The Ata-Manobo in Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod, Davao del Norte
The UP Population Institute (UPPI) has recently completed its assessment of the government’s Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Indigenous Peoples in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (MCCT for IPs in GIDA), a program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Started in 2014 two years after the original conditional cash transfer program adopted from South American countries, the MCCT for IPs in GIDA was aimed at bridging a number of gaps which were seen to hinder the full implementation of the CCT specifically in far-flung, IP-majority areas. With the perception that the IPs in these areas have cultural beliefs and practices diverging from the majority of Filipinos and considering the reality of their locations which are often rugged and mountainous, the DSWD came up with this modified scheme.
Researchers cross a lahar-choked river while bound for
Palis, Botolan, Zambales
Two years after, in 2016, the DSWD with funding support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) called for a study to examine the impacts of the program on its target recipients and whether the modifications were indeed fitting for them. Specifically, the study was designed to look into whether the health and education conditionalities were being met with the changes from the original CCT program. As a long-term partner of the UNICEF, the UPPI was commissioned to undertake the study with Prof. Maria Paz Marquez as Project Coordinator and Dr. Josefina Natividad and Dr. Maria Midea Kabamalan providing technical assistance.
A rough, raft river ride is needed to reach
Barangay Dalagsaan inLibacao, Aklan, home of the Akeanon Bukidnon
Basing on population and location, a total of 27 IP groups in 30 areas were selected for the two-phased study. In terms of the three major geo-political subdivisions of the country namely Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, a total of 9, 2, and 19 study areas were chosen, respectively, and identified to the barangay level. Phase 1, which ran from August to December 2016, looked into the demand side or how the cash grant and other services were being delivered to target recipients. Here, researchers and field workers from the academe, NGO, and research organizations were sent to the study areas to interview MCCT grant recipients, non-MCCT beneficiaries, and community/tribal leaders.
Results showed that the experiences of recipients in terms of receiving the cash grant as well as other related services like the community family development seminar (CFDS) and associated livelihood programs- or the lack thereof- were varied. This also applied to qualified but unlisted target recipients. Community and IP leaders, meanwhile, offered a number of similar as well as diverging ideas and opinions regarding the MCCT.
Field workers and security personnel pose with teachers inside a
classroom in Barangay Lakit-lakit in Sapa-sapa, Tawi-tawi
B'laan FGD participants in Brgy. Miasong, Tupi, South Cotabato react to a question
To have a full grasp of the situation on the ground, the second phase targeting the supply side was initiated in January 2017 with field work lasting until March. For this part of the research, DSWD Community Facilitators (CFs) were trained to conduct interviews and record geographic coordinates using android tablets. The aim was to visit every educational and health facility in the study areas, gather data by interviewing people in-charge of the facilities on the services being offered and how the IP beneficiaries make use of them, and, finally, record their locations as well as other observations. Supervising the CFs were veteran UPPI supervisors.
Analysis of the census and mapping outputs revealed that while all of the 30 barangays have the minimum required educational and health facilities for the public, almost half of them lack secondary school facilities and only one had an existing birthing facility. In terms of personnel, while all barangays have midwives and barangay health workers, nurses were stationed only in a few areas and only one urban barangay had a physician deployed in the health center. Throughout most of the barangays, there were a number of sitios in far-flung areas which meant that schoolchildren and the sick needed to travel for hours through usually rugged and mountainous trails to reach the facilities.
The study findings have been presented to different stakeholders including the DSWD and UNICEF in a number of presentations.