Revamp NCIP!

By GINA DIZON

QUEZON CITY — The August 8 celebration of the world’s Indigenous Peoples Day gathered IP formations from all over the country who called for the overhaul of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), to fast track the processing of ancestral domain titles and the review of ancestral land titles.

"THERE IS NO NCIP IF THERE ARE NO IPs."  Giovanni Reyes, chairman of KASAPI, said the call to revamp the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples would gear a new hope for indigenous peoples in reclaiming their rights to their land and self-determination. Since it was started, NCIP has been reported to different anomalies in different processes such as CALT/CADT and FPIC. Photo courtesy of Anna Karla Hummiwat/TFIP
“THERE IS NO NCIP IF THERE ARE NO IPs.” Giovanni Reyes, chairman of KASAPI, said the call to revamp the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples would gear a new hope for indigenous peoples in reclaiming their rights to their land and self-determination. Since it was started, NCIP has been reported to different anomalies in different processes such as CALT/CADT and FPIC. Photo courtesy of Anna Karla Hummiwat/TFIP
It was raised in the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) gathering that on NCIPs lacklustre to non-performance of its functions to uphold IP rights; apart from holding a controversial record of favouring mining companies in the issuances of free prior and informed consent (FPIC) certificates while ignoring IP rights to an FPIC process over their lands and territories.

In a petition paper forwarded to President Benigno Aquino III, participants called on government “to revamp the NCIP, and remove those who have been proven to work against the rights and interests of IPs and support a comprehensive independent initiative to review the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).”

Executive director Vicky Tauli-Corpuz of the sponsoring organization Tebteba Foundation said the NCIP has failed to execute its functions in favour of IP rights noting experiences of IP participants and earlier studies of the University of the Philippines- Baguio finding NCIP to have failed in its functions to implement IPRA.

UP Baguio earlier conducted an evaluation of the NCIP and presented their findings to the Philippine Congress during the World’s Indigenous Peoples Day in 2012.

This, as Koalisyon ng Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI) chairman Giovanni Reyes posed the question to some 200 members gathered, “Has NCIP finally abdicated its responsibility to the IPs?”

Reyes focused his question on the slow issuances of certificates of ancestral domain titles (CADTs) since NCCP was created 14 years ago in the adoption of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in 1997.

Reyes in his reference to NCIP’s record as of December 2010 as “probably its worst record in the past three years” , noted that only 156 certificates of ancestral domain title (CADT) were issued covering 4.3 million hectares of which only 37 CADTs covering only 936 hectares were registered.

There are an estimated 7.5 million hectares of IP lands in the country spread out in IP territories in the Cordillera and other parts of Luzon, and among a sizable number of IPs in Mindanao and some in the Visayas.

Some CADTs and CALTs issued by NCIP has been contested by opposing private claimants due to questionable processes ignoring indigenous processes, urging participants to call on the government to fast track legitimate CADTS and a review of the issuances of certificate of ancestral land titles (CALTs).

Ironically, Reyes mentioned, is the quick issuances of FPIC certificates favouring mining companies as compared to the long delays in the issuance of CADTS to the IP’s.

Cordillera Peoples Alliance Chairman Windel Bolinget consistently has raised NCIP’s failure to respect and implement the IPs right to the processes for their free prior and informed consent to projects that enter their communities.

In a separate press conference, Reyes called for the declaration of all NCIP positions vacant for a re assessment of the criteria for applications to jobs positions in the said commission to include bureau directors and even commissioners.

Congressman Teddy Baguilat from Ifugao and former chairman of the congressional Committee on National Minorities said the problem is structural aside from the persisting issue on non –performing personnel of NCIP.

In the same event, participants questioned the process by which NCIP conducts its mandate to facilitate IP representative positions to sangguniang bodies as per Memorandum Circular 2010-119 providing mandatory representation of indigenous cultural communities/ indigenous peoples in policy making bodies and other local legislative councils issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The DILG Circular adopted National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Administrative Order No 001 series of 2009 setting national guidelines for the mandatory representation of indigenous peoples in local legislative councils. IPRA provides in section 16 that “the State shall ensure that ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy making bodies.”

Vice chieftain Marjorie Dulnuan of Nueva Ecija said that IP representative positions in the municipal Sanggunian of Palayan of the municipality had been filled up by Nueva Ecija NCIP provincial director Dario Saw-an reportedly appointing a certain Patricio Fernandez without barangay constituents knowledge and thus ignoring IP participation in the process.

In same event, Dulphing Ogan, a convenor of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) said municipal chieftain Rafael Lantingan of Saranggani, Davao del Sur reportedly placed himself as the municipal IP representative which led Lumakas an IP organization of the Blaan tribe in Saranggani, to call to unseat Lantingan.

Ogan called on the DILG and the NCIP to facilitate indigenous processes in the selection of an IP representative in sangguniang bodies in accordance to the NCIP-DILG circular. # nordis.net

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