Agencies link to promote IP rights

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Monday, June 17, 2013

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) chairperson Brigida Zenaida Pawid called on concerned agencies to open their doors and link with the NCIP in promoting, preserving and protecting Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) rights.

Pawid said that while the NCIP is the lead agency in pushing IP rights she stressed this is not the sole responsibility of the office. This as Pawid asked concerned agencies to involve NCIP in their plans and programs especially those requiring consent of communities within ancestral domain areas.

Pawid underscored their agency powers, functions and programs such as issuance of titles over vast tract of lands, issuance of certificates of confirmation as IP, educational assistance, quasi-judicial, legal assistance and mandatory representation of IPs in local special bodies.


Among the issuances discussed were NCIP Administrative Order 2 series 2012 on the General Guidelines on the Confirmation of Indigenous Political Structures (IPS) and the Registration of Indigenous People’s Organizations; NCIP AO 1 series of 2009 on the National Guidelines for the Mandatory Representation of Indigenous Peoples in local legislative bodies; NCIP AO 1 series 2012 on the Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices and Customary Laws Research and Documentation Guidelines; NCIP Administrative Order 3 series 2012 which is the Revised Guidelines of Free and Prior Informed Consent and related processes; and NCIP AO 4 series 2012 on the Revised Omnibus Rules on Delineation and Recognition of Ancestral Domains and Lands.

On IP ethnographic division, Pawid said NCIP does not follow politico-administrative boundaries as they cannot plan for the Cordillera Administrative Region alone but include Region 1 as they are lumped as one belonging to the old Lepanto-Amburayan provinces.

On the mandatory sectoral representatives in local special bodies tasked to push for IP agenda, Pawid is seeking the help of the Committee on Indigenous Peoples Concerns of the Regional Development Council to clearly define the IP agenda.

Pawid also made clear that Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) cannot be sold nor alienated but Certificate of Land Titles (CALTs) may be sold and alienated.

But inside the CADT are private properties governed by customary laws according to Pawid and cautioned one cannot apply for CALT such that per commission en banc rules there are no CALTs inside a CADT but only recognition of private rights in the community.

As to the CADTs in protected areas where the IPs are found, including mining areas, Pawid appealed to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to allow the people to make decisions within the protected areas and look into the rights of IPs within the delineated mining application areas.

Pawid also stressed all projects within CADTs must undergo Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). The FPIC holds on to the principle that a community has the right to give or withhold its consent to proposed projects that may affect the lands they customarily own, occupy or otherwise use.

The decision of IPs to allow or deny project undertaking within ancestral domains should be respected, she emphasized.

Meantime, Pawid bared the NCIP has fulfilled one of its mandates two years ago - the installation of Regional Hearing Officers clustered into four across the nation. The RHOs under the IPRA provision can settle cases employing customary laws. (Susan Aro)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 18, 2013.

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