BOL passage seen to pave way for Cordillera autonomy

SAN FERNANDO, La Union, August 1, 2018 — The leadership of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is hopeful that the successful passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will pave the way for the region’s own autonomy as provided for by the 1987 Constitution.

“Learning from the past failures, we want to achieve our autonomy by seeing to it that it is an improvement of our present situation,” Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) Chair and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said.

Domogan made the comments at the “Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program Partners’ Workshop” where CAR officials reported on the status of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC) roadmap and communications plan to around 70 participants hailing from various government agencies, media outlets, academe, and civil society organizations.

The workshop also gave participants an in-depth look on federalism and the regions’ fiscal powers under it.

House Bill 5343 and Senate Bill 1678 seek to establish the ARC, recognizing that the region is now stable and will continue to be sustainable.

Domogan said currently, CAR provinces are autonomous from each other, “with Congressional districts represented by elected officials and local government administrators exercising powers under existing laws.”

Each CAR province also receives a share from the national government’s Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA).

Domogan said what the CAR provinces want is a regional government “that has a legal personality with no diminution of our present powers and benefits that will assume certain powers, functions, and duties of the national government.”

He said this will enable the region “to formulate its own policies for development using its own resources with additional allocations and share from national taxes from the national government.”

“We will continue to exercise the powers that were granted to us and continue to receive benefits even if we will become autonomous in status,” he added.

The three-day workshop also honed the resource speakers who will be added to the region’s roster of champions for ARC.

The participants also crafted information, education, and communication (IEC) proposals and communications plans for their respective areas of influence.

The event was organized by the RDC-CAR and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR), in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), and the Presidential Communications Operations Office. ###

Dureza pushes for resolution of IPs’ ancestral domain issues

BUTUAN CITY, March 26, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza today urged concerned government agencies to work closely together and address issues related to the approved Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) within the CARAGA Region.

The move was Dureza’s immediate response to a resolution submitted by delegates to the Indigenous People’s Summit held here today requesting the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to provide technical assistance to the six ethnolinguistic tribes in the area.

Dureza said that although these CADTs have already been approved by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), they have been held for some time pending registration by the Land Registration Administration (LRA).

CADTs are issued by the NCIP pursuant to the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) Law or RA 8371 which recognizes the native titles of indigenous peoples over their lands and domain.

During the summit, Dureza called on the representatives of the NCIP, LRA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department Agrarian Reform (DAR) to come forward and asked them to manifest their commitment to resolve all CADT-related concerns, utilizing the resources of their respective agencies for the purpose.

“There has to be a convergence of efforts. This has been the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte,” the peace adviser said as he addressed more than 400 Lumad delegates from across the region who attended the summit to discuss pressing concerns confronting them, particularly with their ancestral domain claims.

In the meantime, Dureza pointed out that the identity of the region’s IPs make them distinct as a people and therefore should be respected by all.

“It is wrong for us to say that we need to ‘convert’ the Lumads [to our ways]. We need to preserve their traditional way of doing things,” he said.

Dureza cited the traditional methods that Lumads have utilized over the years to effectively resolve situations of conflict in their communities.

The country’s top peace negotiator called on the region’s IPs to play a more active role in peace-building, asking them not to rely solely on the government or the military to address the peace and security situation in their area.

He said this mindset will be crucial as he revealed that almost 70 percent of the fighters that were recruited by rebel groups are Lumads.

“You have now awakened. You can do something for yourselves,” he said.

Dureza also emphasized the need for the region’s Lumads to “take ownership” of the peace and development projects being implemented in their communities.

“The proposals should come from the tribes. You (Lumads) should therefore find a way to develop and protect these projects,” he said.

In a separate interview with members of the media, Secretary Dureza underscored the importance of engaging IPs in the development process.

“It is very important to engage them (Lumads) so that we tell them what government plans and what it is doing. But more importantly, to listen what they have to say to government,” he said.

Dureza pointed out that the people and the local government officials “should not wait until someone like me from Manila will come in tell them [what to do].”

“There must be continuity to [enable] work on the ground,” he said.

Dureza stressed that Lumads need more understanding and more capacity-building.

“I call on the concerned agencies to continue what they’re doing and resonate all of these messages,” he said.

The two-day IP Summit was organized by the CARAGA Regional Peace and Order Council, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Provincial Government of CARAGA, and the City Government of Butuan.  ###

Sec. Dureza bares creation of Mindanao-wide IP task force to address insurgency, other Lumad concerns


T’BOLI MUNICIPAL GYM, SOUTH COTABATO – A Mindanao-wide task force that will focus on addressing key concerns confronting the island-region’s indigenous peoples is set to be created.

This was bared by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza who explained the proposed task force, which will be headed by retired Col. Allen Capuyan, who is a Manobo, will be established by virtue of an Executive Order.

Sec. Dureza said the proposal to create the said task force was presented to President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent cabinet meeting in Malacañang.

“The President emphasized the need for greater convergence among national government line agencies on IP concerns,” Sec. Dureza said in his remarks during the Sitio and Governor’s Day celebration at the provincial capitol here.

He explained this body will be tasked to consolidate IP-related issues as well as development priorities, which will then be integrated into existing governance mechanisms.

Aside from the establishment of the said task force, another executive order is being proposed that seeks to provide full recognition and protection of the IP’s rights and welfare across the country.

Sec. Dureza said all these efforts are in line with the national government’s policy agenda, which aims to create greater synergy of existing governance mechanisms, and empower the nation’s indigenous peoples.

Once approved, he expects these proposals to help address the root causes of the insurgency in the country, specifically those which impact on the ancestral domain areas of Lumads.

The peace adviser pointed out that 75 percent of the fighters recruited by communist rebels are Lumads.

“President Duterte is looking at ways in which you (Lumads) will not be forgotten,” he added.

Sec. Dureza noted that in situations of armed conflict, it is the ordinary people, particularly the village folk, who are most affected.

This is the reason why during his dialogues with the leadership of these rebel groups, he has repeatedly told them “you are only a small table.”

“The bigger peace table is the general public,” the peace adviser said.

In order to effectively address the plight of Lumads, Sec. Dureza said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has established an Indigenous People’s Peace Panel headed by Atty. Reuben Dasay Lingating.

Since its creation last year, the IP peace panel has provided a venue for stakeholders to discuss and propose policy recommendations on how to help uplift the living conditions and protect the welfare of Lumads.

Specifically, the panel has spearheaded the conduct of the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Legislative Assembly (MIPLA) which gave the island-region’s Lumads the opportunity to suggest ways to make the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) more responsive to the needs of the IPs.

More importantly, Sec. Dureza underscored the need to understand why people are waging a war against government.

“We need to first address the roots of the conflict,” he said.

“Don’t just shoot. We need to ask why they are rebelling against government,” Sec. Dureza said.

The government’s top peace negotiator called on the “enlightened” members of the indigenous community to continue to act as stewards of peace and development.

“We need to show them (insurgents) that we can live peaceful, productive lives,” Sec. Dureza said, as he lauded the T’boli people for being a positive, productive force in their communities.

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