SIKHAY: DSD Student Papers Series

| Written by CSWCD

Doctor in Social Development (DSD) Program
College of Social Work and Community Development
University of the Philippines

The UP-CSWCD Doctor in Social Development (DSD) Program emphasizes praxis-oriented learning and theorizing from the ground as bases for the enrichment of teaching, scholarship, research and practice in social development. As such, it draws from the growing literature on social development. Yet, it also seeks to contextualize these concepts and methods in the current settings and emerging trends in development practice.

SIKHAY: DSD Student Papers Series is viewed as part of the “work-in-progress” to surface critical perspectives and new discourses in social development based on the shared learning and reflections of the DSD students. The selected student papers are not meant to be prescriptive nor comprehensive. These papers are compiled as resource materials for other students and development professionals. Since its inception in August 2010, the Sikhay Series has produced several volumes:

Sikhay 1: SD 304 (Social Policy Development and Advocacy)
The students are encouraged to analyze, critique and offer alternatives to current social development policies. The papers showcase the students’ proposals for social policy agenda on specific areas of interest.

Sikhay 2: SD 303 (Social Development Strategies) 
The papers focus on assessing specific social development strategies to identify emerging trends and insights that can contribute to improved development practice. Hopefully, these can enhance competencies in conceptualizing, formulating, and evaluating social policies and programs.

Sikhay 3: SD 398 (Social Development Research 1)
The papers discuss specific themes in social research and present critiques based on social development perspectives. Although social development as an academic discipline adheres to social research standards and procedures, its research agenda and methods must be guided, evolve from, and respond to the challenges posed by social development practice.

Sikhay 4: SD Selected Papers (SD 303, 304, 399)
Sikhay 4 includes selected DSD student papers that aim to contribute to current discourses on social development practice. There are five (5) articles in this issue, chosen from among the DSD papers submitted in the 2nd semester, AY 2010-2011. Barrameda’s paper focuses on alliance building as experienced by a women’s group. Two articles deal with policy recommendations pertaining to youth participation (Carolino) and microfinance (Almazan). The last two studies examined economic crisis from the viewpoint of women from the informal sector (Verceles) and defined human rights concerns from the perspective of the Kankana-eys, an indigenous group from Benguet (Dandan).

At present, the Sikhay Series are being used as reference materials for DSD and selected masters courses. The abstracts are uploaded in the CSWCD website. New volumes are forthcoming as new student papers are submitted. Further screening can be done to include the ‘better’ papers in the CSWCD Philippine Journal of Social Development. This can also encourage and give due recognition to the quality standards of the academic work done by the DSD students.



Sikhay 1: SD 304 (Social Policy Development and Advocacy)

Social policy adoption and welfare delivery system formulation must efficiently and substantively address core issues in development in order to create social impact. Policy analysis, formulation of welfare system delivery mechanisms and state policy advocacy are intertwined processes that should be undertaken by the different key players.

SD 304 (Social Policy Development and Advocacy) presents the overall framework, methods and processes for policy assessment, formulation and adoption. The students are encouraged to analyze, critique, and formulate alternatives to current social development policies, and advocate for their adoption by policy-making entities. This compilation of selected student papers showcases their proposals for social policy agenda on specific areas of interest.

The papers are clustered into four themes:

  1. Women’s Empowerment- The advocacy for women’s equality and empowerment are tackled within the specific conditions of low-income women and women fishers.
  2. Rights-Based Development- Policy concerns related to children of OFWs are discussed in the context of children’s rights. Human rights are also regarded as instruments of peace.
  3. Pro-poor Agenda- Specific policy proposals are presented for agricultural programs and access to legal services for the poor.
  4. Disaster Risk Reduction- Gender-responsive mechanisms and psycho-social support program are considered as significant elements of disaster risk reduction programs.

The students have also been also asked to translate these proposed policy agenda into advocacy plans that they themselves have advocated, as “change professionals,” for decision and adoption by decision-makers.


Advocacy Agenda: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Nathalie A. Verceles
Low-income women’s vulnerabilities are attributed to systemic gender asymmetries – in wealth, income, power, decision-making, access to and control over economic and social resources, in the division of labor, in roles, in opportunities and constraints. Using the Gender and Development (GAD) approach to women’s development, the paper posits that the impacts of asymmetries in the social relations of gender, class, and race on the life of a low-income Filipino woman are not only interrelated and indivisible; they are also mutually reinforcing. In response to the “multiple jeopardies” experienced by poor women, policy reforms should be pursued in the following areas of concern: international political-economic structures, national economic priorities, decent work, women’s entrepreneurship, environmental protection, women’s participation, gender equity, and use of GAD budget.


