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Speeches & TranscriptsMay 27, 2024

World Bank Country Director's opening remarks of World Bank Country Director Ndiame Diop at the launch of the report, "No Data, No Story: Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines"

First and foremost, warm greetings to

Undersecretary Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, Legislative Affairs at the Department of Social Welfare and Development;

the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairperson Jennifer Pia Sibug-Las; 

To the Panelists in today’s forum;

To the Leaders of the Indigenous Peoples who are here with us today;

The Representatives of the various government agencies and private sector groups; 

And to all the participants to this event this morning.  Good morning to all of you. 


It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to this event today, to share and discuss the findings of a new report titled No Data, No Story: Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines.

A report that could not have been written without the contributions of our partners in the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the Philippine Statistics Authority, and International Conflict Alert in the Philippine. Thank you very much for sharing you insights, knowledge and data for this report. 

Let me share 3 takeaways from the report. They will be elaborated upon by the presentation. 

First, more ethnicity-disaggregated data is needed to clearly identify IPs and other ethnic minorities. When you disaggregate the data, it is apparent that IPs are at a disadvantage in several critical aspects of well-being, including education, labor, access to productive opportunities, and gender equality, compared to non-IPs. 

Second, geographical areas in the Philippines with higher concentration of IP population are associated with less conflict, including land-related conflicts. However, the analysis also shows that the delays in the processing of ancestral domain titles can also increase conflict. This brings us to this very important point: we need to find ways to support NCIP to process the delineation and registration of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) faster. 

Finally, deliberate policies aimed at enhancing indigenous peoples' access to water and sanitation, education, and health services, as well as economic opportunities, while preserving their cultural identity, can improve their living standards. Also, many IPs live in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. Enhancing the development of these regions through improved connectivity and other interventions can also accelerate poverty reduction within these communities.

As its title suggests, the report insists on the need to close the data gap to inform inform policies and programs aimed at improving Ips welfare. There are good examples where this is done quite well.  For example, the DSWD has integrated multiple ethnicity variables in many of its programs, and this helps ensure that social protection programs reach the IPs and track the support provided to them. For instance, through Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or 4Ps, the government encourages the children from IP families to stay in school and have regular health checks. 

The Philippines has made notable achievements in recognizing IPs land rights. In Southeast Asia, the country is considered a pioneer for using stewardship agreements – established in the early 1980s – to recognize IP resource management rights and practices. The 1987 Philippine Constitution also made important progress towards government recognition of IP rights. 

In 1997, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) paved the way for formal recognition of IPs’ customary rights over their ancestral lands. Under the IPRA, Ancestral Domains (ADs) are formally recognized through Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) and Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs), which cover terrestrial, coastal, and aquatic ecosystems. 

Further efforts are nevertheless needed to improve the welfare of IPs. The report highlights the importance of strengthening land governanceimproving dispute resolution mechanisms for overlapping titles, and a more inclusive and effective implementation of CADTs and the IPRA.

Improving the welfare of Indigenous Peoples is important for strengthening inclusive and sustainable growth in the Philippines. This includes respecting and integrating indigenous knowledge and practices into sustainable developmentprotecting IPs rights to land and resources, and providing inclusive access to services and economic opportunities. These measures are essential for long-term social cohesion.

The World Bank is committed to supporting the country’s efforts to improve the welfare of Filipino IPs. We hope that this report, and succeeding activities under our IP Engagement Strategy, will inform policies, development programs, and advocacy efforts that will improve poverty reduction strategies and the targeting of current and future social programs for Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines.

Let me stop there not without wishing you a very productive and fruitful discussion.


Download the report

Read the press release


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