June 23, 2024

The Cordillera performed well in its goal of ensuring cultural integrity and identity with the continuous work in promoting indigenous peoples’ rights.
Regional Deve-lopment Council Vice Chair and NEDA Regional Director Milagros Rimando emphasized the importance of sustaining the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in the region’s development process, citing the lesson from the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in 2019 which involved the provinces of Kalinga and Cayagan in Region 2.
Problems in implementation resulted to the passage of an RDC resolution requesting for the Cordillera to participate in the FPIC process and public consultations for projects involving the region and other resource regions.
Rimando said this will be observed in the ongoing Ilocos Norte-Ilocos Sur Agricultural Irrigation Project, which covers Abra and Region 1 provinces.
Michael Umaming of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples said “the best way to protect the IPs is to respect their right to the FPIC process. “Kailangan palakasin ito to respond to projects such as extractive industries that will change the landscape,” he said.
The region also completed 60 Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plans (ADSDPPs) and updated at least 26 plans to date, out of the total 148 ADSDPP target for the entire region.
Rimando said these plans should be completed if “we are serious in using the ADSDPPs as the basic basis for regional planning.”
These plans highlight the importance of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSPs) that are unique to each of the indigenous groups in the region. The adoption of these in local development plans and policies recognizes the rights of IPs to chart the development that they want.
Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns Committee Co-chair and RDC Private Sector Representative Ryan Mangusan reported the increasing number of documented IKSPs and customary laws.
RDC Chair and Abra Gov. Joy Bernos also backed the recognition of the rights and culture of IPs, emphasizing that the Cordillera people’s resilience in the current health crisis is attributed to their unique cultural practice of binnadang or helping and looking out for each other. – Press release