Women in Fisheries: An Advocacy Agenda for Advancing Women’s Empowerment in Coastal Communities
Ma. Linnea V. Tanchuling
Women are indeed relevant in fisheries. Their roles and responsibilities in fisheries (whether these are done near shore, off shore and inland, either as direct or indirect participants) and in the maintenance of their households, are very important in enabling life to continue in coastal communities. Despite current legal frameworks, the State’s “recognition” of women remains inadequately translated into targets, plans, programs and actions of the government.

The paper proposes social policy agenda reforms that include the following: poverty reduction, social protection, promoting human rights and conserving and wise/sustainable use of the coastal and marine resources. In the long-term, policy advocacy should also focus on strengthening women’s participation and gender-responsive governance.


Rights-based development: An Advocacy Agenda for and by the Children of OFWs
Mark Anthony D. Abenir
The paper focuses on two major issues related to left-behind Filipino children: the dependency on remittances by OFW families, especially its impact to their children, and the psychosocial and emotional shocks experienced by the children of OFWs, known as the Care Drain phenomenon. An emergent issue is the absence of systematic intervention from LGUs, civil society groups, and school systems that offers support programs for the children of OFWs. The author proposes policy advocacy concerns in the context of children’s rights on survival, protection, development and participation.


Human Rights as Instruments of Peace
Virginia B. Dandan
According to the writer, the right to take part in cultural life encompasses all human rights and that the exercise and realization of human rights together with the practice of their correlated duties and responsibilities, is the only path to peace. It is premised on the holistic understanding of human rights and human responsibilities in relation to people’s everyday life, and is not limited to a legalistic view. It must not lead to the alienation of people particularly from the grassroots to get involved in the advocacy of human rights as instruments of peace.


Policy Agenda for Philippine Agriculture
Pedro S. Dumaraos Jr.
Agriculture is considered the backbone of Philippine economy. Yet low productivity remains a big problem. The paper cites two major emerging issues that pose a real threat to Philippine Agriculture: climate change and trade liberalization. In this context, the proposed policy reforms include: capacity building for the agricultural sector especially rural women, comprehensive program from production to marketing, and the return of extension services to the Department of Agriculture. At the macro level, the government must advocate for the renegotiation of Philippine commitments to the WTO through the Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) with emphasis on re-imposition of quantitative restrictions on sensitive commodities like rice, corn, sugarcane, chicken, pork, garlic, and onions, and agribusinesses where majority of our small farmers are affected.


Free Access to Justice for Indigent Inmates/Prisoners/Pauper Litigants and Intensified Barangay Legal Dissemination: A Policy Agenda
Persida V. Rueda-Acosta
The constitutional guarantee of free access to justice, along with the provisions on due process and equal protection of laws, are the bases of the Public Attorney’s Office’s (PAO) mandate of providing free legal assistance and representation to the poor and the needy. However, the policy issue concerning this provision rests on its inconsistent implementation due to different interpretations by implementing agencies. Thus, the main focus of the advocacy agenda is the proper enforcement of the existing policies that exempts the indigents from the payment of docket fees. The paper presents the results of the policy mapping and the policy advocacy plan. The key result area is the actual dissemination of the New Supreme Court Circular on the client’s exemption from the payment of docket fees and other incidental court expenses.
Developing a Gender-Responsive Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and


Management Act of 2010: A Policy Advocacy Agenda
Teresita Villamor Barrameda
The gender differential effects and impacts of disasters are mainly due to the differing vulnerabilities and capacities of women and men. Based on the current policies on natural disasters and women, the presence of relevant laws, agreements, and mandates already create an enabling environment for gender issues to be a major concern in disaster risk reduction and management initiatives in the country. However, there is still much to be done in terms of truly developing a gender-responsive DRRM. The paper proposes that the PDRRM Act of 2010 be further enhanced to ensure its gender-responsiveness by refining its implementing rules and regulations (IRR). A gender-responsive policy should have the following elements: gender-disaggregated data, context-specific gender analysis, and outcomes that contribute towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.


