The lands of the indigenous peoples (IPs) that sustained lives for thousands of years are rich in resources. Their potentials, however, remain largely unexplored primarily due to their inaccessibility and conflicts.
To promote and protect the rights of the IPs, including their socioeconomic rights, the first step is to secure their lands through government issuance of an instrument that will formally recognize their ownership i.e. the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). With ownership secured accompanied by assistance coming from government particularly the local government units (LGUs), the IPs themselves will be able to develop their domains. Using their indigenous knowledge, systems and practices (IKSPs) interfacing with contemporary technologies as embodied in their Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPPs), IPs can convert their domains into productive lands.
Anchored on the results of consultations with representatives of IPs, civil-society groups, other stakeholders and personnel of the Commission, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has come up with six (6) strategic directions for the period 2016-2022 primarily geared at promoting peace and reducing the incidence of poverty among the indigenous cultural communities in line with the President’s economic agenda.
The NCIP Strategic Directions also cover the mandate, goals, outputs, its structure and resources of the Commission. Likewise, it identifies who the IPs are, their ancestral domains and a situationer of their communities. A portion is also dedicated to its coordination work with other agencies and some of the challenges encountered. Lastly, it contains the Commission’s policy proposals for the Office of the President.
II. Conceptual Framework
The Strategic Directions were based on the conceptual framework illustrated below. First, it identified the institutional outcome of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). Then it proceeded to look into the social, political, economic, and technical situation of the IPs and the formulated ADSDPPs vis-à-vis the mandate of the agency, its goals, structures, capacities and its resources including the related mandates and programs of other agencies.
This is undertaken to identify the gaps and measures / strategy needed to achieve the institutional outcome i.e. empowerment of the IPs which means their rights to their ancestral domains and land, rights to cultural integrity, right to self-governance and right to social justice and human rights are promoted and protected and eventually fulfilled.
The strategic directions identified are: (1) Reorganization of the agency, (2) Capacity-building; (3) Support to IP Conferences and IP Mandatory Representation; (4) Philippine IP Ethnographic Survey; (5) IP Peace Agenda and (6) IP Master Plan.
III. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
The mandate of NCIP is stated in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA). Section 39 thereof states: “The NCIP shall protect and promote the interest and well-being of the Indigenous Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples with due regard to their beliefs, customs, traditions and institutions.”
The societal goal is poverty reduction while the sectoral goals are: (1) Human Development Status Improved and (2) Resilience of Natural System Enhanced with Improved Adaptive Capacities of Communities. The NCIP organizational goals are: (1) IP Rights assured and (2) IPs’ Capacity to Manage their Ancestral Domains Improved.
The present NCIP Strategy 2016-2022 is geared towards contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
1. (SDG 1 & SDG 2) No Poverty & Zero Hunger
The form of poverty that the IPs in the Philippines find themselves in may be directly related to the ownership of and access to their ancestral domains. One key strategy of NCIP is focusing on the completion of the formal recognition of their claims to ancestral domain titles. To end extreme poverty in all forms by 2030, formulation and implementation of their Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan is deemed crucial. Only 10% of the communities have formulated plans. The plans, grounded on indigenous models of development and indigenous systems of farming, are important in achieving food security and ending hunger.
2. (SDG 3) Good Health & Well-Being
The respect, promotion and fulfillment of the right(s) of the IPs to free, prior and informed consent are essential in ensuring that development interventions within the ancestral domain would contribute healthy lives and general well-being of all the inhabitants within the ancestral domain.
3. (SDG 4) Quality Education
How do you make the educational system more inclusive and culture-sensitive? These questions are relevant to NCIP and the IPs especially since the educational system has been a part of the marginalization of the IPs since the birth of the Republic. In addition, displacement of the communities because of armed conflict, especially in Mindanao, have resulted to decrease of access of IP children to quality education.
4. (SDG 5) Gender Equality
NCIP promotes empowerment of the Indigenous Peoples. In this empowerment process, a conscious and culture-sensitive focus on women and girls is to ensured.
5. (SDG 13) Climate Action
The resilience of the indigenous communities over time is beyond doubt. Harnessing these knowledge systems and practices may be beneficial as the other communities brace for the effects of climate change.
