Department of Tourism (DOT) and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Collaborate for Katutubo-KAPWA Project Implementation

In a historic move towards cultural preservation and economic empowerment, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) formalized their partnership through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing ceremony on Wednesday (Aug. 16). DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and NCIP Chair Allen A. Capuyan led the ceremonial signing at the DOT Central Office in Makati City.

The collaboration centers around the Katutubo-KAPWA project, a nationwide initiative that aims to support indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) in tourism development across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The MOA signing reflects a commitment to preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines while providing economic opportunities for indigenous communities through tourism.

“We subscribe to the belief that in honoring the origins of the Philippines and the Filipino people, we strengthen the Filipino brand, enrich the Filipino identity, and give our fellow Filipinos a necessary and timely reminder that there is indeed so much to love about the Philippines. This starts with ourselves, the Filipino people, including our indigenous peoples. The DOT has sought this partnership with the NCIP to manifest our firm commitment to honoring our indigenous peoples and giving them opportunities for economic advancement through tourism,” Secretary Frasco stated.

The Katutubo-KAPWA project, under the leadership of the DOT’s Office of Special Concerns (OSC), will address specific needs and gaps in each destination, such as enhancing tourism skills among IPs, providing necessary infrastructure, and promoting sustainable tourism practices. The initiative aligns with the current administration’s goals of diversifying tourism product development, introducing multidimensional tourism, and improving overall tourist experiences.

A Technical Working Group (TWG), comprising representatives from DOT and NCIP, will monitor and oversee the implementation of the project, ensuring its success.

NCIP Chair Capuyan expressed gratitude for the partnership, stating, “It is our honor and privilege to be partnering with the Department of Tourism in the implementation of our Katutubo-KAPWA project, which aims to involve the indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples in tourism development. We hope that this will pave the way for a more stable and secure future.”

The DOT has committed financial support for capacity building, infrastructure projects, product development, and other tourism-related programs to improve the socio-economic status of ICCs/IPs and develop and promote their ancestral domains. The department will also assist in the identification and funding of tourism-related projects for enterprise, livelihood, and job creation.

Additionally, the DOT will provide assistance and promotional platforms for the products of ICCs/IPs to attract tourists and boost the local tourism economy.

Secretary Frasco stressed the importance of striking a balance between heritage and promotion as a value proposition for tourism. The DOT is excited to invest in soft infrastructure for IPs who serve as tourism frontliners.

The collaboration between DOT and NCIP signifies a strong partnership for the protection and promotion of the country’s arts and culture components, contributing to the broader goal of nation-building.

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