MINDANAO Indigenous People Conference for Peace and Development (MIPCPD) members said they are grateful for the P100-million grant promised by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) for establishing developmental projects in indigenous people (Lumad) communities.
MIPCPD chairperson Datu Joel Unad, in an interview, said Opapp Secretary Jesus Dureza promised during the last day of the 7th Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Conventions on Thursday, August 31, to provide financial assistance to Lumad communities to sustain their needs.
The P100-million grant, Unad said, will be divided to 100 Lumad communities in Mindanao, giving P1 million to each area which will be utilized for project implementation.
"This is Opapp's commitment to IPs (indigenous people) in Mindanao to make us feel that they are there not only to talk about our issues but to answer the issues we have as tribe members," he said.
Unad said the projects will vary depending on the prevalent needs existing in the community such as clean water supply, electricity connection, gasoline stations, schools, and many more for as long as the project is feasible with the budget given.
Lumad leaders will have to discuss with their communities first to come up with list of concerns that will be then submitted to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Unad said it is important to coordinate with NCIP to assess whether the proposed project or framework is responsive to the objective of the commission as it will be the main implementor of the projects.
"We will also talk to the New People's Army and other religions settling in our community because we want our project to be utilized by all and not only limited for IPs," he said.
However, NCIP still has to make locational assessment to finalize the list of communities that will benefit from the projects.
The P100-million budget, Unad said, will be given by Secretary Dureza next year through NCIP.