By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) in the Cordillera clarified that existence of the indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR) in the legislative bodies of local government units is not based on the perceived “marginalization” of IPs.
This was explained by NCIP-CAR director Atty. Roland Calde during the August 15 meeting of the Regional Development Council Committee on Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns (RDC-CIPC) held in the city.
“The IPMR was not based on the ground stated in Republic Act 7160 (Local Government Code) that they are marginalized. It was not based on marginalization as viewed by some LGUs but based on the existence of IPs,” said Calde.
He also clarified that the legal discussion on “marginalization” as basis for representation is only the matter of the partylist system and in the sectoral representatives in the local government code.
Calde added that IPMR is provided by RA 8371 (Indigenous Peoples Rights Act) and supported under the Constitution.
He also shared that some LGUs are still not recognizing and facilitating the selection of IPMRs.
Of the 160 IPMRs with Certificate of Affirmation issued by the NCIP-CAR in 2017, 155 have assumed office. While only Abra, Benguet and Kalinga, and only 24 of the 80 municipalities in CAR have IPMRs.
The NCIP head also expressed disagreement with LGUs in the region who are saying that having an IPMR is “redundant”.
“I think it is wrong. Siguro ang sa inyo ang redundant is yung numbers ninyo. I think the more IPs, the more the need for an IPMR, clearly it is very specific that it is mandatory,” he said.
Last July, Baguio City filed a petition before RTC Branch 7 to be exempted from having an IPMR noting that IPs in the city are “not marginalized or a minority” and having one is “redundant and would result to reverse discrimination.”# nordis.net