October 2, 2023

Addressing mental health in the Cordillera and improving the region’s appreciation of autonomy in upholding the rights of indigenous peoples will be tackled in this year’s edition of the open talk show panel discussion Dagyaw, the government’s strategy to encourage citizen involvement to improve public service delivery.

Now on its fifth cycle, Dagyaw is a program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government through the support of Local Governance Program 2023-2028 where open, protected, and safe dialogues are encouraged between national government agencies and citizens.

It aims to discuss programs and activities of the government and encourage insights or feedbacks from citizens to strengthen changes in policies that will cater to the needs of communities.

DILG-Cordillera Assistant Director Ruperto Maribbay, Jr. said Dagyaw 2023 will have two episodes in line with this year’s theme “Building a better government-citizens engagement, quality public participation and dialogue”.

The topics have been identified through an online poll conducted to determine which issues and concerns needed to be discussed and provided attention this year.

Episode 1 is “Usapang mental health concerns and interventions”, since it was revealed during the conduct of Dagyaw 2022 that more Filipinos suffered from mental health sicknesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, affecting a considerable number of youth.

It is in response to recent reports of mental health problems faced by students in Baguio City and nearby areas that alarmed schools and the city government.

“This begs the questions: What are we doing in supporting our youth in treating these mental health concerns? Are they aware of the services they can avail of either from the government and private sector? What interventions do the schools implement to support students struggling with their mental health? The episode seeks to answer these questions to promote the programs of the concerned authorities for the youth and to emphasize that help is available and within their reach,” Maribbay said.

Episode 1 will be held on June 23 at the University of the Cordilleras Theater from 9 a.m. to noon simulcast via Facebook live of the DILG-Cordillera and Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera.

Resource persons will be from the regional offices of the Department of Health, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Philippine Mental Health Association, together with civil society partners Anxiety and Depression Support Group Baguio, Youth on Point, and Uplife Movement Inc.

Episode 2 is “Usapang Indigenous Peoples Concerns at Otonomiya” to be held on July 21 to 23, 9 a.m. to noon in a venue to be announced later.

Maribbay said resource persons from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Regional Development Council, UC College of Law, Igorota Foundation, IPs, and Tebtebba will be invited.

The topic has been chosen in line with the celebration of the 36th Cordillera Month in July and the commitment of Dagyaw to be a platform to promote the region’s collective clamor for autonomy for the Cordillera.

“This episode seeks to connect how autonomy can help resolve persisting issues faced by IPs and how autonomy can uphold their rights,” Maribbay said.

He added there is a need to strengthen the region’s information campaign on the benefits of autonomy to have stronger support from the public and lawmakers, and by promoting better understanding of autonomy, better appreciation through Dagyaw can be expected.

Dagyaw is Hiligaynon word for bayanihan. As a program led by the DILG, it aims to present the current administration’s thrusts and to improve public awareness on the programs, projects, and activities of various government agencies.

It believes in co-creation and perceives civil society organizations as co-equal in planning and decision-making and co-convenors in the program’s regional technical working group.

Further, the approach is aligned with the Philippine Development Plan, which is ensures people-centered, clean, and efficient governance to improve trust and confidence of people and the government by providing a safe and protected space for dialogue across sectors. It serves as a feedback mechanism where citizens can directly provide feedbacks on the government’s programs as catalysts to strengthen local service delivery.

Dagyaw follows a talk show panel format where resource persons from the government, development sector, and CSOs discuss specific topics. Emphasis is on reaction on topics from citizens on the presentations made by the government resource persons to bring societal issues close to the citizens.

The Dagyaw regional technical working group is composed of the DILG, Department of Budget and Management, PIA, and CSO partners Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation Inc., Cordillera Network of NGOs, People’s Organization for Social Transformation, Pansegedan Advocacy Cooperative, Council for Restoration of Filipino Values, Filipino-Japanese Foundation of North Luzon Inc., Abong, Doctors for Indigenous Health and Culturally Competent Training, Education Working in Governance Inc., North Luzon Federation of Cooperatives and Development Center. – Hanna C. Lacsamana