6. (SDG 16). Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions
NCIP is strengthening Indigenous Political Structures (IPS); participation of indigenous peoples in local governance through the IPMR; and promotion of IP rights through IP Conferences (institutionalization of) in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. These institutions are envisaged to be working structures that will face the myriad issues the IPs are facing in the communities. Through these structures, the issues of “killings on indigenous leaders” and indigenization of armed struggle will be addressed.
The IPs fully exercise their right to Ancestral Domains (AD), Cultural Integrity, Self- Governance and Empowerment, Social Justice and Human Rights.
1. Right to Ancestral Domains Fulfilled
1.1. Recognition and respect of government and other stakeholders of IPs’ ownership of their ancestral domains. 1.2. IPs have secured and managed their ancestral domains. 1.3. IPs benefit from the use of resources for economic activities and development.
2. Cultural Integrity Promoted
2.1. The IPs can use their traditional justice system, conflict resolution institutions or peace-building processes. 2.2. IPs are capacitated to secure their rights and manage their resources.
3. Self-Governance and Empowerment Protected
3.1. IPs can determine and decide their own development and right to develop as peoples. 3.2. IPs can decide their own priorities for development affecting their lives, beliefs, institutions, spirit, well-being and the lands they own, occupy and use. 3.3. IPs are actively participating in the local, national, and other legislative and policy-making bodies.
4. Social Justice and Human Rights Promoted and Protected
4.1. The IPs Socio-Cultural, Economic, Political and such other basic Human Rights are respected and recognized. 4.2. Empowered IPs who know and exercise their rights, and fight when they are violated. 4.3. Access to basic rights such as appropriate education and health is promoted and protected 4.4. An educated healthy and working community that contributes to the sustainability of their ancestral domains thereby participating and contributing to the country’s development and poverty alleviation/reduction.
1. Policy Services
As the primary agency mandated by law to formulate and implement policies, plans and programs to promote and protect the rights and well-being of IPs and the recognition of their ancestral domains and their rights thereto, NCIP has issued policies on these matters. The following are among the guidelines, policies and joint circulars with other agencies: 1.1. Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) Guidelines 1.2. The Revised Guidelines on Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Process of 2012 1.3. Revised Omnibus Rules on Delineation and Recognition of Ancestral Domains/Lands of 2012 1.4. 2014 Revised Rules Of Procedure Before the NCIP 1.5. IRR for Sec 12 of IPRA 1.6. Merit-based Scholarship and Educational Assistance Guidelines of 2012 1.7. Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) and Customary Laws (CLs) Research and Documentation Guidelines 1.8. General Guidelines on Confirmation of Indigenous Political Structures and the Registration of Indigenous Peoples Organization 1.9. Guidelines for the Mandatory Representation of IPs in Local Legislative Councils 1.10. Joint Memorandum Circular with NCIP-DOH-DILG on the Guidelines on Delivery of Basic Health Services
2. Ancestral Domain / Land Titling Services
The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) recognizes the ownership of the IPs to their ancestral domains. That time-immemorial ownership has to be protected by the State through an instrument called Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title (CADTs). The CADTs ensure the uninterrupted exercise and enjoyment by IPs of the rights and privileges attached to collective ownership to the exclusion of others. The ancestral domain is life to the IPs. The land sustains life as it provides all the material resources that IPs need for daily living. More than life, the IP lands are also home of their ancestors and abode of the revered spirits who demand that land and nature be taken care of and be protected from abuse. As IPs relate with nature on a daily basis, the IP lands have shaped and given rise to their distinct culture including their own widely recognized indigenous biodiversity management system, nature-inspired songs, dances and other forms of art, indigenous economic system, indigenous belief system among others. Without a government-issued instrument, IPs ownership and continuous occupation of the lands they rightly own will always be infirm and uncertain. Naturally, encroachment to IP lands will continue at a faster pace and displacement of IPs will never end. With displacements come heightened poverty, sharper environmental degradation and loss of cultures. As of March 31, 2016, the Commission has already issued a total of 206 Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title covering an area of 5,110,393 hectares benefiting a total of 1,108,223 IP Right Holders.
