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IPs : "Hear our voice, recognize our rights"

PILI, Camarines Sur (PIA)—“Gusto po namin na ma rekognisa na kami po ay katuwang sa pagbuo ng ating bansa. Nais po naming mga katutubo, higit lalo kaming mga katutubong kabataan na i-respeto an aming karapatan na nasa ilalim ng batas. Gusto naming mabigyan ng ngipin ang mga batas na ito… Pakinggan ng lahat na may batas para sa aming mga katutubo,” an emotional Bae Anna Jessa Mae Crisostomo, Musim Indigenous People Youth Organization (MIPYO) Spokesperson said in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency-Camarines Sur. 

Bae Anna was one of the speakers during the recently concluded National Commission on Indigenous Peoples’ (NCIP) confab held September 26 to 27, at the LRV Atrium, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA), San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur. 

Some 150 members of various Indigenous Peoples (IPs) groups attended the NCIP's activity dubbed “Healing, Reconciliation and Operationalizing the 11 Building blocks in the Ancestral Domain in Support to the Whole of Government and Whole of Nation approach by Empowering the Former Rebels (FRs), IP Youth/IP-EPS and IP leaders. ”  

The activity aimed to level off the understanding of all its stakeholders and partners regarding the importance the 11 Building blocks in the life of various ethnic groups as they push for a more empowered and relevant IP community. 

Bae Anna Jessa Mae Crisostomo, Musim Indigenous People Youth Organization (MIPYO) Spokesperson delivers her lecture on CTG's 17 major atrocities against the IPs during the IP summit held Sept. 26 and 27, 2022 at CBSUA Atrium, CBSUA, San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur. "Sobrang masakit, yong pangarap ko lang naman bilang isang kabataang katutubo, is yong mamuhay kami ng maganda, ero ang pangarap na simple na yon ay hindi totally naibigay sa amin dahil andon yong presensya ng NPA, at iba pang organisasyon na nagbigay ng problema sa aming mga katuttubo ," Bae Ana said. (JRM PIA5/Camarines Sur)

The inter-agency summit cum workshop was participated by Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) from all over the region. It aims to create and strengthen various support groups composed of different government agencies in order to realize the operationalization and institutionalization of the 11 Building Blocks as it will help the IPs, not just in the region but in other parts of the country as well.

Clamor for Peace, Unity 

At 26, Bae Anna, who belongs to the Obo Manobo tribe that inhabits the island of Mindanao, bears the burden of finding peace for her people and carries through the task of uniting their leaders and elders after they received conflicting doctrines from the CTGs.  

“Our leaders and elders are divided, sana magkaisa sila. Sana ang mga organisasyon ng mga komunista, wag na kaming galawin pa. Kung may problema kami, kami mismo ang lulutas. Kasi ang ginagawa nila ngayon, sinisiraan ang mga katutubo, ang NCIP,” Bae Anna said.  

As the lead agency in materializing the IPs long-time dream, NCIP's mandate is to protect and promote the interest and well-being of IPs, including their beliefs, customs, tradition and institutions.  

In their shoulders lies the responsibilities of ensuring that the four (4) bundles of rights- the rights to ancestral domain, cultural integrity, social justice and human rights, and the right to self-governance and empowerment are enjoyed by the IPs. 

NCIP 5 Regional Director Agosto "Totoy" B. Maglunsod said the government’s Whole of Nation Approach is one of the answers in bringing back the harmony among the IP leaders, elders and youth. 

 “We have the backings of the Philippine Army, our PNP, the local government units and other government agencies especially in areas where our IPs are being forced to sell their ancestral domain. Vulnerable ang mga tribo kasi nasa malalayo sila kaya. Kay asana ang aktibidad na ito ay maging simula ng mas matatag na samahan at pagtutulungan para sa ikauunlad nang ating mga Indigenous Peoples at ng ating Bayan,” Maglungsod stated. 

The 11 Building Blocks

The Agta, Kabihug/Maninde, Agta-Tabangnon and the Agta-Cimaron are different IPs in Bicol who, like any other tribes in the country, have their heart set on recognition and respect.  

