Mindanao groups welcome P1,000 budget for NCIP
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Some church-based and indigenous peoples’ (IP) groups in Mindanao welcomed the House of Representatives’ approval of a P1,000 budget for the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for 2018 because of the agency’s supposed failure to look after the plight of “lumad” despite its huge budget in previous years.
The Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region, in separate statements, said the NCIP had made life difficult for lumad by becoming a “tool for oppression.”
“It is utterly detestable for us, indigenous peoples, that the NCIP is continually being funded by people’s money when it is being used to oppress the indigenous peoples,” said Jerome Succor Aba, Sandugo spokesperson.
“We would be bothered (by the budget cut) if the work of the NCIP has been beneficial to our communities,” said Ailene Villarosa, RMP-NMR advocacy coordinator.
Lawyer Pinky Grace Pabelic, NCIP Northern Mindanao director, said it was up to NCIP Chair Leonor Quintayo to make the necessary move to ensure that the P1.13-billion proposed budget for the agency would be approved.
Villarosa said it was better for the government to “re-channel” the NCIP budget to projects that would respect the IPs’ right to their lands and to self-determination, and those that would “reenergize their traditional practices and culture.”
These groups had called for the abolition of the NCIP and the scrapping of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8371). —Jigger Jerusalem
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