The IPs have it worst

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

THE United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) stated in an article that “levels of hunger and malnutrition among indigenous peoples (IPs) are much higher than among the non-indigenous population.”

UNPFII also said that the “right to food” of the IPs is beyond statistics or poverty. Their different culture and way of living should also be considered because some activities like “hunting, fishing and gathering” is not only done for food alone but as a part of nurturing their “cultures, languages, social life and identity.”

And because their ancestral domains are not as abundant as what they used to be because of factors such as climate change and urbanization, this makes it harder for them to survive.


The IPs, who live mostly in the far flung areas are often the ones who lack access on both the food resources and the knowledge of what is a so called “well balanced meal” or a nutritious meal.

The Local Scene

Davao City being highly urbanized as it is now still has some tribal communities living on its outskirts.

City Councilor Berino S. Mambo-o Sr. who is the representative of the IPs to the City Council had seen the severity of the situation of those living in the far flung areas having experience transporting IP mothers and children to certain areas because there was no help available to them nearby.

“Daghan na kaayo kog na-experience ana ba, nga kita muy gahatod akong sakyanan unya wala pa maabot sa Paquibato proper manganak, mamatay ang bata, kung dili ang bata ang inahan (I have many experiences wherein we will be the one responsible to take them using my car and while we still have not reached the Paquibato proper the person will give birth and the baby will die, if not the baby sometime the mother),” he said.

Mambo-o said that even though there are a lot of local programs like of the City Health Office it is still not enough and it need reinforcement because it cannot reach up to the areas which need help.

“Siguro sa kalayo dili na sila maabot sa mga layo nga area so mao na ang atong hangyo nga matan-aw nila kay sa atong pag-libot sa atong pag-assess mao gyud na ang resulta daghan gyud kaayo ang problema kaning sa malnourished (Maybe because of the distance they cannot reach the far areas so that is our request that they will check on it because we have seen and the result of our assessment showed that there are a lot of malnourished people in those areas),” he said.

“I-priority unta nila ang mga IP sa Marilog ug Paquibato kay mao man ni ang daghan kaayog malnourished labi na sa mga bata sa katong mga buntis (I hope that they will prioritize those IPs in Marilog and Paquibato because there are a lot of malnourished people there especially children and pregnant women),” Mambo-o added.

Marilog and Paquibato district are some of the most hard to reach areas where most of the tribal communities reside.

Dr. Joselle Villafuerte, Chairperson of the Committee on Health, speaking in one event said that the first 1,000 days of a child is very important and day one would be on the day the child was conceived.

“So kung anaa pa siya sa tiyan sa iyang mama ang iyang nutrition kailangan i-focus na. (So while the baby is still in the womb of the mother the baby’s nutrition already needs to be focused on) How? Thru the nutrition of the mother,” she said.

Villafuerte also added that pregnant women should get the proper nutrition like iron and folic acid so that there will be no complications when she gives birth.

Creating Solutions

Because there is a fine line between disease and malnutrition, Mambo-o and Villafuerte are working hand in hand in order to solve this problem among the IPs in the City.

In a privilege speech in one of the regular session of the City Council Mambo-o submitted a resolution which will address to the health of the IP children and mothers.

He also encouraged Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to extend help to those tribal communities living in far flung areas.

In the same way, Villafuerte also submitted an ordinance to the council that will establish systems and mechanisms for an efficient and effective implementation of the Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) strategy both in the city and in its’ disadvantaged areas.

Both of these have been approved by the council on first reading.

Mambo-o said that the European Union had promised to install facilities that will help the IPs from Marilog to Paquibato like those that will cater to the health and livelihood or the IPs.

He added that they are doing their best in order for the ordinance to be approved before December this year.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 30, 2014.


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