By: April Mae Berza
The Philippines is home to over 140 indigenous peoples (IPs), who make up about 15% of the country’s population. IPs have their own unique cultures, languages, and ways of life. However, they often face discrimination and marginalization.
I am a concerned Filipino citizen who is passionate about helping and supporting IPs. I have been involved in a number of projects to help IPs, including mentoring and teaching them, helping behind the scenes at Christmas parties, and giving in-kind donations and mutual aid.
In this blog post, I will share my personal experiences of helping IPs, and I will also provide some tips on how you can help and support IPs in the Philippines.
My Personal Experiences
I first became involved in helping IPs when I attended the Lakbayan at the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2017. Lakbayan is an annual protest march organized by IPs from all over the Philippines. The march is a way for IPs to raise awareness about the issues they face, such as land rights, militarization, and poverty.
During the Lakbayan, I met a group of Lumad, who are an IP group from Mindanao. The Lumad told me about how they had been displaced from their ancestral land due to military conflicts. They also told me about how they had been denied access to education and healthcare.
I was moved by the Lumad’s stories, and I decided to do something to help them. I started by mentoring and teaching some of the Lumad children.
In 2022, I helped behind the scenes at the Christmas party for Dumagat, another IP group in the Philippines. The Dumagat are forest-dwelling people who have been affected by deforestation and climate change. I helped to organize the party and to provide food and gifts for the Dumagat children.
I have also given in-kind donations and mutual aid to the Dumagat on multiple occasions. I have donated food, clothing, and other supplies to the Dumagat. I have also helped to organize community pantries to support the Dumagat.
Tips on How to Help and Support IPs
There are many ways to help and support IPs in the Philippines. Here are a few tips:
- Educate yourself about the issues facing IPs. The first step to helping IPs is to learn about the issues they face. There are many resources available to help you learn more about IP rights, such as the website of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
- Get involved in an organization that works with IPs. There are many organizations that work with IPs in the Philippines. You can get involved by volunteering your time, donating money, or spreading awareness about the issues facing IPs.
- Support IP-owned businesses. There are many IP-owned businesses in the Philippines. You can support these businesses by buying their products and services.
- Speak out against discrimination against IPs. If you see or hear someone discriminating against an IP, speak out against it. Discrimination against IPs is illegal, and you can help to make a difference by speaking out against it.
The way forward
Indigenous peoples (IPs) are an important part of the Philippines, and they deserve our support. They have their own unique cultures, languages, and ways of life, and they have made significant contributions to the country’s history and development.
However, IPs often face discrimination and marginalization. They may be denied access to education, healthcare, and other essential services. They may also be forced to leave their ancestral lands due to development projects or conflict.
There are many ways to help and support IPs in the Philippines. Here are a few more tips:
- Advocate for IP rights. You can advocate for IP rights by contacting your elected officials and urging them to support policies that protect IPs. You can also sign petitions and participate in protests to raise awareness about the issues facing IPs.
- Support IP-led organizations. There are many IP-led organizations in the Philippines that are working to improve the lives of IPs. You can support these organizations by donating money or volunteering your time.
- Learn about IP cultures and traditions. One of the best ways to show your support for IPs is to learn about their cultures and traditions. You can do this by reading books, watching documentaries, or visiting IP communities.
By following these tips, you can help to make a difference in the lives of IPs in the Philippines. You can help to ensure that they have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else, and you can help to preserve their unique cultures and traditions.
Call to Action
If you are inspired to help IPs, there are many ways to get involved. You can volunteer your time, donate money, or spread awareness about the issues facing IPs. Every little bit helps.
Thank you for reading.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, you can also help IPs by:
- Donating to organizations that provide education and healthcare to IPs.
- Providing legal assistance to IPs who are facing discrimination or land rights violations.
- Speaking out against discrimination against IPs.
- Voting for candidates who support IP rights.
By taking these actions, you can help to ensure that IPs have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else, and you can help to preserve their unique cultures and traditions.