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NCIP chief to probe IPRA law non-compliance of LGUs

September 25, 2020 - Friday 4:09 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image National Commission on Indigenous Peoples chairperson Allen Capuyan

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur – National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) chairperson Allen Capuyan said they will look into local government units (LGUs) that have not allotted a seat in the legislative body to Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR).

Capuyan, who also heads the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), said Thursday he will coordinate with Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to investigate the non-compliance with the IPMR requirement, in violation of Republic Act 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA).

Capuyan visited around 20 Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) in the region since Monday to for a series of consultations with the tribal elders and determine the issues faced by the IP communities.

In Dumingag town, Mayor Joan Pacalioga-Abajuela said they did not place an IPMR for fear that it will trigger a conflict among IP groups and tribal clans in the municipality.

Capuyan said Abajuela's explanation has often been used by other local chief executives around the country that have sizable IP communities.

However, the NCIP official said any reasoning does not negate the requirement imposed by the law.

“Once we explain to them thoroughly of the mandate, they understand” that there is the need to name an IPMR, he added.

Capuyan noted that Section 16 of the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) recognizes the right of IP communities “to participate fully, should they choose, at all levels of decision-making in matters which may affect their rights, lives and destinies.

Lawyer Pinky Grace Pareja, NCIP-Region 9 director, said only 13 towns of the 26 municipalities and one city in Zamboanga del Sur have IPMRs.

No IPMR sits in the provincial board.

In contrast, Pareja said Zamboanga del Norte has 14 local IPMRs and an IPMR sits in the provincial board.

She said all 16 towns as well as the province of Zamboanga Sibugay have their own IPMRs. Leah Agonoy