City officials formally created the committee on indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities (IPs-ICCs) as one of the standing committees of the local legislative body and amending for the said purpose Section 5(a) of Resolution No. 177, series of 2019.
Under Resolution No. 179, series of 2022, local legislators stated that the chairperson of the newly created committee shall be made automatically a member of the Committees on Urban Planning, Lands and Housing and Education, Culture, Creativity and Historical Research.
Earlier, during a public consultation that was called by the council on April 12, 2022 for the said purpose, attendees unanimously expressed their desire for the creation of a separate committee in the local legislative body to look into the concerns, welfare, interest, rights and obligations of the indigenous peoples and cultural communities in the city.
Section 22, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development.
Further, Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 declared that the State shall take measures, with the participation of the indigenous cultural communities and i8ndigenous peoples concerned, to protect their rights and guarantee respect for their cultural integrity, and to ensure that members of the ICCs-IPs benefit on an equal footing from the rights and opportunities which national laws and regulations grant to other members of the population. The State shall institute and establish the necessary mechanisms to enforce and guarantee the realization of the said rights taking into consideration their customs, traditions, values, beliefs, their rights to their ancestral domains.
The council stipulated that the IPs-ICCs as a sector is expansive with concerns not only on culture but also on land, livelihood, family and community relations, among others, which are specifically unique that requires thorough and deeper understanding in relation to the execution of local and national policies and programs.
According to the body, recognizing the peculiarity of the affairs of the indigenous peoples, Congress has as one of its congressional committees, a committee on indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples chaired by Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang and its counterpart in the Senate, the committee on cultural communities.
Moreover, the council added that aware that Baguio city is home to various IPs, the local government has recognized the role of the IPs in the general development of the city with respect to ancestral domain and lands, self-governance and empowerment, social justice and human rights, as well as their cultural integrity by designating IP focal persons with the organizational structure of the City Planning and Development Office.
The council pointed out that there is a need to organize a separate council standing committee on IPs and ICCs in view of the unique and distinctive circumstances surrounding matters and issues of ICCs and IPs living in the city.