The Social Development Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board responded to the recurring issue on the erroneous depiction of Igorots and other Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in learning materials during the National-Regional Consultative Meeting held virtually on 24-25 May, 2021.

The issue which originated from the Cordillera Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC-CAR) seeks SDC policy action to constitute an interagency task group at the national level to examine the issue from a higher social and political perspective and recommend policies as this concerns not only the CAR, but other IPs in other regions as well.

This issue was first raised at the committee level of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) as early as 2017 and eventually reached national consciousness and generated popular support through the rise of social media platforms. It is a common sentiment among various groups in the region that the misinformation on IPs results to discrimination from mainstream cultures since the Cordillera is a pre-dominantly an IP territory.

In response, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) committed to continuously help in creating awareness on IPs through its program on School of Living Traditions (SLTs), among others. Specifically, indigenous learning guides are being developed by Cultural Masters with the Local Coordinating Teams. The NCCA SLT Network could help in validating erroneous depictions of IPs in the learning materials.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in the region (NCIP-CAR) also committed to continue working closely with the Department of Education through the IP Education Division (IPED) in collaboration with the RDC Committee on Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns (CIPC-CAR) to come up with a common policy on this.

The NEDA-CAR continues to provide technical assistance to the RSDC on this matter being the Secretariat of the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR).