by Susan C. Aro / PIA
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chair Brigida Zenaida Pawid called on concerned agencies to open their doors and link with the NCIP in pushing for the promotion, preservation, and protection of indigenous peoples rights.
In a recent briefing on the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and other related issuances organized by NCIP-CAR and Region 1 for government agencies and non-government organizations, Pawid said while it is NCIP’s main task, pushing for the IP rights is not its sole responsibility. She asked concerned agencies to involve NCIP in their plans and programs especially those requiring consent of communities within ancestral domain areas.
She also urged NCIP staff members to link up with the agencies.
Pawid underscored their agency powers, functions, and programs such as issuance of titles over vast tracts of land, 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, s. 2012 on the guidelines on the confirmation of indigenous political structures and the registration of IP’s organizations; NCIP AO 1, s. 2009 on the national guidelines for the mandatory representation of IPs in local legislative bodies; NCIP AO 1, s. 2012 on the indigenous knowledge systems and practices and customary laws research and documentation guidelines; NCIP AO 3, s. 2012 or the revised guidelines of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and related processes; and NCIP AO 4, s. 2012 on the revised omnibus rules on delineation and recognition of ancestral domains and lands.
Pawid said NCIP does not follow political and administrative boundaries as one cannot plan for the Cordillera alone, but must include Region 1 as both belong to the old Lepanto-Amburayan provinces.
On the mandatory sectoral representation in local special bodies tasked to push for IP agenda, Pawid has sought the help of the Committee on Indigenous Peoples Concerns of the Regional Development Council to clearly define the IP agenda.
Pawid also clarified that the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) cannot be sold or alienated, while Certificate of Land Titles (CALT) may be sold and alienated.
Pawid said inside the CADT are private properties, which are governed by customary laws. She 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 for 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 said all projects within CADTs must undergo FPIC, which 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 use.
The decision of IPs to allow or deny projects within ancestral domains should be respected, she said.
Pawid said the NCIP has fulfilled one of its mandates two years ago, which is the installation of regional hearing officers (RHO), clustered into four, across the nation.
The RHOs under the IPRA provision can settle cases employing customary laws.