Technology in the service of cultural diversity
The Philippine Star, 14 February 2013

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: This article reports on an initiative to document the healing traditions of indigenous and local communities in the Philippines, undertaken the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care, and the National Institute of Health of the University of the Philippines Manila. Documentation of the healing traditions has been done or is ongoing among many indigenous groups in the Cordillera, Sierra Madre, Palawan, Mindoro, Zamboanga and southeastern Mindanao. The output of the documentation is stored in a traditional knowledge digital library, developed and maintained by UP Manila, together with the two collaborating institutions. The digital library thus is a repository of the various cultural traditions of Philippine indigenous and local communities, that reflect the practices, knowledge, beliefs, and philosophy of what may be called “Philippine medicine.” In the acknowledgement of the communities’ rights to their knowledge, this national research program aims to carry out a community-based participatory approach, wherein the communities are actively and effectively involved in the documentation and protection of their cultural heritage in health. Their part is integral in defining the cultural appropriateness of the research: from assessing the project objectives, data-gathering methods and instruments, to deciding what information may be inputted in the digital library and what will be kept confidential. Read the article …