Addressing IP concerns is one of the cornerstones of regional development for the plan period 2004-2010. Firm commitments from both the national and regional levels have been made to address IP concerns. The IPRA Law or Indigenous Peoples Rights Act was passed in 1997 which paved the way for the recognition, protection, and promotion of the IPs in the country. In 2003, the Medium Term Philippine Development for Indigenous Peoples 2004-2008 was prepared which manifested the government’s strong commitment to the welfare of the IPs. At the regional level, IP concerns were integrated in development activities at all levels of governance. Attaining CULTURAL INTEGRITY was made one of the development goals of the CAR-RDP and ICK was likewise made a key focus area, a basic requisite for regional development in the Cordilleras. The goal of the IP plan is to integrate indigenous knowledge, systems and practices (IKSPs) to enrich and hasten the development of the region. It capitalizes on enhancing the development of IPs thru the recognition and respect of the basic IP rights as embodied in the IPRA law.
From 2004 to 2007, significant accomplishments were made towards addressing IP concerns, most of which were on policy measures and issuances to wit:
- Harmonization meetings and MOAs among NCIP, DENR, LGUs and other stakeholders regarding overlaps in land-related laws and issuances. This is to facilitate the issuance of ancestral land tenures such as the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) and Certificate of Land Titles (CALTs).
- Resolutions implementing the IPRA particularly on: 1) judicious enforcement of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process whereby resolution of support from LGUs were received; 2) ensuring that IPs will not only be passive beneficiaries of development but as partners of development; 3) securing the interest of the IPs/ICCs in the move for constitutional changes and the shift from a presidential form of government to a federal system.
- Several consultations on the need to resurrect the constitutional provision on autonomy if only to serve as a lobbying point in securing the interest of the IPs/ICCS in the proposed changes in the government structure. Whenever and wherever possible, regional autonomy shall incorporate IPRA provisions.
- A resolution to facilitate the integration of the ADSDPPs with existing LGU plans/CLUPs. This is to ensure that 1) LGU development funds support the implementation of ADSDPP programs and projects; 2) HLURB incorporate IPRA and ADSDPP requirements in local planning guidelines; and 3) an IP commissioner be allotted a slot in the HLURB board.
- Declaration of the month of October of every year as the regional Indigenous Peoples month in the Cordillera region
Minimal actual project accomplishments, however, can be noted in other areas of significant concerns among the IPS and ICCs especially in the 1) issuance of CADTs and CALTs, 2) preparation of ADSDPPs, 3) issuance of FPIC, and 4) mainstreaming and utilization of IKSPs to hasten regional development.
As of 2007, NCIP estimated the total land area covering the ancestral domains (ADs) in the region at 1,512,477 hectares or 84 % of the total land area of CAR. Of the total domain areas, 62 ancestral domains and 48 ‘bugis’ are eligible for CADT applications for a total of 110 ADs.
So far, only five CADTs were awarded representing a 4.5 percent accomplishment. Of the total 110 ancestral domains and “bugis” that were initially delineated, only 15 ADSDPPs or 13.5 percent have been prepared. In terms of CALTs, 118 had been issued.
The sluggish issuance of CADT and CALTs and the long and rigorous ADSDPP formulation and FPIC processing were the major frustrations among the local chief executives and the people in general. Results of the series of harmonization meetings regarding overlaps in land related laws and issuances should now be in place to fast track CADT/CALT processing. Manuals of operation detailing the need for, applicability of and the step by step procedures in the ADSDPP formulation and the FPIC process have yet to be installed. Measures to document IKSPs to hasten development in the region and to incorporate/mainstream these in school curricula have not been started.
During the remainder of the plan period 2008-2010, the IP plan framework shall be pursued, however, priorities shall be given to IP concerns with immediate and significant impacts:
* Support the move for the resurgence of regional autonomy on the context that autonomy shall consider the provisions of IPRA;
- Need to work out the inclusion of IPs and ICCs in CAR in pursuing affirmative actions of government. This involves not only the just completion of the peace process but also ensuring: 1) the region’s fair share in natural resource benefits; 2) a partnership code on corporate ownership and responsibility between the affected IP/ICC areas on any development project; and 3)strict and judicious enforcement of the FPIC process;
- Push for the approval and immediate implementation of memorandum of agreements among NCIP, DENR, and other stakeholders to facilitate the issuance of CADTs and CALTs;
- Prepare and disseminate the manual of operations detailing the step by step procedures in the ADSDPP formulation and the FPIC process; and
- Recognize and protect traditional structures and systems of governance within the tribes especially in conflict resolution.
3.3.4 Programs and Projects
Intensified CADT/CALT processing program. This includes the immediate implementation of agreements among concerned agencies to facilitate the issuance of CADTs and CALTs. It also involves issuance of the implementing guidelines of section 12 of the IPRA.
Policy Development Program for IPs/ICCs in CAR. This is a package of policy implementation mechanisms to put into operation affirmative actions for IPS/ICCs in CAR.
Preservation and Promotion of Cultural Heritage Program. This includes specific researches that: 1) documents Cordillera IKSPs to facilitate development in the region; 2) researches on natural resource pricing and valuation; and 3) evaluation of the IPRA implementation as an input to the autonomy framework.
Self-Governance Development Program. This covers specific PPAs that secure the interest of IPs/ICCs in CAR to wit: 1) support to regional autonomy that considers IPRA provisions; 2) strengthening IP institutions and leadership in governance; and 3) recognizing traditional structures and systems of governance within tribes.
Promotion of Peace, Social Justice and Protection of IP Human Rights Program. This program will tackle PAPs on the strict enforcement of the FPIC and IPR process, respect and enhancement of tribal-based peace process; and, mechanisms to make IPs as partners and not merely beneficiaries of development programs and projects.