IPs in Mindanao seek separation from OPAPP
by DE Doguiles
Korondal City (8 September) -- Leaders of Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao are appealing to President Benigno Aquino III to remove them from the control of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
Bai Pacita Panis, chairperson of the Tribal Communities Association of the Philippines (TRICAP), said that their group is requesting the chief executive to declare the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as an independent commission and remove it from the authority of the OPAPP, being headed by Secretary Teresita Deles.
Republic Act 8371 (otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Act of 1997) provides that NCIP is an independent body but the Arroyo administration placed it under the Anti-Poverty Commission, also chaired by Deles.
She also said that IPs are considered a marginalized sector while the NCIP was created to represent the voice of the indigenous peoples, including those in Mindanao.
"IF NCIP remains under the OPAPP, NCIP cannot fully represent the IPs," she added.
TRICAP also requests the president that a commissioner be appointed from among the IP leaders. (PIA 12) [top]