Community-based Psychosocial Support: Policy Agenda for Disaster Risk Reduction
Zenaida P. Beltejar
Early psychosocial interventions that help mitigate the effect of trauma, alleviate psychological distress, and strengthen resiliency must be an integral part of humanitarian assistance. Psychosocial wellbeing is experienced not only in the personal individual but also at the social interactive domain and is influenced by external factors ranging from livelihood, shelter, and physical health among others. Community-based psychosocial support interventions concentrate on strengthening the social bonds of the affected population. Psychosocial support is preventive in the sense that it decreases the risk of developing mental illness; it is also curative because it helps individuals and communities to overcome the stressors brought about by disasters. At the national level, policy reforms must address the following concerns: community level DRRM mechanisms, and integration of mental health and psychosocial support programs in DRRM.


Sikhay 2: SD 303 (Social Development Strategies)

Social Development as an area of study provides an analytical understanding of development issues linked to social forces which influence the lives of multitudes of people – children, women, men– across diverse sectors and social settings. It is concerned with addressing social problems that influence economic progress, human security and well-being; innovates and analyzes strategies for the enhancement of a people-centered development.

While it can be argued that meanings and interpretation of social development may vary, it is evident that there are common basic elements –people’s well-being, human rights, empowerment, and social justice, among others. How to achieve these is not anchored on just one strategy. There is interplay of the social, economic, political, cultural, environmental, spiritual and other aspects of human lives and society. It poses a challenge therefore to look at the various strategies meant to achieve social development.

The papers in this compilation are selected student papers submitted as part of the course requirements for SD 303 (Social Development Strategies). The discussions focus on assessing specific social development strategies to surface emerging discourses that can contribute to improved development practice.

As social development professionals, we need to reflect on our strategies and methods as basis for new learning. Hopefully, we can further enhance our competencies in conceptualizing, formulating, and evaluating social policies and programs. We need to exert more effort to be in the forefront of initiating more relevant, effective and efficient development services that can substantially make a difference in the lives of the poor and marginalized sectors.


A Social Protection and Integration Strategy for the Children of OFWs: A Case Study of the UGAT Foundation, Inc. (Ugnayan at Tulong para sa mga Maralitang Pamilya) Experience
Mark Anthony D. Abenir
The paper presents the experience of the UGAT Foundation in addressing the Care Drain Phenomenon among left-behind children of OFWs. The four phases of the psychosocial support strategy are described. A critique of the case study based on the Frameworks of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Gender and Development (GAD) is included. The paper concludes that the ANAK program of UGAT is a commendable social protection and integration strategy that is able to address care drain by helping children of OFWs regain familiarity and intimacy with their parent(s) and helping them positively manage the physical and geographical separation from their parent(s). However, the program has yet to address concerns related to sustainability and gender responsiveness.


Bugsay, bugsay, kiling-kiling diutay sa barotong gamay… Community-based Coastal Resource Management as a Participatory Strategy
Ma. Linnea V. Tanchuling
The paper looks into the CBCRM as a participatory strategy for sustainable development in the rural areas especially coastal communities. After more than two decades of implementation, this paper aims to initially examine the trends of the extent and quality of participation in CBCRM programs and present insights on its effectiveness in promoting people’s empowerment which is a key concept in sustainable social development. The principles, objectives, components and strategies of CBCRM are discussed. Stakeholder participation is considered a core agenda in CBCRM. It can facilitate, improve and/or enhance the capabilities, opportunities, power and sufficient resources to individuals, households, communities, social groups and those belonging to marginalized and vulnerable groups in coastal communities. Participation in CBCRM opened up many spaces for negotiation and dialogues among small scale fishers, as the direct users of the fishery and marine resources and other stakeholders. However, many things still have to be done to make participation more acceptable and sustainable. Two other major concerns are cited: expanded view of women’s issues beyond CBCRM and scaling up the CBCRM framework


An Integrated Approach to Empower Women Workers in the Informal Sector: The PATAMABA Case Study
Nathalie A. Verceles
The paper focuses on women informal sector. The Pambansang Kalipunan ng mga Manggagawang Impormal sa Pilipinas (PATAMABA) was founded in May 1989 with the objective of creating, strengthening, consolidating and expanding the national network of homebased workers and providing support services for their personal, social and economic well-being. The strategies and the experiences of PATAMABA are described: how GAD and participatory development are promoted; and how strategic interests are attained via bottom-up mobilization around practical gender needs. The author also discussed the current challenges concerning sustainability and other gender-related obstacles. At the macro level, the dominant neoliberal development paradigm poses greater obstacles to the informal sector, especially women.


