The dynamic staff (L-R: Maribeth Farnazo, Josephine Carino, Fernando Tusan, Emma Rizza Bantilan, Jestoni Badilla, Edzel Pontong and Ener Toguin) of the Indigenous Peoples Development Program (IPDP) of Sarangani Province. Other staff not in the picture are Celito Terando and Annalyn Eday.Photo taken at Kasfala Hall during the Munato Festival Cultural Exhibit.
The Indigenous Peoples of Sarangani consist largely of the Blaan, Tboli, Tagakaulo, Kalagan, Manono/Ubo tribes. These indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) are among the most marginalized sectors of the society. This condition is attributed to a complex web of socio-economic and politico-cultural problems and the most pressing of which are poverty, lack of access to basic services, possible loss of ancestral lands/domains and diminishing cultural heritage.
The Provincial Government of Sarangani is committed to address the problems and concersn of its IPs/ICC constituents as manifested in its vision, mission, values and priority programs (http://www.sarangani.gov.ph/). It encourages the active participation of the IPs as partners and cooperators in government development efforts. IPDP evolved from the Luntiang Lumad Program (LLP) under the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist. The LLP operation which was started in December 2000 was limited to basic agricultural extension services. However, the change of provincial political leadership in 2004 also brought a dynamic change for government project implementation.The Sarangani Provincial Task Force was created to review and evaluate current programs undertaken by each department. The LLP under the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist was seen to become a potentially important program for comprehensive cultural development focused on the Indigenous Peoples (IPs). By virtue of Executive Order # 19, the IPDP study team was composed of Fulong George Young, Romy Martin and Josephine Carino to address that concern. The IPDP Conceptual Framework Plan was presented to the Local Finance Committe and the Provincial Development Council on October 14, 2004. Thus, creating the IPDP as a unique program under the Office of Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez.
The program goals are to preserve and promote cultural heritage as well as improve living conditions of the indigenous peoples in Sarangani Province. The objectives are as follows:
1. To assist/facilitate acquisition of IP tenurial instruments in indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) ancestral domains.
2. To restore and preserve the cultural heritage and traditions of Sarangani IPs.
3. To increase the participation of IPs in the development process through the representation of IP groups in development councils, local special bodies as well as other capability building activities and respective resources in support to a particular project undertaken and or facilitated by the program.