3. Human, Economic and Environmental Development and Protection Services
The law recognizes the IPs and promotes and protect their ownership of their ancestral domains and its resources. The focus is on social and cultural dimensions of ownership. The main objectives are to allocate and develop these ancestral domains within the framework of IPs’ socio-cultural integrity, ecological balance and sustainable development and for the formulation of the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) for the utilization, protection and conservation of resources within the ancestral domain.
3.1. Ancestral Domains Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP)
The ADSDPP is a holistic, comprehensive and integrated plan that promotes a rights-based and Indigenous Knowledge systems and Practices (IKSP)-based approach to development. It reflects the present and future desired conditions of the IPs and contains the types of programs and projects that they will adopt for the sustainable management and development of their domain and community. The NCIP is tasked to assist the IPs in the preparation of their ADSDPP. This management plan shall include, but not limited to, the following: 3.1.1. The manner by which the concerned IPs shall protect their ancestral domain; 3.1.2. The development programs related to livelihood, education, infrastructure, self-governance, environment, natural resources, culture and other practical development aspects that are decoded and adopted by the IPs; 3.1.3. Community policies covering the implementation of all forms of development activities in the area; and 3.1.4. Management System, including the sharing of benefits and responsibilities among members of the concerned IPs.
3.2. Issuance of Certificate Pre-Condition (CP)
The indigenous community may authorize its members to enter into agreements with persons or entities outside the ancestral domain who desires to access their resources. However, Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the IP Community shall be obtained in accordance with their customary laws. Subsequently, a Certificate Precondition (CP) is issued by NCIP only upon compliance of the FPIC process and existing guidelines.
3.3. IP Education and Health Programs
3.3.1. The law guarantees the right of the IPs to government’s basic services which shall include education and health. Accordingly, the law mandates the NCIP to administer scholarship programs and extend other educational privileges intended for IPs in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
3.3.2.In compliance with NCIP’s mandate as provided for in Sections 28, 29, 30, 31, and 46(c); and in support of DepEd Order No. 62, 51 and 34, the NCIP initiated the CABEH-IIKSP (Culturally Adaptive Basic Education and Health-Integrating Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices) to IPs’ school curriculum. To date, there are 203 teachers, school supervisors and principals from 39 schools trained in 10 provinces benefitting 11 ethno-linguistic groups.
3.3.3. Since School Years 1999 to the present, there are 63,779 IP students benefitted in the Educational Assistance Program (EAP). Out of IPs benefitted, 26, 948 students have already graduated.
3.3.4. The IPs are vulnerable to preventable and communicable diseases. The isolation of IPs, lack or poor distribution health personnel, services and health facilities and, for some, lack of these contribute to IPs’ vulnerability.
3.3.5. IPMNCHN. The Project “Addressing Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and Nutrition Needs of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples and Other Disadvantaged Communities in Mindanao “(IPMNCHN) is intended to address existing gaps in the delivery of essential maternal, neonatal and child health and nutrition services for IPs in Mindanao. The project is planned to be scaled up in Luzon and in the Visayas areas.
3.3.6. In 2013, NCIP, DOH and DILG issued Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2013-01 or the “Guidelines on the Delivery of Basic Health Services for the Indigenous Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples”. The JMC set guidelines that address access, utilization, coverage and equity issues in the provision of health services to IPs. Culture-sensitivity is a vital ingredient in ensuring effective implementation of the JMC. To sustain the health engagement, the formulation of the Ancestral Domain Investment Plan for Health is necessary including its incorporation in the Provincial, City and Municipal Plan for Health.
3.4. Socio-Economic and Environmental Programs
3.4.1. Socio-economic programs are likewise undertaken. Micro livelihood projects were undertaken by the Commission utilizing available resources and promoting IPs’ traditional livelihood activities interfacing with modern technology. Traditional livelihood means that said activities are based on indigenous knowledge, systems and practices (IKSPs). These include handicraft projects, small-scale organic vegetable farming, raising native chicken, pigs, goats and other animals.
3.4.2. NCIP facilitates and coordinates with the appropriate government agencies IPs’ management of the environment and biodiversity in and development the ancestral domains employing the same IKSPs.
