NCIP budget deliberations deferred due to chief’s ‘red-tagging’
MANILA, Philippines – The House Committee on Appropriations terminated on Tuesday its deliberations on the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and its attached agencies – except for the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP).
Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas made the motion to defer the debate on the P1.39-billion budget of the NCIP.
She argued that the NCIP chair, Allen Capuyan, had been vilifying indigenous peoples and progressive groups in contradiction with his agency’s objective.
Capuyan faces off with Manuel
This development stemmed from Capuyan’s earlier face-off with Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel after the latter grilled an NCIP statement posted last Aug. 9, the International Day of the World’s IPs.
According to Manuel, the NCIP red-tagged progressive organizations and IP groups, including the Bayan Muna party-list group, of which Eufemia Cullamat was a former representative.
He also repeatedly asked Capuyan if National Security Adviser (NSA) Clarita Carlos was made aware of the NCIP’s red-tagging activities, recalling Carlos’ earlier pronouncement to put an end to such practice.
READ: As nat’l security adviser, Carlos wants red-tagging to be a thing of the past
“I’m asking because we’ll be funding the NCIP and we want our government agencies to fulfill their mandate. But it will be questionable for us to allot funds for an agency that is at the forefront of putting the lives of our fellow Filipinos at risk,” Manuel said, speaking in Filipino.
Capuyan maintained that the agency was not red-tagging but truth-telling.
“All actions of NCIP, as part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, are posted on the Viber groups of the NTF-ELCAC, which includes the NSA adviser. Everything we do is stated through the Viber group of all the heads,” Capuyan added, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.
With this, Manuel noted that the whole-of-nation approach to coordinating red-tagging forces across various levels and mediums remained a reality.
“At least, it’s clear to us that, even with the pronouncement that there should be no red-tagging, such a policy still continues,” he said.
Hate crusade vs NCIP mandate
Brosas later echoed criticisms against Capuyan who, she said, “cannot discern the demarcation line between his personal hate crusade and the NCIP’s mandate to protect and promote the interest and well-being of IPs.”
“We cannot allow public funds to be repeatedly used for the spread of lies, red-tagging, terror-tagging, and vilification of IP advocates and progressive organizations to the point of endangering the lives and safety of the very sector which NCIP is supposed to protect – lies that enable state violence against IP communities and ordinary citizens seeking change,” Brosas said.
She also slammed the NCIP for threatening the safety of IPs instead of directing its efforts against foreign mining companies, agricultural ventures, and military forces that invade the country’s ancestral lands and communities.
At this point, Brosas moved to defer the deliberations on the NICP’s 2023 budget to a later date.
“Likewise, may I move that we terminate the budget briefing of the DSWD, including its attached agencies — except the NCIP,” she added.
The motion was seconded, but before the deliberations officially ended, Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta pointed out that the House appropriations committee is “not in a position to determine whether or not there was red-tagging or there was an allegation of red-tagging.”
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman later defended the motion to suspend the termination of the proposed NCIP budget, arguing that the agency was “doubling on activities, which is not within its mandate, using their meager funds.”
Last year, the deliberations on the DSWD budget were similarly deferred in the House appropriations panel after a screenshot of a message — allegedly from Capuyan — surfaced/
The message urged its recipients to watch the budget hearing and comment “especially once the Makabayan bloc starts to attack the NCIP budget.”
Debates on DSWD budget deferred due to ‘red-tagging
House reprimands NCIP chair after accusing solon of spreading lies, propaganda
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