Participation as a Tool for Empowerment in Agricultural and Fishery Development: The Case of the Agricultural and Fishery Council of the National Agricultural and Fishery Council
Pedro S. Dumaraos Jr.
The case presented is a typical government-initiated “enabling mechanism” of participatory development. There are two main weaknesses, however, in the application of participatory development approach especially in government programs: tokenism and the dominant “top-down” approach. The structures, process and strategies of the Agricultural and Fishery Councils (the enabling mechanism of people’s participation of the Department of Agriculture) are described. One key issue in AFC implementation is that the level of participation of the primary stakeholders tends to be compulsory and purely consultative. Proposed program reforms include: capacity building program for AFC officers and members, advocacy for wider participation, greater women’s involvement, and adequate budget for AFC operations at all levels.


Human Rights and Culture: Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Take Part in Cultural Life
Virginia B. Dandan
Cultural rights are an integral part of human rights. However, it has been observed that cultural rights are often neglected in favor of the more succinct “economic and social rights”. Human rights for development must include strategies of inclusion, equality and empowerment, accompanied by safeguards against exclusion and discrimination and clear and accessible mechanisms for redress and accountability. As a critique of government plans and programs, the author cites the fragmented character of the MTPDP, with each part seemingly isolated from each other and the whole. Moreover, the social protection that the MTPDP carefully maps out, refers to “safety nets” (for those who fall through the cracks in the delivery of essential services for basic needs) rather than “safeguards” (ensuring nobody falls through the cracks in the delivery of essential services which are human rights entitlements).


Sikhay 3: SD 398 (Social Development Research 1)

Social research is an important area of study for Social Development. The CSWCD Doctor in Social Development Program is both research-based and practice-oriented post-graduate course. As such, it draws from the growing literature of social research concepts and methods. Yet, it also seeks to contextualize these concepts and methods to current settings and emerging research practices.

This is the 3rd in the Series of DSD Student Papers. This compilation of student papers aims to summarize key concepts in social research and integrate these to social development perspectives. The papers are clustered into two sections:

Part 1 – Case Studies of Selected Research Practices
Social development research deals with different groups, settings and issues. Thus, research and methods must be culture-specific and appropriate to marginalized groups.

Part 2 – Book Reviews of Selected References on Social Research
There are voluminous references on social research. Current discourses on social research practice are highlighted in these selected materials.

What differentiates Social Development research from mainstream research framework? Social development research is both issue-focused and action-oriented. Research is not value-free. Social Development research is guided by the human rights framework, gender and development perspective and participatory research approaches. Although it utilizes social research standards and procedures, it continues to evolve from and respond to the challenges posed by social development practice.

This compilation can be used by the DSD students, as well as other development professionals and practitioners, as they undertake their own researches.

Part 1 – Case Studies of Selected Research Practices

  1. Social Opinion Survey
  2. Policy Research
  3. Impact Assessment
  4. Participatory Action Research
  5. Feminist Research
  6. Research with Children and Youth
  7. Research with Indigenous Peoples
  8. Research with Older Persons

Part 2 – Book Reviews of Social Research References

  1. Earl Babbie (2010), Practice of Social Research (12th edition)
  2. David Fetterman (2001), Foundations of Empowerment Evaluation
  3. Roger Gomm (2008), Social Research Methodology: A Critical Introduction
  4. Dick Hobbs and Richard Wright (2006), The Sage Handbook of Fieldwork
  5. Tim May (1998), Social Research: Issues, Methods and Process (2nd edition)
  6. Ernest Stringer (2007), Action Research (3rd Edition)
  7. Scott W. Vanderstoep & Deirdre D. Johnston (2009), Research Methods for Everyday Life: Blending Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
  8. Nicholas S.R. Walliman (2006), Social Research Methods


Social Opinion Survey
Nathalie A. Verceles
The article delves into the crucial role of social and opinion surveys in relation to social development. It analyses key concepts related to the study of garnering and interpreting data gathered from public polls. It examines the significance of social surveys as a significant method for shaping public opinion. It also presents a case study on a recent survey conducted by SWS and points out challenges survey institutions and the public need to face to realize the potentials of polls and overcome possible dangers. The article further offers reflections on how polls and surveys can better measure public pulse and serve its purpose


Policy Research
Eleanor E. Nicolas
The article presents the different underlying factors that affect policies crafted to solve social problems. It offers a comprehensive understanding of the processes involved in policy making as a product of policy research. The author investigates and critiques different approaches undertaken by policy researchers whose efforts even reflect their educational training. The paper postulates that policies resulting from formal policy research procedures are mere approximations of series of solutions utilized to address recurring questions, issues, or problems. Moreover, the principles governing policy research and the major steps of policy research are discussed.