The 11 Building Blocks consists of the following; (1) confirmation of the IPs; (2) registration and accreditation of Indigenous People Organizations (IPO); (3) Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) Delineation process; (4) Establishment of Ancestral Domain Management Office (ADMO); (5) Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) formulation; (6) IP Wealth Management-Community Resource Management Development Plan (CRMDP) Formulation; (7) Institutionalization of Certificate of Precondition (CP), Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and Exercise of Priority Rights (EPR); (8) Effective Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) in the local legislative bodies; (9) Efficient and enhanced MOA/MOU/MOC formulation; (10) Socio-economic activities with IP cooperatives; and (11) Ancestral Domain Defense System. 

NCIP Director Rey Dingal, Office of the Empowerment and Human Rights said strengthening these building blocks will facilitate the healing of the scars caused by divisiveness and will lead to reconciliation towards the attainment of the recognition of the IPs rights.


Collaboration of Agencies

Aside from the NCIP, the Philippine Army also plays a crucial role in assuring that the IPs are free from fear or intimidation from the CTGs. 

Photo: JRM- PIA5/Camarines Sur)
“Gusto natin na magkaroon ng leveling off with all government agencies para maintegrate at ma-mainstream tungkol sa 11 Building Blocks. Ito yung mga dapat na gawain na meron sa bawat ancestral domain. Pag itong mga programang ito, components na ito ay maitatag sa loob ng ancestral domain, ang mga katutubo natin ay magiging resilient, responsive at relevant,” NCIP Director Rey Dingal, Office of the Empowerment and Human Rights said.

9th Infantry Assistant Division Commander BGen Jaime A. Abawag Jr. said that the army in Bicol fully supports the NCIP in their programs with other government agencies under The Whole of Nation and Whole of Government Approach. 

“We continue to conduct our Community Support program para maprotektahan mga kapatid nating katutubo, especially yong mga nasa ancestral domains. May mga area tayo na binabantayan ng mga Army, gaya dyan sa Capalonga at Labo sa Camarines Norte, may tropa din tayo sa sa Iriga, Buhi, at Baao. Meron tayong 83rd IB and 81st IBpara mag alaga sa seguridad ng ating mga kababayang katutubo,” the Army official said. 

Pili Mayor Tom Bongalonta stated that the local government unit has been supporting the cause and ensuring the welfare of the IPs in Barangays Tinangis and Curry. 

“There is no discrimination of IPs here in Pili, we give them special attention here in Pili. Nag pa party kami pag may mga okasyon. The LGU built a day-care center, elementary school then High School near them so that they can study. We also hired professional heads and teachers na syang nangangasiwa ng mga paaralan to ensure na maganda ang edukasyon na natatanggap ng ating mga IPs sa bayan ng Pili,” Mayor Bongalonta said. 

NCIP Camarines Sur Provincial Head Agnes M. Salvino confirmed Mayor Bongalonta’s statement and said they fully recognized the invaluable assistance by the LGU.

Pili Mayor Tomas Bongalonta expressed his full support to the programs of the NCIP for the IPs, especially those who are now settled in Brgys. Curry and Tinangis. (JRM-PIA5/Camarines Sur)

 “Sa Pili po dalawa ang organized communities, sa Curry at sa Tinangis. As to the support being given by LGU Pili, very well recognized po ng NCIP. May IPs mandatory representative din na nakaupo sa barangay council,” Salvino added. 

There are 135,000 IPs in the Bicol region, 28,000 of these are in Camarines Sur.

IP Youth’s clamor for peace and space away from the CTGs

For Bae Anna, activities like the recently concluded confab was significant to them as it opened their minds to the atrocities and deception of CTGs. 

“Ginamit nila ang mga katutubo, 53 years na rin nilang hindi nirespeto ang aming karapatan bilang isang katutubo kaya ayaw na po namin na maulit ulit. Ayaw namin na marami pang kabataan, marami pang elders na mamatay, at ayaw rin namin na yung mga naranasan namin ay maranasan ng mga susunod pang henerasyon,” the MIYO spokesperson added. 

Bae Anna said that what her heart desired was to preserve and protect their ancestral domain, their belief and the IPs beautiful culture. 

"Nandito po ang NCIP, PNP, Army,  NTF-ELCAC kasama lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno –isang malaking pasasalamat namin sa gobyerbo. Minsan lang kami nabigyan ng pagkakataon na magsalita, marinig ang hinaing naming mga katutubo against the CTG. Salamat sa aming Chairperson ng NCIP/NTF-ELCAC Chairperson na si Sec. Allen A. Capuyan," Bae Anna said in closing.   (PIA5/Camarines Sur)

About the Author

Ana-liza Macatangay

Regional Editor

Region 5

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