Issue of May 12, 2019
Mt. Province

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NCIP commissioner for CAR, R1 vows internal cleansing
by PIO release

The newly installed commissioner of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples vowed to initiate internal cleansing of the commission to help bring back the trust and confidence of the indigenous peoples (IPs) in the implementation of the programs, projects, and activities geared towards uplifting their status.

NCIP Commissioner for Region 1 and the Cordillera Gaspar Cayat said it is important to implement a massive internal cleansing within the commission so that the real intent of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) will be implemented.

“We have to admit that the NCIP has been dragged into numerous controversies over the past two decades. It is high time for the commission to undergo the much needed internal cleansing to improve the perception of the people that the Commission is not working for the welfare of the indigenous peoples,” Cayat said.

He said another priority initiative he will undertake is the review of all applications for the issuance of ancestral land titles to ascertain those that passed the criteria and deadline. Those that did not pass the same will be returned unrecorded to the applicants.

He said he wants to stop the unscrupulous practice of some enterprising ancestral land claimants who file their applications with the NCIP, plot the same with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and collect huge sums from the actual occupants of the properties.

Cayat said another program in the pipeline is the reported strengthening of the rules for the conduct of the free and prior informed consent process, which has apprently been the subject of abuse that caused uproar among IPs affected by the implementation of development projects.

He said now is the time to introduce changes to the different programs, projects, and activities of the agency.

Cayat said there is a need to sustain the implementation of programs, projects, and activities for the welfare of indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities pursuant to the objectives of the IPRA so that the negative perception of the IPs against the Commission will be erased.

The IPRA took effect in November 1997 and aimed to improve the status of IPs and ICCs for them to be empowered and become instruments of change.

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