May 23, 2024

The Baguio City Council is rallying behind the indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities in the city in their opposition to House Bill 9608.

Introduced by Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, House Bill 9608 seeks to reorganize the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and amend Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997.

Among its provisions, the bill proposed renaming and transferring the Ancestral Domains Office from NCIP to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and renaming it to  Ancestral Land Registration and Administration Office; and creating the Ancestral Lands Administration and Adjudication Board under the Office of the Executive Secretary.

The council resolution states that the proposed changes outlined in the bill will significantly reduce the functions of the NCIP, rendering it ineffective in fulfilling its mandate.

The resolution also emphasizes that the bill could have detrimental effects on the interests and welfare of the IPs and ICCs.

Baguio Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Maximo Hilario Edwin Jr. who authored the resolution said the NCIP plays an essential role in protecting and promoting the rights of the IP communities, and any changes that weaken its functions could jeopardize their right within the framework of national unity and development. – SP PIO