City officials recently expressed support of the city government to the mounting opposition of the indigenous peoples (IPs) of the city through its indigenous political structures and other related associations and organizations to House Bill (HB) 9608 introduced by Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo through manifesto of support for the National
Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) or a signature campaign opposing the said proposed bill furnished
afterwards to the said body.

Under Resolution No. 159, series of 2024, local legislators stated that the city’s IPs, the birthplace of native title, are
urged to manifest their support for NCIP by rejecting and expressing their opposition to HB 9608. The said bill introduced by Rep. Romualdo seeks to rationalize the ancestral land administration and adjudication process by
realigning and reorganizing the department and functions of the NCIP and amending Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997.

Under the said bill, the Ancestral Domain Office under the NCIP will be transferred to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and be renamed as the Ancestral Land Registration and Administration Office (ALRAO) and that an Ancestral Lands and Adjudication Board (ALAAB) under the
Executive Secretary of the Office of the President will be created to settle disputes concerning ancestral lands and domains administration and adjudication.

The council claimed that the NCIP is directly under the Office of the President and the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs to recognize, protect, and promote the rights of indigenous in the country. The body pointed out that the proposed bill will remove major functions of NCIP specifically on ancestral domains and ancestral lands and will leave the agency with only a handful of rules virtually rendering the agency useless.

Furthermore, the said bill is reportedly inimical to the interest and welfare of the IPs as the NCIP has been created and its employees trained and qualified to carry out the constitutionally granted promotion and protection of rights of the IPs within the framework of national unity and development. Copies of the approved resolution will be
transmitted to the House of Representatives for information, guidance, ready reference and further needed action.

Dexter A. See/Baguio-PIO

Amianan Balita Ngayon