Thursday, May 29, 2014

Industrialization and Governance

by Antonio C. Antonio
June 27, 2013

“There are some groups who believe that industrialization is bad and insist that IP's (indigenous peoples) and tribal communities are subjugated by the central government against their will.  Is there a basis for that and will it be more beneficial for the community or the country if we go back to the old system?” (Renato A. Folledo, Jr., June 19, 2013)

Progress is the aspiration of any government and country.  A lot of people even insist that industrialization is the way to go.  But from a purely agricultural economy, industrialization must be approached carefully.  While industrialization means jobs, employment, livelihood, business and a lot of affordable conveniences, agriculture means food and life.  Our growing population must be sustained and agriculture, not industry, can provide food security for the population.

Industrialization should form part of our future programs… but must also be calibrated to preserve our culture as a people.  The indigenous people (IP) are the only remaining segment in our society who are culturally pure and have managed to remain untouched by industrialization.  It does not mean though that the IPs should be left alone in their stone-age systems.  But subjugation, meaning:  controlling and conquering, may not be the ideal solution in improving their lives or the acceptance of industrialization.
It must be noted that the IPs are protected by Republic Act 8371 (The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act) of IPRA Law is an act to recognize, protect and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples.  The major emphasis in the IPRA Law is “free and prior consent” from any IP community on whatever plans and programs to be instituted by the government or the private sector within their designated and identified area.  Years of exploitation by the “unats” or lowlanders have made the “kulots” or IPs naturally distrustful and cynical.  Their lack of education has done more harm since they do not have the training and capacity to understand and internalize things such as progressive plans and programs.  They would rather stay within their comfort zone… no matter how backward it may seem.

There really is a basis for some degree of rough-housing in dealing with the IPs.  They are an ignorant and hard-headed lot but understand the meaning of power especially when it is wielded by the State.  But peace and harmony will never be the order of the day if force is used against the IPs.  The use of violence will only spawn more violence from a people who feel they are being enslaved and it is their duty, obligation and God-given right to fight and use violence to defend their homeland.  One of the strongest characteristic of the IPs is their being very territorial.

As a broad-stroke methodology to approaching the IP problem, the following could (perhaps) be considered:

First… Convince by example.  Whatever benefits industrialization brings should be first be experienced and felt by the IPs.  For example:  good roads, utilities (electricity and potable water), healthcare, etc.

Second… Education.  Mores, folklore, customs and traditions play a major role in the lives of the IPs.  Education (formal or non-formal) and training should open their eyes to other possibilities than what they are used to.  Embracing technology and other advances industrialization brings will be easier to accept when the IPs are willfully aware of such things.

Third… Developing trust and confidence.  Trust and confidence from the IPs could only be realized when real progress is being experienced by them.  “Word of Honor” is a code they live by and whatever is committed by the “unat” should become a reality in the timeframe promised.  Sincerity is the only tool that will develop the IPs’ trust and confidence.

The IPs should be kept in the loop and in the center of all development activities in the uplands.  Besides, most, if not all, of these development programs are being implemented for them anyway.

Just my little thoughts…

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