NCIP gets P1,000 budget for 2018 for failing to protect ethnic leaders
The House of Representatives on Tuesday gave a P1,000 budget to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), supposedly for the commission’s failure to act on the killings of indigenous group leaders.
Shortly after, the House would also give the same amount to the Commission on Human Rights.
During the budget plenary debates, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate opposed the proposed P1.188-billion budget of the NCIP, saying that it failed to act on the killings of Lumad leaders and the landgrabbing of ancestral lands.
Zarate said 60 Lumad leaders were killed during the previous administration under President Benigno Aquino III, while 30 Lumad leaders were already killed in the first year of the Duterte administration.
He said approving a P1,000 budget to the NCIP would send a strong message, especially at a time when the Lumads marched to Metro Manila in the annual “Lakbayan.”
The Lumads are camped out on the grounds of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
“Sa halip na kalinga ang isang ahensiya katulad ng NCIP ay ito pa ang isang dahilan para mas lalong malabag ang karapatan,” Zarate said. “Nagiging bulag, pipi at bingi sa daing ng katutubong mamamayan ang NCIP. Sa halip, nagiging kasangkapan pa ito upang linlangin at lalong labagin ang karapatang pantao.”
(Instead of the being a refuge the NCIP has become another reason for more violations of rights. The NCIP has become blind, dumb, and dumb to the plight of the indigenous people. Instead, it has bcome a tool for deception and for further violating human rights.)
“Kung di pa man mabuwag ang NCIP sa kasalukuyan, ay sa budget sa susunod na taon ay bigyan lamang ng P1,000 budget, upang ang Kongreso na ito ay mabigyan ng seryosong mensahe na kailangan tugunan ng NCIP ang mga tunay na pangyayari ngayon na hinaharap ng ating mga katutubo,” he added.
(If the NCIP cannot be dismantled now, then we should give it a budget of only P1,000 for next year, so that this Congress can send a serious message that the NCIP has to be responsive to the realities that indigenous people face.)
His motion was carried because no lawmakers objected to it.
According to its website, the NCIP is the lead government agency that “formulates and implements policies, plans and programs for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples with due regard to their ancestral domains and lands, self-governance and empowerment, social justice and human rights and cultural integrity.”
The NCIP has a proposed P1.188-billion budget (inclusive of retirement and life insurance program) for 2018, up from its 2017 budget of P1.21 billion.
The House approved a P1,000 budget for the NCIP, just a few minutes before also approving a measly P1,000 budget to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), a government agency critical of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
The decision of the House to slash the CHR’s budget from P649.484 million (inclusive of retirement and life insurance program) to P1,000 seemed to show that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez was making good his word to give the commission a budget that would render it ineffective in its operations next year.