Upholding the Dangal (Dignity) of Biracial (Haphap) Children in Angeles City, Philippines
Lavides, Maria Margarita
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There is some literature on the situation of Filipino children relative to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in the Philippines. However, there is a scarcity of research about the experiences of the Filipino haphap (biracial) children, particularly those living in Angeles City; as well as a lack of investigation on the concept of children’s dignity from an indigenous perspective. Addressing these gaps are imperative since the Philippines ratified the Convention in 1990, and considering that millions of Filipino children are in poverty. Hence, this study aimed to recommend child-centred policies that can be applied by the Angeles City Local Government so as to uphold the dignity of the Filipino biracial children. In the thesis, I consider the context of the study through a discussion of the Philippine society, culture, political system, colonial history, and geography. I highlighted the impact of colonisation on Filipino women and children, and provided details about Angeles City and the biracial children. I developed the theoretical framework of this study from an indigenous Filipino standpoint, and with a focus on the Filipino concept of dignity called dangal. I employed sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino psychology) as my epistemology, and used semi-structured interview, together with Filipino research methods in my fieldwork in Angeles City. In line with promoting their participation rights, I involved the biracial children in this study not only as participants but also as junior research associates (JRAs). During my fieldwork, I had a support team consisting of a research assistant, a recruitment facilitator, a translation consultant, and three JRAs. I conceptualised, collected, and analysed the data. I transcribed and coded the interviews I conducted with 10 biracial child participants, 10 parent participants, and 16 community participants (6 teachers, 5 government officials, 2 priests, a nun, a policewoman and an NGO worker). I analysed the interview data and the child participants’ drawings using thematic analysis. Themes that were related to children’s understanding of their dangal, as well as its enablers and barriers, emerged. The data analysis revealed that the child participants’ dangal had internal and external domains. While the external domain was reflected in functionality, the internal domain was promoted through pakikipagkapwa or treating others as kapwa (fellow human beings). The barriers to dangal included social prejudice, poverty, governmental inadequacy, and environmental disturbances. The research argues that the biracial children’s dangal can be upheld by establishing a functional environment, addressing social prejudice, and providing financial assistance as well as access to education.