The Davao City Civil Registrar’s Office is set to establish registration centers in 16 far-flung barangays this year under its Indigenous Peoples Civil Registration System program.

Davao City has an average annual birth registration of 35,000, annual death registration of 8,000, and annual marriage registration of 10,000. However, these numbers do not accurately reflect the current population density of the city due to the undetermined number of unregistered citizens.

City Civil Registrar’s Office Head Leo Anthony Braceros told the I-Speak media forum on Thursday that previous efforts fall short in urging all citizens to register births, marriages and deaths, especially in far-flung areas with the highest concentration of IP population.

“We noticed na eveytime mag-conduct ta og mobile registration in very remote areas, naa pa gihapoy mabilin na IPs na unregistered since we cannot stay there for long,” he said.

“That is why we decided to establish a civil registration system right there in their vicinity,” Braceros added.

He said that 16 locations in 16 barangays inhabited by IP citizens have been identified and studied. The 16 pilot civil registration desks will be established in Barangay Gumitan, Marilog Proper and Baganihan (to cater to the Matigsalug tribe); Barangays Salaysay, Magsaysay and Malamba (for the Ovu Manuvu); Barangay Dacudao, Baguio Proper and Tamayong (inhabited by the Klata tribe); Barangays Atan-Awe, Daliaon Plantation and Catigan (for the Tagabawa); and Barangays Mapula, Tapak, Malabog and Pandaitan (to serve the Ata tribe).

By putting up civil registration desks in these communities, with locations chosen with the help from tribal leaders to maximize accessibility, indigenous citizens will no longer have to wait for a mobile civil registration team to visit them nor will they have to venture far from their homes to the district registration offices.

However, distrust of outsiders from the tribes poses another challenge to have IP citizens registered. It is for this reason, Braceros said, that the office has chosen members of IP communities to serve as civil registration agents in soon-to-be established civil registration desks.

“Right now, there are 16 barangays taking part of the pilot of the project. The tribal leaders were the ones who selected candidates to become civil registration agents,”

The IP registration agents were given seminar workshop on basic civil registration laws. They were also trained on how to properly prepare birth certificate and making the right inquiries to clients to determine false from genuine information.

Braceros said that for the month of February, the Civil Registrar’s Office aims to deploy three civil registration agents to three barangays. CIO