Respect for indigenous peoples’ right to self determination; the review of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP); the delivery of basic social services to indigenous peoples’ communities; the protection of indigenous peoples from development aggression, human rights violations and militarization; and the recognition of the indigenous peoples’ role in the peace processes.
This is the call of the 180 indigenous peoples from all over the country for President Noynoy Aquino to adopt the Indigenous Peoples Agenda and Action Plan that was affirmed during the National IP summit, dubbed “Building Consensus, Claiming the Future”, held on March 21-23, 2011, at the SEAMEO-Innotech in Quezon City.
The IP agenda outlines the historical struggle of indigenous peoples in dealing with policies and development projects that are not beneficial to them. The agenda highlights their rights as enumerated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and in the IPRA.
“There are gross violations of human rights committed by the government and the state against the IPs. This is evident in the prevailing laws, policies and programs of the country. These include violations of the IPs’ rights to self-determination especially in terms of economic development, livelihood, and politics, and even the rights to their own culture, belief and ways of life”, the Consultative Group on Indigenous Peoples articulates.
In response, Secretary Teresita Deles, the Cabinet Oversight Official on matters pertaining to indigenous peoples and NCIP shared that, “Indigenous people are at the heart of the President who carried with him the IP agenda even before he became the President”.
Meanwhile, NCIP Chair Roque Agton, emphasized that, “The NCIP under the Aquino administration will not be afraid to cancel the previous certificates of precondition (CP) issued by the Commission”. The CP is a document that NCIP issues after the conduct of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) with indigenous communities.
A DILG representative also highlighted the department’s commitment to ensure that indigenous peoples are represented in all levels of Sanggunians, as mandated by the IPRA. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) representative talked about the convergence initiative with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DENR) to be able to synergize program implementation with communities at the local level. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) representative also expressed that indigenous people will be the priority in PhilHealth coverage. The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) also shared that they will include the indigenous peoples in their processes at the local level, especially in identifying key priority projects.
The PRRM was one of the organizers of the Summit. Through its project with the European Union entitled, “Enhancing Civil Society Participation in Election and other Political and Democratic Processes”, PRRM assisted its partner indigenous peoples organizations from Bataan, Nueva Vizcaya, Camarines Sur and North Cotabato to participate actively in the summit. PRRM also set up a photo exhibit to increase awareness among the indigenous peoples on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Catherine Tiongson-Intalan
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines