The Cordillera Peoples Alliancce (CPA) along with other indigenous organizations in the country under Katribu, a national alliance of indigenous peoples, will submit the Indigenous Peoples (IP) Agenda to Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte this month. The IP Agenda outlines the major concerns of indigenous peoples in the country. As an IP Agenda, it will also serve as a challenge for the incoming President to study and address.
The main components of the IP Agenda are: On the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), titling of ancestral lands and domain, Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP); Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Indigenous Peoples; The GRP and the MILF Peace Talks and the Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity (BJE) and the GRP and the NDF Peace Talks; Human Rights Violations; Mining and Other Development Projects; and Conflicting Laws.
The Agenda cites cases from various indigenous communities from Luzon to Mindanao indicating that the NCIP, the primary government agency mandated to implement the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA), is not working effectively for Indigenous Peoples. In many parts of the country, the process that an indigenous community goes through to secure Certificate of Ancestral Domian Title and Certificate of Ancestral Land Title takes too long, having to pass through a tedious and cumbersome process, not to mention expensive and burdensome requirements. In other accounts, there are CALT and CADT applications haphazardly approved and some even went missing.
It also added that the ADSDPP process is defective. This process should enable indigenous communities to develop their own plans for their ancestral domains. Instead, its implementation has only imposed an unnecessary additional governmental regulatory mechanism that impinges on the rights of self-determination of the Indigenous Peoples and deny them the right to define their own development priorities. The ADSDPP is being implemented for compliance sake, instead of coming up with meaningful plans that are identified by Indigenous Peoples themselves. Moreover, the strict implementation of the 2006 FPIC Guidelines by the NCIP has caused severe impact on indigenous communities due to approved environmentally-destructive projects (like large scale mining) without the consent of affected communities.
The IP Agenda also calls on the incoming government to give special attention to the plight of Indigenous Peoples in terms of poverty reduction and eradication measures, and improvement of basic social services.
The IP Agenda reiterates the call on both parties, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, to recognize the peace pacts forged through history between different Indigenous Peoples and Muslims in Mindanao. It also calls on the GRP, MILF and NDFP to establish or create an appropriate body to ensure the effective participation of indigenous peoples across the country. Members of this body should be selected by Indigenous Peoples themselves.
On mining and other destructive projects, the IP Agenda calls on Presumptive President Duterte to declare a moratorium on large-scale mining and conduct a review of existing mining policies in the country. It further calls on the government to exclude indigenous people’s sacred sites, critical watersheds and sanctuaries from mining and other development projects. The IP Agenda also call on the incoming President to require mining companies to rehabilitate degraded and mined-out areas, and compensate indigenous peoples affected by landslides, erosions and sinkholes. Furthermore, the IP Agenda calls for the government to ensure that the genuine free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples be obtained before other development projects such as mega hydroelectric dams are brought into their communities.
Lastly, the IP Agenda asks the commitment of incoming President Duterte to probe the cases of extra-judicial killings and other cases of human rights violations committed against indigenous peoples, and to go after perpetrators of extrajudicial killings in the country.
Abigail B. Anongos
Source: CPA PHILIPPINES