Impact Assessment
Juline R. Dulnuan
The questions frequently raised regarding development programs are about the results, effectiveness or consequences of its implementation. This article discusses the process of evaluating these projects, focusing on Impact Assessment or IA. It presents different definitions of IA as an approach that gauges the results of program intervention. Moreover, the article expounds on the various components of program evaluation. This article helps readers to be critical of proposed solutions or programs intended to improve or solve a given problem and judge the outcome of such projects or programs.


Participatory Action Research
Pedro S. Dumaraos Jr.
To maximize the social significance of research, it is paramount to explore the theory and principles behind Participatory Action Research (PAR) based on the original concepts of its proponents. The study explores the concept that research must be done not on people but with and for the people since the outcome ought to benefit them as a whole. As such, therefore, enabling them to be involved in the process is seen as an effective way to empower them. The article combines the various insights about PAR and the course of action that can be considered the best option for researchers to adopt. It also looks into the challenges of PAR.


Feminist Research
Ma. Linnea V. Tanchuling
Feminism as a movement and philosophy is intertwined with feminist research. The article discusses the principles and processes of feminist research. It also presents its significance in social development. The paper reviews the origin of feminist research and outlines the works of its proponents during the first and second waves of feminist research. The author also incorporates her views and personal experiences as a feminist researcher and stresses the goal of feminist research as action-oriented.


Research among Indigenous Peoples
Virginia B. Dandan
Doing research with the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) involves personal interaction: getting immersed with community life, familiarity with their knowledge system. This requires establishing solid rapport and relationships with the IPs. This assists the researcher to better understand the meanings of the data gathered. This article differentiates two important methods, ethnography and ethnomethodology, including detailed suggestions on how to do fieldwork which is considered the heart of this method. Furthermore, the article confronts the challenges and prospects of this type of research. The author ends with her personal reflections as a field researcher.


Research with Children and Youth
Persida Rueda-Acosta
The article argues that children have great contributions to make in the field of research. It provides an avenue for researchers to re-consider working with children and offers a variety of innovative approaches in doing research with children. As a prerequisite in doing research with children, there is need for a comprehensive understanding of who and what children are. This article presents different methods that are best suited for doing research with children. It also gives a glimpse of the difficulties that confront researchers using these methods.


Sikhay 4: SD Selected Papers (SD 303, 304, 399)
Social development concerns are both multi-faceted and problem-focused. Beyond the concepts and discussions are real-life situations that call for concrete responses to the plight of marginalized sectors. Development strategies and social policies must be complementary and integrated – not piecemeal. Policy reforms and program development require adequate research-based information – not merely based on political whims and power plays.

These are some of the challenges that development professionals confront in their respective work settings. These macro-level concerns demand greater responsibilities, including ethics-based practice and improved work-related skills. There is a need to understand the issues at hand, including the dynamics and relationships of the key players. Lessons from field practice must inform subsequent strategies and actions. Capacities among practitioners must be further developed in terms of research, advocacy, alliance building and working with marginalized groups such as indigenous groups, women, youth, rural and urban poor.

There is still much to learn. We should not stop learning from our varied experiences: to synthesize lessons and adapt these to context-specific situations.

Sikhay 4 is the latest in the series of selected DSD student papers that aim to contribute to current discourses on social development practice. There are five (5) articles in this issue, chosen from among the DSD papers submitted in the 2nd semester, AY 2010-2011 for SD 303 (Social Development Strategies) under Dr. Sammie P. Formilleza, SD 304 (Social Policy Development and Advocacy) handled by Dr. Oscar P. Ferrer, and SD 399 (Social Development Research II) under Dr. Ma. Theresa V. Tungpalan and Dr. Nilan G. Yu.