4. Indigenous Peoples Rights Protection Services
4.1. Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives In fulfillment of the right of IPs to participate fully at all levels of decision-making in matters which may affect their rights, lives and destinies and to ensure that IPs be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils, NCIP facilitates the selection of Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMR) in the Sangguniang Barangay, Sangguniang Bayan/ Panlungsod and Sangguniang Panlalawigan. 4.2. Legal Services NCIP through its Legal Affairs Office and Field Legal Officers, has three major programs: Indigenous Peoples Legal Assistance (IPLA), Paralegal Training and Documentation of Customary Laws. 4.3. Adjudication Services The Commission has jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving the rights of IPs) where settling the disputes through the use of IP customary laws fails. Cases of this nature must be brought to NCIP Commission En Banc or to its Regional Hearing Offices (RHOs). 4.4. IP Rights Advocacy and Monitoring of Treaty Obligations NCIP conducts consultations with different stakeholders on international issues affecting IPs. The Commission is also the lead agency in the reporting compliance of the Philippines to its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Operations of the Commission are funded by the General Appropriations Act (GAA). Other resources come from funding agencies such as GIZ COSERAM, UNDP, EU, CHARMP and other non-government organizations /stakeholders / partners.
IV. The Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of the Philippines
a. Indigenous Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs)
Indigenous Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples refer to “a group of people or homogeneous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others, who has continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory, and who have, under claims of ownership since time immemorial, occupied and possessed and utilized such territories, sharing common bonds of language, customs, traditions and other distinctive cultural traits, or who have, through resistance to political, social and cultural inroads of colonization, non-indigenous religions and cultures, became historically differentiated from the majority of the Filipinos.” (Sec. 3., IPRA)
Elements of ICCs/IPs are as follows:
(1) Homogeneous Communities – identified by self-ascription and ascription by others,(2)Distinct Culture – They have common language, customs, traditions and other distinct cultural traits indigenous political structures, customary laws and indigenous knowledge systems and practices (IKSPs). (3) Territories – Continuously lived in communally bounded and defined territory, who occupied, possessed and utilized such territories since time immemorial under claims of ownership. (4) Resistance to Colonization – Due to their resistance to colonization they become uniquely distinct from the majority of Filipinos.
Others add marginalization as one of the elements. Marginalization, however, is merely an effect of the lack of respect and recognition to the rights of the IPs to their territories, cultures and self-determination, but not an element. The term “indigenous peoples” is similar to the term “tribal people” although the latter term does not include the element of historical continuity in a certain area. Indigenous peoples possess the three elements of state namely: people, territory and government. In the Philippines, the indigenous peoples do not desire to secede from the Philippine state. The element of freedom from external control or sovereignty is not present. In lieu of sovereignty, Filipino indigenous peoples prefer the right to self determination. In the Philippines, there is an estimated 14 million IPs belonging to 110 ethno-linguistic groups found in different parts of the country as shown in following photo.
b. Ancestral Domains of the IPs
The ancestral domains refer to all areas belonging to IPs comprising lands, inland waters, coastal areas, and natural resources therein, held under a claim of ownership occupied or possessed by the ICCs/IPs, by themselves or through their ancestors, communally or individually since time immemorial. The ancestral domains are necessary to ensure their economic, social and cultural welfare. It shall include: (1) ancestral lands, (2) forests, (3) pasture lands, (4) residential lands, (5) agricultural lands and other lands, (6) hunting grounds, (7) burial grounds, (8) worship areas, (9) bodies of water, (10) mineral and other natural resources, and (11) lands which may no longer be exclusively occupied by IPs but from which they traditionally had access for their subsistence and traditional activities particularly the home ranges of IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators. (Sec. 3 (a), IPRA)
The ancestral domains are communally owned, private in nature but they are beyond the commerce of men. They cannot be sold or mortgaged.
c. Situationer of the IPs and the Ancestral Domains
1. Lack of Philippine Indigenous Peoples Ethnography
The number of IPs in the Philippines (14 million) remains to be an estimate.
