Photos courtesy of Ryan Kim Pescadera/Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — There was no truth to reports that the local government of Kapalong blocked barred a team of social workers from conducting a one-stop shop service to a Lumad community, the mayor of the town said on Sunday, September 3.

Kapalong Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol said the program was only postponed as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have not secured a Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), a requirement before parties are given access to implement programs in ancestral domains.

“The military advised the DSWD-CO (Central Office) delegation to secure first an FPIC or a document certifying the concerned tribe’s approval of their entry to the AC (Ancestral Domain),” Timbol said in an emailed statement.

Also, the community in Gupitan also insisted in a letter that “all incoming programs and projects for IPs (indigenous people) must be implemented in accordance to their collective agreement.”

To obtain an agreement from the community, an FPIC is needed, explained Timbol, who said their local government has exercised “due assistance and accommodation” to the DSWD team.

The mayor also criticized a Davao Today report which described Bagani as “tribal warriors…trained to help the government’s counter-insurgency campaign.”

“This statement is found malicious, if not disrespectful or misrepresenting of the real essence of the Bagani as an official, customary component of the IP political structure that has been existent since time immemorial,” she said.

In the article, it was mentioned that “Baganis are tribal wariors that are said to be trained to help the government’s counter-insurgency program.” It did not, however, categorically state that Baganis are tribal warriors trained by government.

Meanwhile, Gupitan advised the DSWD to undergo formal and customary procedure in conducting their programs.

The scheduled program was supposed to be the fifth one-stop shop service program of the DSWD central office in the Lumad communities in Mindanao. (

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