As witnessed by the staff, the Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was forged between POPCOM, through Dir. Erma R. Yapit and NCIP through Dir. Roland P. Calde on October 20, 2020 at the NCIP Regional Office I, City of San Fernando, La Union.

October 20, 2020—The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM)-I partnered with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-I through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the promotion of the Philippine Population and Management Program (PPMP) among Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) in the region.

POPCOM, being the central policy-making, planning, coordinating and monitoring body of the PPMP, sees the significant contribution of the NCIP in the further implementation of effective strategies and demand generation for family planning and adolescent sexuality and reproductive health.

The apparent lack of comprehensive information and social involvement of communities particularly in the geographically isolated and depressed areas (GIDAs) on fertility, sexuality and other culturally-sensitive discussions on reproductive health have prompted both of the agencies to harmonize cultural barriers, customs, beliefs and the protection of their families and well-being from unwanted pregnancies, poverty and other gender-related issues that may be borne out of these. Most often than not, these indigenous women in these isolated areas tend to have fewer education and limited economic opportunities which limit their access to reproductive health and services.

According to Atty. Laarni E. Banez-Tumacdang, Regional Legal Officer of NCIP-I, there are 10 major ethnic groups in Region I which accounts to 231, 000 Indigenous Peoples scattered around the provinces. Fundamentally, majority of these ancestral domains are located at the Eastern and mountainous areas of the region. In La Union, ancestral domains are situated in the municipalities of Sudipen, Santol, San Gabriel, Brgy, Arosip in Bacnotan, Tubao, Pugo, Bagulin and Burgos.

The need to integrate population dimensions to the regular programs, projects and activities of the NCIP for the IP communities would promote better protection for men and women, the youth and even the elderly. It would also adhere to inclusive growth, resilient society and sustainable development as it considers the protection of IPs’ interests and culture.

As such, Dir. Erma R. Yapit of POPCOM supports the early engagement of the agency to the lined up activities of the NCIP in celebration of its 23rd Anniversary of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act on October 23, 2020 in Burgos, La Union. ###