Barrameda’s paper focuses on alliance building as experienced by a women’s group. Two articles deal with policy recommendations pertaining to youth participation (Carolino) and microfinance (Almazan). The last two studies examined economic crisis from the viewpoint of women from the informal sector (Verceles) and defined human rights concerns from the perspective of the Kankana-eys, an indigenous group from Benguet (Dandan).


The selected articles are part of the students’ continuing refinement of their respective dissertation papers.

Networking and alliance-Building: Lessons from the experience of Sama-samang Inisyatiba ng Kababaihan sa Pagbabago ng Batas at Lipunan (SIBOL)
Teresita Villamor-Barrameda (SD 303)
The paper focuses on networks and alliances as strategy for social development that can contribute to advancing the women’s movement. Based on the experience of SIBOL, network and alliance building can create impact at 3 levels: the policy environment, changes in attitudes and consciousness of stakeholders, and changes in women’s lives. At the policy level, the passage of the Anti-Rape Law containing majority of SIBOL’s “non-negotiables” is one big landmark law that has contributed in the protection, promotion, and fulfilment of women’s rights. The paper also cites the importance of legislative advocacy in pushing for demands addressing class, gender, and other social justice issues.


Revisiting the Youth in Nation-Building Act of 1995: A Policy Advocacy Agenda
Juliet C. Carolino (SD 304)
The author discusses the role of the youth in nation-building as embodied in RA 8044 creating the National Youth Commission (NYC). The paper also identifies the varied levels of youth participation. It underscores the important role of NYC and other youth-serving government entities both at the national and local levels in promoting youth development and the role of the youth in nation-building. Such role must be further reviewed and intensified so that the strategies and course of actions become more youth-responsive. Possible legislative amendments include: definition of the role of the youth in nation-building (social, cultural, and political), mandates of the NYC, and budget appropriation for youth development.


Promoting Microinsurance for the Poor: An Advocacy Agenda
Rainier V. Almazan (SD 304)
Microinsurance is often regarded as a protective measure of low-income people against specific perils in exchange for regular premium payments proportionate to the likelihood and cost of the risk involved. It differs from commercial insurance only in the way it specifically targets low-income people, yet this ‘small’ difference causes many new challenges for the sector. The paper presents these challenges in the implementing microinsurance programs in the Philippines: policy issues on its legal and regulatory framework, operational and institutional issues, prudential issues (e.g. minimum capital requirements, entry restrictions, etc.), market and economic concerns, e.g., working with the poor and informal sectors. The paper concludes that a critical mass is an important aspect of insurance viability.


Weaving Women’s Work and Women’s Empowerment Amidst Crises: Focus on the Informal Sector
Nathalie A. Verceles (SD 399)
This research explores experiences of the members of PATAMABA-Balingasa, a women-dominated organization of workers in the informal sector. To accomplish this, the research participants were asked to do a personal retrospection of the past decade and share their experiences in both productive and reproductive work, identify turning points that led to downward/upward trends in income and the intensification/alleviation of domestic work, and consider whether these changes were related to their external environments. The findings led to the conclusion that no distinct relationship could be established between the 2008 global economic crisis and their circumstances following its onset up to the present. What began as an exploration of the possible effects of the crisis was pulled by the narratives towards an examination of their lives as women and workers in the informal sector, the actual circumstances that account for the peaks and troughs in their lives, their survival strategies, and the enabling role of individual and collective empowerment.


The Kankana-ey of Bgy. Poblacion, Kibungan, Benguet: Meanings, Application and Analysis of the Normative Content of the Right to Take Part in Cultural Life in the Context of Indigenous Peoples’ Perspective
Virginia B. Dandan (SD 399)
The research examines the extent to which the normative content of General Comment 21 is linked to the community’s self-determined human rights issues in Barangay Poblacion in Kibungan, Benguet. It explores the community’s perceptions on cultural life and human rights, and inquires into the availability of goods and services that are open for everyone to enjoy and benefit from. Field research for this study was built on the results of an earlier project. The data set was reviewed, revalidated, and updated so as to be useful to the objectives of this present, related, but new research. Data-gathering made use of ethnographic methods, laying the groundwork for a narrative approach to the consolidation of data and their analysis, and the presentation of initial research findings. The themes that emerged from the narratives include: community life as cultural life, the role of the community in defining cultural life, obstacles to the participation of the community in cultural life.