Quezon City—Around 150 indigenous peoples from all over the country gathered at the SEAMEO Innotech Center in this city for a groundbreaking three-day national summit to affirm the National Indigenous Peoples’ Policy Agenda and formulate a common IP Action Plan for upholding their rights. The policy agenda and its action plan will comprise the sector’s major recommendations to the legislative and executive branches of the Philippine government.
The summit revolved around the theme “Building Consensus, Claiming the Future.”
In a resolution finalized at the close of the three-day summit, the indigenous peoples manifested the following:
1. Called on the government to immediately suspend the processing of Free Prior and Informed Consent and issuance of Certificate of Pre-Conditions for major projects such as mining and infrastructure on grounds that these have violated their rights to self-determination.
2. Urged the government to immediately revise the guidelines for the granting of the FPIC in consideration of their claims to their ancestral domain and their desire to live peacefully according to their own culture and traditions. The FPIC is required by the government before mining and dam projects, for example, can push through. Indigenous peoples claim, however, that many of these multi-billion peso projects have managed to go ahead despite their stiff opposition.
3. Recommended that the Mining Act of 1995 be repealed and that alternative mining bills that provide for rational management of minerals and upholds the rights of indigenous peoples be passed.
4. Urged the government to declare a moratorium on large-scale mining and strictly regulate small scale mining.
5. Recommended that a mechanism be established to ensure that the IPs themselves can take part in the selection and appointment of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, which is the main government agency mandated to implement the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.
6. Call for a review of all programs on basic social services to consider the ethnic variabilities and cultural appropriateness of the delivery programs, particularly the 4Ps program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The summit was organized by the Consultative Group on Indigenous Peoples (CGIP) which includes ADFI, AKBAYAN, ALG, ANGOC, AnthroWatch, ATM, ECIP, FPP, GZOPI, KAMP, KASAPI, KATRIBU, PRRM, and PAFID.
The conference got support from the United Nations Development Programme, Foundation for the Philippine Environment, Peace and Equity Foundation, Philippine Tropical Forests Conservation Foundation, and the Foundation for Sustainable Societies, Inc.