ASEC Isabelita Moncano-Somozo of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary informed the participants of the Luzon Indigenous People’s Convergence meeting that the President has directed the formulation of a roadmap to develop all ancestral domains for the benefit of indigenous peoples. During the convergence meeting which was conducted on April 10, 2018 in Baguio City, the ASEC shared the President’s belief that the lack of development of vast ancestral domains results to the continued impoverishment of indigenous peoples (IPs), thereby luring them to insurgency.
Aside from ASEC Somozo, conveners of the meeting included Chairperson Rubuen Dalisay Lingating of the IP Peace Panel, NCIP Executive Director Rogelio Francisco Bantayan, and Ethnographic Commissioner for CAR and Region 1 Atty. Basilio Wandag. Commissioner Wandag revealed that the President is set to sign an Executive Order that will adopt the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) as the administration’s peace and development strategy. The roadmap shall be finalized during a Luzon IP Convergence Summit tentatively scheduled on April 23-25, 2018.
The NCIP was directed to work out a consultative scheme in which line agencies shall be asked to commit funding for priority programs listed in the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plans (ADSDPPs) prior to the conduct of regional budget hearings. On the other hand, line agencies were requested to relax their requirements for projects benefiting IPs.
The President’s affirmative action on IP convergence stands to immensely benefit the Cordillera Region which is predominantly covered by ancestral domains. However, the region’s ADSDPPs have to be updated to ensure that Cordillera IPs get a fair share of programs and projects under the President’s IP Convergence Strategy.