By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Citing the provisions of the body created under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) on the representation of indigenous peoples (IP) in the local legislative functions, one of the councilors urged the support for an ordinance providing for IP mandatory representatives in the Baguio City Council and in qualified barangays.
Baguio City Councilor Arthur Allad-iw, an IP himself said that it is specified in the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Administrative Order 001 series of 2009. He explained that it is a manifestation of expression of Section 10, Article II of the Philippine Constitution providing that the State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development. He cited that in carrying out this state policy, Republic Act 8371 or the IPRA law mandates that the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) have the right to participate fully at all levels of decision-making in connection with their plight.
He cited that under the local government code, there shall be sectoral representatives in the Sangguniang Panlungsod who shall come from the women, urban poor and the IPs. He said that the law shall be followed especially by the government itself.
Allad-iw however said that the sectoral representatives slots are not yet being filled up at the moment because Congress has yet to pass a law providing for the manner of electing such. Here he said that the IPRA provision for such comes in to strengthen the local government code in the case of IPs.
He said that the IP representative will promote the political, civil, economic and cultural rights of IPs to ensure the collective representation of their general interest and aspirations of IPs. He added that he or she will ensure state recognition of the primacy of costumary and practices. He further said that the IP representative will see to it that cases involving disputes between ICCs/IPs shall be settled using their accepted costumary laws.
“He shall maintain the development and practice of ICCs/IPs traditional leadership titles and structures, justice systems, conflict resolution institutions and peace building mechanisms and processes that are compatible with the Philippine legal system,” he said.
He added that the selected representative shall secure or allocate funds for the codification of costumary laws and practices, and indigenous knowledge systems and practices of the ICCs/IPs.
Allad-iw said said that although Baguio’s population is dominated by non-IPs from different places of the country, it is still within the Cordillera Region which is an IP region. The councilor said an IPMR will also be established in the barangay councils.
He hopes that the Baguio City Council shall create legislative measures to strengthen the installation of the IPMR as soon as possible especially this August is IP month. # nordis.net