IP group seeks house seat
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (11 November) -- Thirty-seven tribal assemblies of indigenous people in Mindanao convened yesterday at the Davao Convention Center to launch Abante Tribung Makabansa (ATM), the first IP group to seek house representation.
These assemblies represent the 18 major ethnographic tribes with 33 sub-tribes and inhabiting 57 cluster IP communities all over Mindanao.
Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Jesus Dureza expressed support to the group's intention for seeking representation in the lower house.
"We welcome the unity shown by our lumad brothers and sisters for they are only fighting to have a voice in national governance. I support them in making their advocacy strong," Dureza said.
The event was also attended by National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Commissioner Eugenio Insigne who bared that the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development Plan could hardly materialize as planned without sufficient budget from the government.
This pushed the said sector to aim for a house representation aiming to gather enough funding for the implementation of the development plan.
"The NCIP is supposed to operate needing P1.2 billion budget but we were only given P600 million last year, that includes our operational expenses," he said.
Insigne stressed that such amount could not jumpstart planned activities and programs listed in the development plan.
He also admitted that nobody from the Congress speaks for the IP community.
Aiming for a house seat through Party List election was then pushed for the assurance of IP rights and welfare advocated in the Philippine Congress. (PIA XI) [top]