The situation for the Indigenous People of the world is unique by some standards though they have much in common with many of the underclass and overlooked citizens all around the globe. While there may be some cases where the Tribes themselves are uncomfortable with “modern life” and “customs”, most of the underlying problems stem from programs that are not specifically designed for the Indigenous people with their individual needs in mind. Educational Programs and other “Benefits” that the governments instituted by others have provided in the form of social assistance, often overlook the more deeply-rooted and pervasive cultural issues that are so important to Indigenous People, their Tribes and societal concerns.
Cultural Heritage and Preservation has to be paramount in any and all programs that are to have a chance at improving the lives of the indigenous people of the world. Only in this way can any real benefit be gained and any real, tangible and long-term solutions provided for their tribes and their people. GIDIFA, under the leadership of its Secretary General, Honorable Angel Ferdinand Marcos, is working hand-in-hand with the indigenous people, the tribal elders and the national foundations to create long-term, sustainable and culturally relevant programs that directly improve the lives of the tribes as a whole and of the individuals in the Indigenous communities.
Yesterday, a new treaty was signed by and between GIDIFA and the Tribal Government of the Philippines. Honorable Angel Ferdinand Marcos and Honorable Higyawan Na Holag-Ayan came to terms after a series of negotiations that included the development of Humanitarian Programs and different projects to vastly improve the Infrastructure and Development of Tribal Lands in a way that will directly benefit the tribes as a whole and the indigenous people as a direct result. The treaty provides for an initial investment in the amount of ten billion US dollars to be strategically invested with the proceeds used to fund the selected programs. Issues pertaining to the preservation and conversation of cultural heritage will be among the first programs implemented, though a great many other programs to directly benefit the indigenous people will also be undertaken in the first phase of operations.
Cultural Heritage must be preserved in order for these programs to be truly beneficial and viable for the long-term solutions that are needed. Programs that attempt to ignore their unique cultures and heritage are, in some sense at least, an effort to rob these people of their true identities. Is it any wonder that the many different programs that have been implemented ignoring such a simple and blatantly obvious fact have failed? The programs that have been discussed by and between GIDIFA and the Tribal Government of the Philippines recognize and will work in cooperation with and in support of these unique, individual histories and cultures for the prosperity of all. Additionally, wherever possible, not only in hospitals and educational institutions, but throughout all of the programs for the Tribal Lands, GIDIFA and the Tribal Government of the Philippines will work hand in hand to ensure that the indigenous people benefit directly.