SAN FERNANDO CITY, Oct. 28 (PIA) -- The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in the Ilocos (NCIP-1) assured continuous support to indigenous peoples (IP) groups through the conduct of various programs to promote their culture and tradition, and protection of rights.
In the Kapihan sa Ilocos program of the Philippine Information Agency on Oct. 14, NCIP-1 announced the various activities lined-up for the whole month of October in celebration of the IP month with the theme: "IPRA @ 23: Ang Pagwawasto sa Makasaysayang Kawalan ng Katarungan para sa Katutubong Karapatan at Kapakanan."
This year's theme is aimed to deepen public consciousness and understanding of all the experiences and unique cultural heritage of the IPs; to advocate the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) or Republic Act 8371; and to encourage government agencies to support IP programs.
Some of the activities which benefited the IPs of the region include a workshop on the amendment of local guidelines for the selection of Indigenous People Mandatory Representative or IPMR; various national, regional and local summits, conferences and webinars on IPMRs role in nation building attended by the representatives of the Ilocos region; and trainings on self-governance and empowerment.
"Most of our activities are being held online because we also have to adhere to safety and health protocols, and I commend the efforts of our provincial offices and our IP groups and its members to their full-support despite challenges caused by this pandemic," said NCIP-1 regional director Atty. Roland P. Calde.
Moreover, other onground activities carried out by NCIP-1 were house-to-house distribution of essential medicines, provision of seedlings to IP beneficiaries, and a showcase of ube (yam) production as a local product of the IP women of Tubao, La Union.
Closing this year's celebration is a virtual activity for the IP Thanksgiving Day and the IP month culmination program scheduled on Oct. 29 which will be attended by partners from provincial and local government units, IPMRs, IP groups, and other regional line agencies.
Relative to Executive 0rder No. 70 or the government's program to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC), Calde stated, "We have to realign our programs on ancestral domains (AD) in Ilocos Sur province which is one of the identified areas of the CTGs/NPAs, and this will be our main priority for 2021."
In addition, he said that almost 80 percent of insurgency is being linked to the indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) and ADs but also reported that since 2019, series of consultations and focused group discussions with IPMRs and IP group leaders were already done to address the matter.
Furthermore, NCIP-1 is currently recalibrating and finalizing the re-focused plan of action relative to the EO No. 70.
"NCIP will continue to provide relevant programs for our IPs to protect their rights and welfare, and promote and respect their beliefs and culture," said Calde in his closing message.
Meanwhile, in the Laging Handa Network News Briefing on Oct. 28, Mayor Romeo dela Rosa of Baleno, Masbate stated its support EO No. 70 but has hesitations on who to trust and turn to in case of challenging situations and incidents of encounter between military and the CTGs/NPAs.
Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense immediately replied to the concern of Mayor dela Rosa and warned regional line agencies and LGUs to be careful in supporting organizations as well as be aware of their goals and causes.
He said that the DND and its partner agencies will always look into these situations and provide the necessary interventions with the main objective of maintaining peace and order while protecting and serving the Filipino people. (JCR/JPD/AHFF, PIA Region 1)