable seeds to the participants. Also present were Florentino Ubalde, Permanent Representative to DSWD Regional Advisory Council; and Marcial Bustarga, APCO of Cam. Sur (Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS 5 / photo credit Eduardo Collantes, Jr.)