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PIA Press Release

NCIP harmonizes IPRA with national and related laws

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (20 October) -- The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) is in the process of harmonizing the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act(IPRA) with the national laws and policies implemented by other agencies in resolving conflicting provisions for land titling.

NCIP Regional Director Amador Batay-an said NCIP is in the process of harmonizing particularly Section 12 of the IPRA where Indigenous Peoples (IPs) are given option to have their lands titled under Commonwealth Act 141 or the so called Public Land Act or under the Land Registration Act 496 otherwise known as the judicial confirmation of imperfect title. Both processes are undertaken by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Batay-an said the third option of titling would be under the NCIP through the issuance of a certificate of land title.

NCIP forwarded the draft proposal or the guidelines in the implementation of Section 12 to higher authorities in Manila for consideration. Batay-an said DENR-CAR and NCIP came into some agreement as to processes or guidelines to follow. But the final decision would be between the leadership of DENR and NCIP, he explained.

Batay-an said the proposal precedes from the concept that the land being applied for is ancestral land therefore the determination of whether the land is ancestral land and whether the applicant is a bonafide member of the IP community will be in the hands of the NCIP. DENR's role is for the technical delineation of the subject land.

Should the applicant opt for land titling under RA141 then a patent title would be issued. If through the judicial procedure under RA 496, this would be determined through regular court hearings or judicial confirmation process, Batay-an added.

In this case the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will no longer be included in the processing in as far as IP areas are concerned. The subject land is ancestral land therefore the determination of which is within the authority of NCIP, Batay-an stressed. The power of issuing Certificate of Land Ownership Award of DAR is now strapped as DAR is mandated to perform land reform programs to give land to the landless.

Meanwhile, Batay-an said NCIP will be under the supervision and control of DAR based on a Supreme Court decision last month affirming the constitutionality of the order.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier issued a directive attaching NCIP to DAR.

Under the setup, NCIP budget will have to be channeled to DAR. According to Batay-an, he does not see any problem at the regional level in accessing funds from DAR. NCIP's apprehension is the allocation of funds for delineating and titling of funds as there are legal impediments in realigning funds for a particular budget. But for other activities and operational activities of the office NCIP can make proposals for that, he said.

Moreover, Batay-an said the Regional Development Council endorsed for the extension of the DAR. He opined that the CARP may lapse but as far as social services component is concerned, the DAR will still be there to sustain the program. Not unless with the lapse of the CARP through a natural death so that the functions may be devolved. (PIA) [top]

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