PLAN INTERNATIONAL USA: Mangyan women using livelihood skills to weave baskets
Indigenous peoples (IPs) in the Philippines are the poorest and most marginalized of all Filipinos, and are physically and socially isolated from mainstream society and basic services. Mangyan are one of the main indigenous people groups in the country and live in the remote, interior forests of Mindoro Island. They are greatly disadvantaged, have minimal access to government services and resources, and face discrimination in the markets. Their incomes and capacity to produce food is inadequate to address their needs.
A 2007 baseline survey and participatory rural appraisals by Plan Philippines indicate that the Mangyan receive limited government support. The livelihood of 77% of the population is based on under-developed agriculture, 72% of which employ the slash and burn method. They lack alternative livelihood, and can only sell one crop at a time, with a limited market of only their surrounding villages.
Each Mangyan family earns on average $0.34 a day. 90% of Mangyan have poor access to potable water and 60% of children are malnourished. Infant mortality rates are high and a child is considered to be fortunate to reach the age of 10.
In January 2008, Plan spearheaded a first of its kind Provincial Planning Workshop bringing together the provincial government, municipal LGUs and the Indigenous leaders. For the first time, the LGUs sat down to look more closely on the Mangyan needs. A milestone was reached as the LGUs confirmed their commitment to incorporate these needs into their development plans, and work more closely with the Mangyan from then on.
This project is a product of consultations facilitated by Plan between PASAKAMI (Pantribong Samahan ng mga Katutubong Occidental Mindoro), Mangyan Mission, government agencies, and LGU representatives. Plan is currently working with 51 of 297 Mangyan communities in Mindoro.