1.1. The estimate is based on the figures gathered by the now defunct Office for the Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC) and the Office for the Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC). The specific places in the Philippines where they are found are likewise not completely documented and organized including pertinent data on the system of governance, indigenous healing system, indigenous knowledge, systems and practices, indigenous belief system and among others;
1.2. The aforesaid data are necessary as bases for policies and programs of the NCIP and other involved government agencies for the IPs. Without the data, policies and programs are either lacking or hardly appropriate and responsive; and
1.3.The lack of these data also explains the exclusion of the IPs in national policies and plans.
2. Meddling of Local Executives in the Selection Process of IPMRs and Lack Support for Installing IPMRs in the Councils
IPRA mandates the representation of the IPs in the local legislative councils through Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs).
2.1. Number of IPMRs As December 31, 2015, there are 2,707 IPMRs. There are 18 IPMRs in Sangguniang Panlalawigan, 25 in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, 258 in Sangguniang Bayan and 2406 in the Sangguniang Barangay.
2.2. There are challenges encountered in the implementation of the program. Among them are: 2.2.1. Meddling of the local executives in the selection process of the IPMRs; 2.2.2. Many IPMRs selected by the IP communities that were not allowed to sit in the local councils. 2.2.3. IPMRs needs capacity-building to be able to meaningfully participate in the legislative process in the councils.
3. Long-Drawn Processing of CADTs
The 1890 map of Ferdinand Blumentritt shows the location of the territories or ancestral domains of the IPs in the Philippines at that time. Those in color yellow represents the ancestral domains of the indigenous peoples.
Compared to the 1890 map, the ancestral domains shrunk as outsiders and non-IP settlers encroached into these lands. The map below are the locations of the ancestral domains with Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) issued by NCIP – 206 CADTs covering an area of 5,110,393 hectares (as of June 30, 2016).
Titling of the ancestral domains remains urgent in order to fulfill the right of the IPs to their ancestral domains and to protect them from further encroachment by outsiders. To date, 9,833,209 hectares more or less of ancestral domains/lands remain untitled. Total number of on-process CADT applications is 169 covering an area of 3,177,781 hectares more or less. Their locations are shown in the map below.
The identified ancestral domains that are waiting processing total to 740 covering a land area of 6,538,886 hectares more or less as represented by green color.
The total universe of the ancestral domain is 14,943,602 hectares. The following map shows where the titled, on-process and the identified ancestral domains are found.
4. Conflicts in the Ancestral Domains
Increasing conflicts in ancestral domains make IPs more vulnerable to displacements and eventual loss of their means of livelihood, culture and their indigenous knowledge, systems and practices.
4.1. The ancestral domains are also hosts to armed conflicts involving the military and the CPP/NPA/NDF. In the process, IPs are recruited by both sides and thus, pitting IPs against IPs;
4.2. Conflicts over resources 4.2.1. Conflicts between IPs and IPs over resources in the ancestral domains; 4.2.2.Conflicts between IPs and national government agencies on programs implemented inside ancestral domains (e.g. agrarian reform, energy projects, forest reserves, NIPAS Act); 4.2.3.Conflict between IPs and other entities over resources in the ancestral domains involving extractive/intrusive industries (e.g. mining, hydropower plants)
4.3. Conflicts Over Rampant Illegal “Sale” of Portions of the Ancestral Domains; and
4.4. Conflict Due to Unregulated Entry of Migrants.
5. Socio-Economic Condition of the IPs
The IPs particularly those in rural areas remain to be largely poor. As most of them live in geographically isolated areas, services of the government pertinent to the uplifting of their socio-economic conditions are inaccessible.
5.1. This is the reason why an Ancestral Domains Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) has to be formulated for every ancestral domain. The ADSDPP is the blueprint of a sustainable and culture-sensitive development for ancestral domains aimed at uplifting the economic plight of the IPs.
To date there are already 138 ADSDPPs formulated. Despite coordination by NCIP, the ADSDPPs largely remain to be unfunded plans as they were not given budget by appropriate national government agencies and local government units (LGUs).
5.2. Micro livelihood projects were undertaken by the Commission utilizing available resources and promoting IPs’ traditional livelihood activities. These include handicraft projects, smallscale organic vegetable farming, coconut farming, seaweed farming, raising native chicken, pigs, goats and other animals. The budget for these activities is, however, insufficient to achieve desired impact in the economic standing of the IP communities.
