House passes bill to give IPs until 2037 to title ancestral lands
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the measure giving indigenous peoples until 2037 to secure titles for their ancestral lands.
House Bill No. 5350 was approved on May 22, before the chamber adjourned last month; it was received by the Senate on May 25.
The bill extends for another 20 years the period for indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) to avail themselves of the right to own their ancestral lands, according to a House statement on Sunday.
Republic Act 8371, or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997, originally set the period to end on Oct. 29, 2017. If enacted, the proposed measure would move the deadline to Oct. 29, 2037.
Under RA 8371, ancestral lands and domain are defined as “such concepts of territories which cover not only the physical environment but the total environment including the spiritual and cultural bonds to the area which the ICCs/IPs possess, occupy and use, and to which they have claims of ownership.”
Section 12 of the said law allows claims by individual members of ICCs or successors of those who have been in “continuous possession and occupation” of ancestral lands “since time immemorial” or for at least 30 years before enactment in 1997.
According to the House statement, the late Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog, one of the principal authors of HB 5350, sought the extension of the deadline because the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have not come up with specific implementing rules and regulations for Section 12 of RA 8371. JE/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.