TAPAS, CAPIZ : The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is pushing for the implementation of a joint circular between the Department of the Interior and Local Government and NCIP to determine minimum threshold of the indigenous people and indigenous cultural communities (IP/ICC) for mandatory representation in the local sanggunians.
Jornelito Espanola of NCIP Capiz said IP representation in the Sangguniang Bayan is needed, considering the government’s program in preserving the cultural heritage of the indigenous people and their contribution to national development.
In Western Visayas, there are several municipalities hosting IP communities called Panay Bukidnons who are of brown to fair skin with straight black hair. The town of Calinog, Iloilo and its 21 upland barangays are hosting more than 1,000 IP Panay Bukidnon. In the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Guimaras and Negros Occidental are IP communities mostly of aeta origin.
In Tapas, 28 barangays are home to more than 3,000 Panay Bukidnons with almost the same tradition and culture of their brothers in Calinog.
Joint Circular No.001 Series of 2011 between DILG and NCIP defines guideline for the minimum threshold of IPs who will be entitled to a seat in the sanggunian pursuant to Republic Act 8371, otherwise known as Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. The circular also clarifies certain issues and ensures uniform policy interpretation.
The circular shall apply to IP communities especially those who have identified and delineated their ancestral domain and land areas and have determined that they are within the jurisdiction of the local government unit.
An IP representative to the sanggunian shall be selected from their council.
In Tapas IP communities are within the 33,000-hectare military reservation of 3ID of the Philippine Army, consisting of 40,000 hectares considered its ancestral domain, including 6 barangays in Jamindan, also in Capiz, and in Libacao, Aklan.