6. Education and Health
Due to distance, government education and health facilities or institutions are still largely inaccessible to IP communities resulting to IPs’ high illiteracy rate and high vulnerability to diseases.
V. Other Mandates
1. On Delineation and Titling of Ancestral Domains
The existing Joint DENR-DAR-LRA-NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2012 was approved to fill-in policy gaps. 1.1. The coordination between and among the member-agencies especially the Steering Committee in the provincial and regional levels needs to be strengthened to address the following issues and concerns: 1.1.1. Continuous issuance of Patents and CLOAs by the DENR and DAR, respectively without notice to NCIP; 1.1.2. Continuous Survey and Approval of Surveys by DAR and DENR within ancestral domain areas without notice to NCIP; 1.1.3. Review of the Joint Administrative Order.
2. Socio-Economic Programs
2.1. As the Commission has coordinative function, it has partnered with DSWD in helping IPs access Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and its implementation, monitoring and evaluation. As of October 31, 2015, a total of 568,669 (13%) households of the 4,348,275 household beneficiaries are IPs. A total of 426,678 (75%) IP household beneficiaries are from Mindanao, 8,538 (1.5%) are from Visayas and 133,453 (23.5%) household beneficiaries are from Luzon.
2.2. The Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) was likewise coordinated with the DSWD purposely for the IPs in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA). As of March 2016, there were 188,541 IP household beneficiaries.
2.3. The Commission has also partnered with the DSWD in the KCNCDDP (KALAHI CIDDS National Community Driven and Development Program) covered by a Memorandum of Agreement signed on July 14, 2015 in the implementation of the program in IP communities. The projects under this program have started. The program, however, target only specific communities.
VI. NCIP’s Strategic Direction (2016-2022)
For the period 2016-2022, NCIP sets the following programs in order to contribute to the poverty-reduction goal of the government and to fulfill its mandate to promote and protect the right of the indigenous peoples to their ancestral domains, right to cultural integrity, right to selfgovernance and empowerment; and social justice and human rights:
a. NCIP Reorganization
1. Staffing Pattern.
IPRA did not abolish the Office for the Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC) and Office for the Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC) but were merged as organic offices of the NCIP. Most of the offices and personnel of NCIP are from the Presidential Assistance on National Minorities (PANAMIN), Office of Muslim Affairs and Cultural Communities (OMACC) and ONCC/OSCC whose work and mandates were primarily oriented on delivery of social services. IPRA created NCIP whose mandate and work are rights-based.
The shift from need-based social services to rights-based framework created some gaps in terms of capacity and capability of the NCIP and its constituency. Social-welfare orientation does not match rights-based services to the indigenous peoples. Hence, the need to review the staffing pattern of the Commission to be abreast with more effective, efficient, economical and circumscribed delivery of the agency’s mandate and mission.
The IP communities need community organizers, anthropologists, and other experts in rights-based work. Likewise, ancestral domains are so rich in biodiversity, fertile land, resources, but NCIP does not have environmentalists, agriculturists, economists and other professionals in fields responsive to the situation of the ancestral domains and indigenous peoples.
2. NCIP Structure
The NCIP consists of the following offices: Office of the Chairperson / Commissioners; Office of the Executive Director; 7 Bureau Offices; 12 Regional Offices with the following units or divisions -Finance and Administrative Division -Technical Management Services Division – Regional Hearing Office; Provincial Office with no divisions/ units; and Community Service Centers with at least 3-5 personnel needing training.
The Community Service Centers (CSCs) are the front-line offices of the NCIP with direct relationship to the IP communities and ancestral domains. The 3-5 personnel at the CSCs with the assistance from the Regional and Provincial Office are responsible for the implementation of almost all mandates of the bureaus and NCIP in general.
The CSCs and Provincial Offices must be filled with competent people who have expertise to respond to the unique situations of the ancestral domains and indigenous peoples. It is at these levels that an overhaul is necessary.
There is dearth of monitoring and evaluation system and processes resulting in the delay of reports, lack of data, absence of agreed indicators and other problems encountered by the office.
