Jul 11, 2020

Recognize IPRA law, IP leaders appeal

The appeal was made during the Regional Action Planning Workshop at the Western Philippines University (WPU) conducted by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

File photo courtesy of Provincial Information Office.

Indigenous peoples (IP) in Palawan appealed to the government Wednesday to step up its support to them and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) to wean them away from joining the New People’s Army ((NPA).

The appeal was made during the Regional Action Planning Workshop at the Western Philippines University (WPU) conducted by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Quezon municipality IP mandatory representative Mike Marcelo noted that there are many provisions of the IPRA law that are not being strictly followed, including the conduct of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) before the approval of any project within their ancestral domain.

He said it is one of the problems being faced by IP communities that become vulnerable targets for recruitment by the New People’s Army (NPA).

“May mga proyekto na hindi nakukuhanan ng malinaw na pagkilala ang mga katutubo. ‘Yan ang kung saan doon ang tingin ko kung bakit madaling makuha ang mga kasamahan natin na mga katutubo ng rebelde. Bilang isang may-ari ng lupa, may mga makikita tayo na bigla na lang may istraktura na itatayo dyan tapos sasabihin ng mga rebelde na hindi kinikilala ng gobyerno ang karapatan niyo kaya ang iba sa amin ay talagang nadadala nila,” he said.

Mareclo also said that discrimination persists against the IPs, such as in the delivery of basic services.

He said this should be addressed and the problem in the proper conduct of the FPIC to prevent them from taking arms against the government by joining the NPA.

“Sana maiparamdam sa mga katutubo ang gobyerno na kahit gaano kalayo at liblib, sana pakinggan natin ang direksyon ng batas sa hanay ng katutubong pamayanan. Naniniwala ako na kapag masunod natin ang FPIC ay wala na pong pagdududa sa gobyerno. Tingin ko ‘yong dalawa lang naman na ito [walang FPIC at discrimination sa mga katutubo] ay wala ng sasama sa mga rebelde,” he said.

 

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