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IV. IP Non-Government Organizations and their alliances in the Philippines

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IV. IP Non-Government Organizations and their alliances in the Philippines
The Indigenous Peoples sector in the Philippines enjoys a very broad base of active support groups. These form a wide spectrum of organizations representing the academe, civil society and the church. Assistance comes in varied forms ranging from policy advocacy, community development, technical assistance and education. It can be said that IP support groups in the Philippines have gained a certain level of sophistication and specialization in their respective fields of work.
The enactment of the IPRA has ignited a substantial growth in the number of NGOs and other social development organizations working with IP communities. Prior to the passage of the law there was dearth of capable groups specializing on IP issues. While the increased number of NGOs working on IP issues bodes well for the future, this has also raised the incidence of conflicts with communities. There have been numerous instances where well-meaning
NGOs with little or no exposure to the cultures and ways of IP communities but very eager to implement projects have generated local conflicts among community members. Furthermore, pressure form funding donors to adhere to tight project schedules and to produce results have pushed many groups to resort to shortcuts and thus marginalizing critical community processes.
Indigenous Communities have clearly benefited from the assistance and support provided by NGOs and other advocates. Currently there are hundreds of Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPO) in the country actively engaged in various activities and are in partnership with the civil, development agencies including Government. Currently there are several active national Coalitions of
IP communities, the Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas, The KAMP and the
“Adopt UN Draft Declartion on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Now!”, a manifesto submitted to the Philippine
Government, 2006

NCIPP. Under these national aggrupations are several layers of Regional,
Provincial as well as local IPOs all over the Philippines.
There still divisions among the Indigenous Peoples Movement in the
Philippines. This is expected due to the volatility of the issues that are being tackled by the sector and the intensity of the personalities involved in the sector.
However, it must be said that there instances where the Civil society and
Government must share the blame in the furtherance of the divisions among the ranks of the IP sector. IPOs see support groups as a resource thus they will naturally gravitate to groups that offer logistical, financial and material support.
However, in many instances these are tied up to activities that may run counter or are in direct conflict to other IP groups. The Government on the other hand, require IPO partners to adopt Governmental policy positions and demand that
IPs be less critical of its policies, thus putting the IPO in a very difficult and compromising situation.
The picture though is promising, while there are very strong challenges against the IPOs in the Philippines, there are very clear signals that show growth and progress in the sector. While the IPOs still need to build their capacity, most
Civil Society groups working with the sector now have IP community members among their ranks. In fact in some groups, the majority of the staff and officers of the organization come from the ranks of Indigenous Communities. Thus, this explains why the IP agenda clearly resonates in most IP support groups’ activities and policy direction.

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