BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance providing for an Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative IPMR) in the local legislative body and in qualified barangays in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Arthur Alad-iw said the measure is pursuant to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Constitution, the Local government Code and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
Among the indigenous peoples that inhabit the city are indigenous peoples from the different parts of the Cordillera such as the Ibaloi, Kalanguya, Kankanaey, Tuwali, Tinggian, Kalinga, Isneg, Aplai, Bontok and other tribes from the lowlands and other regions of the country.
The ordinance stated the term of office of the IPMRs shall be three years to be reckoned from the date of assumption of office and can be endorsed for another term by the indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples but in no case shall the IPMRs serve for more than three consecutive terms.
However, the indigenous peoples shall agree on a term-sharing agreement based on population ratio, or on whatever arrangement that may be agreed upon in their local guidance.
The ordinance stated the IPMR shall enjoy the same privileges enjoyed by the regular members of the local legislative council and as such, he or she shall receive compensation, benefits and other emoluments equal to the compensation, benefits and other emoluments being received by the regular members.
Aside from upholding the general welfare of the citizens of the city, the IPMR to the City Council and the barangay council shall have the duties and responsibilities, particularly being the chair of the committee on indigenous peoples which shall be created, pass resolutions and ordinances that will promote the political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights of the indigenous peoples, to ensure the collective representation of the general interest and aspirations of the tribes, ensure State recognition of the primacy of customary laws and practices, maintain the development and practices of indigenous peoples traditional leadership, titles and structures, justice systems, conflict resolution institutions and peace-building mechanisms and processes that are compatible with the legal system, allocate funds for the codification of customary laws and practices and indigenous knowledge systems, ensure the interfacing of indigenous systems of governance to the mainstream system, to uphold the free and prior informed consent process relative to all activities that may affect the rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral domain, land and their political, social and cultural well-being and such other functions as may be necessary.
The amount of P1 million will be used to fund posting and services of notices, transportation allowances or fuel allocations, information education campaign on IPRA and other related issuances, tokens for resource speakers, food during the formulation of local rules, expenses for the resolution of disputes that may arise among others.
By Dexter A. See