Conference hosted by National Commission of Senior Citizens and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, in collaboration with Sogo Cares of Sogo Hotels, paves the way for inclusive discussions on the welfare of elderly Indigenous Peoples.

*General Santos City, August 11, 2023* – The two-day Pre-Summit Conference on Elderly Indigenous Peoples, a collaborative initiative between the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), in partnership with Sogo Cares of Sogo Hotels, successfully concluded at the prestigious East East Royal Hotel in General Santos City on August 10 and 11, 2023.

The primary objective of the pre-summit conference was to formulate a comprehensive agenda that addresses the unique challenges and concerns faced by elderly Indigenous Peoples residing in Region 12. This agenda will pave the way for the upcoming National Summit scheduled for October, perfectly timed to coincide with the observance of the National Indigenous Peoples Month.

Distinguished participants from both the NCSC and NCIP graced the occasion. Notable attendees included NCIP Commissioner Jennifer Sibug-Las, who played a pivotal role in guiding the discussions towards the formulation of a well-rounded agenda. Although NCSC Chair and CEO Franklin Quijano could not be present due to a prior engagement, his commitment to the cause was evident as his fellow commissioners, namely Edwin Espejo, the conference host; Ida Yap-Patron; Reymar Mansilungan; and, Rainier Cruz III, actively participated in the conference proceedings.

The conference was further enriched by the presence of NCIP 12 Regional Director Jeanne Anne Moendeg-Zoilo, whose insights lent a regional perspective to the deliberations. In addition, the event was graced by the esteemed presence of Datu Edmund Pangilan, the national president of the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMR), who delivered a compelling address highlighting the significance of unity and collective action.

A diverse assembly of 21 tribal leaders, impassioned advocates, and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives from Region 12 (Socsksargen) also joined forces at the conference. Their spirited engagement contributed to the development of a comprehensive and inclusive agenda that takes into account the multifaceted needs of elderly Indigenous Peoples.

Notable attendees from the IP sector were Makabatug Arman Guilley, Gulung Edgar Sambog, Datu Arsenio Ampalid, Fulung Lucio Cawayan, Datu Jason Sibug, Fulung Edmund Pangilan, Timuey Lito Palma, Datu Leo Tang, Reden Ulo, Makabatug Jun Malon, Fulung Fredo Basino, Boi Erlinda Damali-Catulong, Boi Leah Labrador, Bai Estelita Bantilan, Boi Linda Osman, Biya Narcisa Galgo, and Bai Naila Mamalinta.

Representing NCSC were Executive Director Emmanuel Daez, Samir Samtilla (who also emceed the proceedings), Cesar Yamuta, Helma Capinpuyan, Ma. Lilibeth Velasco, Maricel Rodeles, Jose Patron, Allen Estabillo, Emil Espejo, Ellen Mae Reuyan, Ricky Pepano, Avel Manansala and Summit Focal Annalie Edday.

Throughout the conference, these participants engaged in thoughtful dialogues, brainstorming sessions, and interactive workshops, which underscored the importance of preserving and honoring the cultural heritage of Indigenous elderly individuals. The comprehensive agenda devised during the conference is poised to guide future discussions at the National Summit, ensuring that the welfare, rights, and dignity of elderly Indigenous Peoples remain at the forefront of the national discourse.

As the curtains drew to a close on this remarkable Pre-Summit Conference, the collective determination and commitment displayed by all participants stood as a testament to the unwavering resolve to uplift the lives of elderly Indigenous Peoples. With the foundation now laid, anticipation builds for the forthcoming National Summit in October, where the voices of these marginalized communities will resonate prominently on a national stage, propelling them towards a future of inclusivity, respect, and empowerment.