CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Region 3, together with IP leaders from various ancestral domains in Central Luzon conducted a dialogue today with the DENR Central Luzon Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 3 to discuss development issues and challenges confronting Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) in the region.
Leading the ICCs/IPs were NCIP R3 Acting Regional Director Atty. Roman Antonio, Admin and Finance Division Chief Randie Bacani, Regional Information Officer Mr. Louis Genesis David, and NCIP Pampanga Community Service Center Chief Mr. Kevin Fonseca. DENR R3 family were led by its Regional Executive Director Engr. Paquito Moreno, Jr., Assistant Regional Director Mr. Joey Blanco, and Pampanga PENRO Chief Mr. Roger Encarnation.
Highlights of the dialogue are as follows:
1. Data and information building and sharing—ancestral domain maps and shape files turned over to DENR.
2. Issuance of joint statement regarding anti-illegal selling of portions of ancestral domains—the draft statement is still subject to DENR R3’s legal department review.
3. Ensuring sustainability of all programs, activities, and projects implemented by the department—NCIP emphasized the importance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) as direct partners compared to non-IP Peoples Organizations (POs). This comes with lengthy discussion on conflict and issues arising with existing land/forest management and tenurial instrument projects of the department such as the National Greening Program (NGP), Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA), Community Based Forest Management Agreement (CBFMA), Forest Land Grazing Management Agreement (FLGMA), and Socialized Industrial Forest Management Agreement (SIFMA). Director Antonio pointed out the need to discuss the limitations of non-IP POs implementing such projects. RED Moreno in response called for more detailed discussion with the prospect of refining and enhancing the region’s implementation of said mandates.
4. Discussion on various concerns regarding the implementation of the E-NIPAS Law — NCIP reiterated the need to harmonize such with existing IP Development Framework with reference to community plans such as the ADSDPP. DENR widen the commitment by ensuring to include the IP sector as a member of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).
5. Discussion of mutual interest on the identification and protection of critical watershed and habitat highlighting the primordial role of IPs in conservation and environmental management.
6. Clarification of specific issues regarding the collection and utilization of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP).
7. Institutionalization of the IP Desk in Pampanga PENRO and all CENRO in the province. With this, the DENR, NCIP, and IP leaders also agreed to hold a regular once-a-month meeting to continue addressing all burning issues and concerns, and identify collective ways forward. IP Leaders present at the meeting committed to be an active part of this new convergence mechanism.