BARLIG, Mountain Province – To maximize the role of Indigenous People Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs) in all levels, the indigenous peoples (IPs) representatives, aside from the powers, duties and functions listed in the Administrative Order No. 03, S. 2018, sec.7 of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), IPMRs as stakeholders and members of the council of elders should coordinate and cooperate with the Department of Education (DepEd) to assist schools in the province in strengthening the implementation of Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) program for the younger generation to be appreciative of their origin.
IPMRs are familiar with their community culture at the same time enjoy acceptability from the barangay/town or tribe they represent, hence, can help in IPEd full implementation.
Indigenous children of today, despite the presence of information and communications technology which are very useful as products of the advancing era where they engage so much of their precious times, need to be directly instructed on the indigenous knowledge, skills and practices (IKSPs) of their ancestral domain.
IPEd learning competencies while lack integration in a centralized curriculum must have bearing on the lifeways of indigenous students to comprehend and find worthwhile their benefits on social, political, economic, spiritual beliefs, and even their dialects, relevant to daily lives within their ancestral domain to better understand the world at large.
Before the United Nation (UN) coined the word “Indigenous Peoples,” a term used all over the world, these first or original peoples, were described as non-Christian tribes, then cultural minorities, tribal Filipinos and now indigenous peoples or indigenous cultural communities. These are the effects of colonization that created two identities, that of a minority who are asserting their identity and a majority who adopted easily the ways of the colonizers.
With the legislation of R.A. Act 8371, known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, it is salient to rectify the notion of the other non-IPs that our ancestors’ traditional practices were wrongly described as paganism. Put it right that indigenous peoples’ culture is their way of life, an outcome of human interactions tested by vicarious experiences within their ancestral domains resulting to indigenous knowledge systems – which to the western world perspective were considered superstitious ritualistic practices, and beliefs.
Let us implant to indigenous learners that our social customs and practices were the fruits of a culture deeply rooted in the philosophies and values of the community. Truly, a sign of evolutionary civilization from the past to the present time. A very tangible beginning of man’s existence merged in today’s educational system – the IPEd embodied by DepEd Order No. 62, s. 2011 (adopting the National Indigenous Peoples Education Policy Frame Work) based in our 1987 Constitution.
The vision therefore is the functional participation of all IPs either in the barangays or the municipalities, to give importance to IPEd to hasten the government program of recognition and eradicate discrimination against IPs like elders, women, and youth, to a just and humane society where our children shall be proud to be Filipinos in nation-building.
Of course, with strong cultural bond from NCIP in coordination with DepEd and Commission on Higher Education. Go ahead, beat the gongs inviting everybody to dance to the rhythm of its blended music to utter the songs of barangay and wisdom into this competitive global village. By Dionie Chungalan