1. The indispensable pre-requisite for capacity-building must reinforce the NCIP reorganization. Focus should encompass knowledge, familiarity and awareness of the situation of IP communities, ancestral domains, IPRA, resources and other inputs necessary for the fulfillment of the agency’s mandate.
2. Apart from NCIP personnel, the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs), Indigenous Political Structure and the Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) have to be capacitated as well.
2.1. The IP representation in local legislative councils is the IPs’ interface mechanism to the contemporary society. On one hand, the IPMRs should be familiar with the Local Government Code and political processes and, on the other hand, IPMRs must also be familiar with the IP agenda and IP Customary Laws and IP governance.
2.2. The Indigenous Political Structure (IPS) should, likewise, be capacitated through the establishment of centers of IP governance and reinforcement of the traditional authority to govern.
2.3. The Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) shall be strengthened by professionalizing it and shall be assisted in the recovery of the indigenous economic system.
(c) Support to IPMC, IPLC, IPVC, AND IPNC
The establishment of the Indigenous Peoples Mindanao Conference (IPMC), Indigenous Peoples Luzon Conference (IPLC), Indigenous Peoples Visayas Conference (IPVC) and Indigenous Peoples National Conference (IPNC) is a mechanism to strengthen and realize IPs’ right to self-governance and self-determination. The conferences are comprised of 206 CADT rights holders all over the country. The number will increase as NCIP is still on the process of issuing 200 plus CADTs. The conferences shall be conducted as fora where IPs in all CADT areas can express their views and propose actions on the issues and concerns affecting their lives and culture.
(d) IP Peace Agenda
1. Foundation Principle
IPs today are the descendants of those who came first to the islands now called Philippines about 7000 years ago. They have their government systems, processes, laws and territories.
2. Peace Negotiation Panel
IP should be part of the Peace Negotiation Panel as third party being the most affected sector in the conflict between the CPP/NPA/NDF and the Armed Forces of the Government of the Philippines. Indigenous Peoples National Conference shall form an IP peace panel as third party to bring the following IP agenda:
2.1. IPs and ancestral domains should be respected;
2.2. Rights to self-governance and self-determination should be recognized and IP representation should not be placed under CPP/NPA/NDF and GOP;
2.3. Support for the IKSP-Based Social Engineering towards People Empowerment Addressing Conflict and Emergencies (IKSP-SET: PEACE) under which are the following programs are entrenched: Establishment of IP Centers of Governance within the ancestral domains per IP group; 2.3.2. Cessation of intimidation by armed groups and forced recruitment of IPs into the CPP/NPA/NDF and AFP as combatants. Instead, IPs should be assisted financially and technologically to develop their respective ancestral domains; 2.3.3. Assistance to IPs’ formation towards becoming responsible citizens contributing to nation building; and 2.3.4. Re-establishing the indigenous economic system.
(e) IP Master Plan
This is a consolidation of programs and projects of the 206 CADTs as reflected in the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plans (ADSDPPs).
It is a documented expression or translation of the IPs’ hopes, interest and aspiration as basis for the NCIP’s programs, projects and activities.
This program was conceptualized and proposed in the previous administration with an estimated amount of 4.4 billion pesos. About 207 million is already allocated for Fiscal Year 2017 start-up activities. This PIPES consist of the following components: IP Census in partnership with PSA; Delineation of all ancestral domains; Formulation of ADSDDPs; and Data collection on ethnography which includes the following: languages, customs, traditions, other distinctive cultural traits; indigenous political system, social life, indigenous belief system, economy and other variables of indigeneity.
VII. Policy Proposals for the Administration
To successfully implement the programs of NCIP as laid down in its strategic directions for 2016-2022 and to fulfill its mandate to promote and protect the right of the indigenous peoples to their ancestral domains, right to cultural integrity, right to self-governance and empowerment; and right to social justice and human rights, NCIP proposes the following needed policies:
(1) The promulgation of an Executive Order authorizing NCIP to reorganize its offices to be more effective and responsive to the current needs of the indigenous cultural communities;
(2) The issuance of an Executive Order authorizing NCIP to conduct a national IP census as a component of the Philippine Indigenous Peoples Ethnographies (PIPEs); and
(3) The inclusion of the Indigenous Peoples in the Peace Negotiation Panel.