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DOLE initiatives to IP right to development

Department of Labor and Employment Asec. Federico V. Abuan, Jr., Cordillera Regional Director Exequiel Ronie Guzman, Technical Services and Support Division Chief Emer Narag, and DOLE Asec. Chief of Staff Albert Ryan Olay recently attended the Baguio conference on the Indigenous People’s Right to Development among government agencies and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs). The conference gathered the Commission on Human Rights, DOLE, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Philippine Statistics Authority, National Economic Development Authority, National Commission on Culture and the Arts, National Anti-Poverty Commission, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau, Department of Agriculture, National Housing Authority, Department of Education, Social Security System, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and IPMRs from regions CAR, 1,2,3, 4, and 5 where the current human rights of the IPs were described and evaluated.

CHR focal for IP rights Gewndolyn Pimentel-Gana; Commissioner Basilio Wandag, NCIP focal for CAR and region 1; and Atty. Jesus Torres, chief of the Economic and Social Rights Center, shared their knowledge and views on the IPs’ right to development, the challenges in fully realizing this right, the government programs and services for the IPs, and the establishment of an IP Rights Observatory.

The participants joined the workshops and shared their agency mandates, programs, and projects relevant to protecting and promoting the IP Right to Development and the challenges encountered in the conduct of work involving IPs and the measures to address such challenges and the initial view of an IP Rights Observatory.

For the Labor department, its mandate is to afford protection to labor; promote full employment; ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race, or creed; and regulate the relations between workers and employers.

To fulfill its commitment to the IPs’ right to development, which can be seen in the effective and legal protection of IPs and cultural communities, the DOLE in each regional office will establish an IP desk and designate a focal person to assist the IPs on recruitment and employment concerns, ensure protection of IP rights to affirmative action with regards to their employment in government and private undertakings by setting mechanisms for recruitment of IPs, and conduct periodic monitoring of IPs’ employment with government offices, non-government offices, and private companies.

The IP Right to Development has had great resonance all over the world, especially in developing countries like the Philippines. Even the term “the right to development” carries a great sense and weight of meaning and of hope.

It gives responsibility to government agencies to get their acts together to take measures to get its people’s right to development fulfilled.

Among the DOLE programs that could be availed of by the IPs are the Special Program for the Employment of Students, a youth employment-bridging program that aims to provide employment to poor but deserving students, out-of-school youths, or dependents of displaced workers or would be displaced workers to augment the family’s income so they could continue and finish their education.

Another is the DOLE Integrated Livelihood (DILP) and Emergency Employment Program, DOLE’s contribution to the government agenda of inclusive growth through massive job generation and poverty reduction. It seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and reduce vulnerability to risks of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized workers, either through the DILP or Kabuhayan Program or through the transitional EEP or Tulong Panghanabuhay sa Ating Disadvantage/Displaced workers (Tupad).

The DILP is a grant assistance for capacity-building on livelihood for the working poor, vulnerable, and marginalized workers that can be availed of by individuals or group livelihood projects undertaking DILP. The beneficiaries can be self-employed with insufficient income; marginalized and landless farmers; marginalized fisher folks; unpaid family workers; women and youth; low/minimum wage earners and seasonal workers; workers to be displaced as a result of natural disasters or closure of establishment, retrenchment, termination; persons with disability; senior citizens; IPs; parents/guardians of child laborers; rebel returnees; and victims of armed conflict.

Tupad is a community-based assistance that provides emergency employment for a period of 10 to 30 days.

The Government Internship Program meanwhile provides opportunities and engages young workers to serve the public in government agencies’ projects and programs at the national and local level.

The GIP is a 6-month internship agreement where beneficiaries are compensated with a stipend equivalent to 75 percent of the current minimum wage. It provides young workers, particularly the poor/indigent, the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and skills in the field of public service. Beneficiaries must be at least high school or technical-vocational graduates and must be between 18 and 30 years old.

For more information about DOLE programs and services, contact 619-0275 or 443-5338 or email @ dolecar88@yahoo.com.

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