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PIA Press Release
2010/03/05

NCIP initiates advocacy on RA 8371 to IP stakeholders

Manila (5 March) -- The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) conducted an Advocacy on Republic Act 8371 (RA 8371) to the members and leaders of the Subanen tribes from the Municipalities of Kumalarang and Lakewood.

The activity was held at the Bulwagan ng Kabataan, Provincial Government Center last March 2, 2010.

NCIP Regional Director Abdul Puengan explained on the rights of the IPs in the region, which is declared under RA 8371 signed into law in 1997 by then President Fidel Ramos.

"Kining atong gihimo karon usa kini siya sa mga panlantaw ug pangandoy sa atong opisina nga mao mag-una isip lead advocate sa pagpalapnag sa matinud-anon nga paglig-on kaninyo sa inyong kinatibuk-ang pagkatawo isip usa ka IP diin aron kamo maila, ma-respeto, ug i-promote ang kinatibuk-ang paghiusa sa atong nasod," he said to the estimate 165 IPs.

RA 8371

Republic Act 8371, also known as The Indigenous Peoples Act of 1997, "recognizes, protects, and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples, creating a national commission on indigenous peoples, establishing implementing mechanisms, appropriating funds?"

According to RA 8371, the rights of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) are protected to "ensure their economic, social and cultural well being." Their cultures, traditions and institutions are also preserved and developed and their rights are considered in the creation of national laws and policies.

On the other hand, the NCIP is the primary agency of the government that "formulates and implements policies, plans and programs for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and well-being of IPs and recognition of their ancestral domains and rights."

As stated in Chapter VII, Section 39, of RA 8371, the NCIP shall "protect and promote the interest and well-being of ICCs/IPs with due regard to their beliefs, customs, traditions and institutions."

Puengan explained to the participants the goals that NCIP wants to achieve for the IPs in Region 9, particularly in alleviating poverty among them.

He said that there are already 110 tribes existing in the Philippines. The ICCs/IPs are already 14 million in population.

In Region 9, the IPs already have a population of 800,000, with the Subanens dominating and are spread across the entire Zamboanga Peninsula.

Among the goals mentioned was the recognition, protection and promotion of the rights of the ICCs/IPs in the region.

"Puhon gilantaw sa among opisina nga ang tanang mga tribo sa kinatibuk-ang Pilipinas nga paga-ilhon na gayod ang ilang mga katungod, protektahan ug kini mapalambo pa, ug mao kini ang ilang kinatibuk-an nga gustong makab-ot alang sa mga indigenous people," he said. (pgo-zds/pia9) [top]

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