Philippines: Free Prior And Informed Consent In The Philippines – Regulations And Realities


    Indigenous peoples of the Philippines have made significant strides in their efforts to protect their ancestral domains and their identities. Despite their political and economic marginalization, they have managed to gain legal traction in their struggle to defend themselves from various threats.

    In 1997, the Philippines Congress enacted the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) which recognizes indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and provides mechanisms for the protection of indigenous ancestral domains and all resources therein. The IPRA adopted the concept of “free and prior informed consent” (FPIC) as a means to protect indigenous rights and interests and give them a voice in matters that affect them. FPIC in this context requires that indigenous communities be provided with adequate and accessible information, and that consensus is determined in accordance with indigenous peoples’ customary laws and practices and free from any external manipulation or coercion. The IPRA requires FPIC prior to the extraction of resources from indigenous ancestral domains and lands. When implemented effectively, FPIC represents a critical tool in the realization of indigenous self-determination, promoting community participation in decision-making and mitigating the risk of social conflict around natural resource projects.

    Unfortunately, even with strong legislation in place, indigenous peoples in the Philippines have faced considerable challenges in realizing their right to give or withhold FPIC. This policy note describes the key legal protections for FPIC in the Philippines as well as past obstacles to effective implementation. In addition, the policy note highlights features of implementing rules adopted by the government in 2012 to promote more effective future implementation of FPIC.

    Download the entire report here (.pdf)

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