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I Will Push for the Implementation of IP Representation in LGU Councils — Loren

September 18, 2011

TAGUM CITY — THE CHAIR OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON CULTURAL COMMUNITIES AND COMMITTEE ON CLIMATE CHANGE SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA ASSURED THE INDIGENOUS CULTURAL COMMUNITIES THAT SHE WOULD USE HER AUTHORITY IN THE SENATE TO CHECK ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROVISION OF REPUBLIC ACT 8371 OR THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ACT (IPRA) THAT REQUIRES LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS (LGUS) TO APPOINT REPRESENTATIVES OF INDIGENOUS CULTURAL COMMUNITIES IN POLICY-MAKING BODIES AND LEGISLATIVE COUNCILS.
In a press conference during the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Assembly held at the Provincial Capitol of Davao del Norte here on Friday (September 16), Legarda said her focus as of the moment is in the implementation of that provision of the IPRA law.
“Let’s just endeavor to implement the law as it is now and encourage the LGUs to implement it,” Legarda said.
According to Section 16 of the IPRA Law, “the State shall ensure that the ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils.”
Legarda noted that just recently, the Department of Interior and Local Government issued Memorandum Circular 2010-119, which requires all LGUs to appoint representative of IPs in policy-making bodies and legislative councils, in furtherance of the provision of the IPRA law.
Legarda said that while it is true that we still have a lot to do, we have to give the laws we crafted a chance to be fully implemented before creating new ones.
NCIP figures reveal that there are at least 104 IP leaders who have already assumed their posts as members of Sangguniang Barangay (98), Sangguniang Bayan (4), Sangguniang Panlalawigan (1) and SangguniangPanglungsod (1).
“I have noted that the government has taken steps towards the implementation of the provisions of the IPRA through a recent directive, so all we have to do as of the moment is to check on the compliance of the LGUs,” Legarda said.
The Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Assembly is the second of a series of consultations with the country’s indigenous cultural communities which will culminate with the National Indigenous Peoples’ Summit to be held on October 13-14.
Last September 9-10, the Luzon Indigenous Peoples’ Summit was held in Baguio City; and next week, the Visayas Indigenous Peoples’ Summit will be held at the Provincial Capitol of Iloilo in Iloilo City.
These consultations with the country’s indigenous peoples’ aim to seek the perspectives of various IP leaders and identify appropriate measures to address their identified concerns.