The indigenous people are one of the most vulnerable groups in this crisis. As indigenous communities already experienced poor access to essential and social services, and healthcare - this public health emergency and quarantine measures pose a threat to the food security of indigenous communities as a result of the loss of their daily source of income.
Bantay Kita, through the TELUS International Philippines, was able to assist and extend support to indigenous women in Agusan del Sur, Palawan, and South Cotabato amidst COVID-19. To respond to the needs of our community partners, Bantay Kita provided social assistance which consists of two components: basic commodity package – rice, canned goods, medicines, vitamins, hygiene kit, alcohol and face masks, etc. and food security and livelihood assistance – vegetable seeds and fruit seedlings.
The project was able to respond to the needs of the indigenous communities affected by COVID-19 which resulted to loss of jobs and income. The social assistance provided was timely and relevant that it helped indigenous communities to cope with the current situation through having an alternative source of fresh produce and food, and a low-cost and healthy diet for their family.
06 November 2020
Bantay Kita seeks clarification from the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) on the reported issuance of Certificate Precondition (CP) for Sagittarius Mines, Inc. in Tampakan, South Cotabato.
The Tampakan Copper and Gold Project of the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. covers five ancestral domains, and under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA law), each indigenous cultural community should give their consent. The indigenous communities have raised concerns on the procedure in the issuance of the certificate. Such clarifications and dialogues to discuss the matter have been requested, however the NCIP has not responded and consistently ignored the requests.
The Philippines committed to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which promotes the transparent and accountable governance of our natural resources. Thus, the principles of good governance must prevail, such as transparency and accountability in the issuance of permits, the conduct of dialogues as a platform to raise and discuss issues or concerns, and the free, prior and informed consent from the indigenous communities.
Bantay Kita calls on the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to conduct their processes in a transparent manner, especially to the stakeholders of the project. Thus, we request the NCIP to disclose copies of the following documents to the indigenous communities and local government of South Cotabato: field-based investigation (FBI) report, and free and prior informed consent (FPIC) reports. By providing the data and information, we believe that the stakeholders will be able to fully understand the situation and make evidence-based decisions and statements.
We believe that being transparent is a key step towards achieving good governance in natural resource management and anything less would be a disservice to the communities, LGUs, and contravene the President’s commitment to the extractive sector.