BAGUIO CITY – The IPEACE Epanaw Party-list bared its platforms of government for the advancement of the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the country to gain support in its bid to have the necessary seats in the 19th Congress in the upcoming May 9, 2022 synchronized national and local elections.
Former regional director lawyer Marlon Bosantog of the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR), who is the group’s second nominee, disclosed that one of their major platforms is for the legislation of the Department of Indigenous Peoples and the Ancestral Domains to ensure IP representatives in the highest level of developmental dialogue; rationalize NCIP personnel to answer to the annual needs of the IP communities, as the agency is under staffed, under paid and under funded and streamline national IPMR policies to ensure equal treatment and eliminate discrimination of salaries and treatment and assure quality IP representation in all policy-making bodies.
Further, Bosantog stipulated that the group will work for the expansion of the IP educational assistance program to target elementary and high school educational support program as it must seek to eliminate high rate of teenage pregnancies and early marriages in the IP communities, elementary dropout rate and low passing percentage in Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) exams.
He underscored that IPEACE Epanaw will ensure funding and technical support to finish ancestral land titling in the country and cause the registration of all titled lands in the Registry of Deeds.
Bosantog emphasized that the group will also work for the protection and conservation of all critical biodiversity corridors in the ancestral domain in accordance with customary laws and the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process.
According to him, there is also a need to legislate laws to create baseline royalties and economic benefits with development projects inside ancestral domains and mandating proponents to submit necessary documents for the conduct of the FPIC process.
IPEACE Epanaw will also legislate laws prioritizing development of eco and cultural tourism in the ancestral domain as a form of economic multipliers aside from putting primacy on the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) over other land tenurial instruments issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) after 1997.
Bosantog pointed out the need to allow and mandate customary laws as a mode of settling disputes among IPs before availment of court processes apart from seeking funding for technical assistance in setting up IP cooperatives among others and facilitate the legislation of laws for the protection of IP knowledge system and practices, cultural manifestation, and other community intellectual rights of the IPs, and the crafting of IP materials as requisite studies for the education department.
IPEACE Epanaw is listed as No. 171 in the order of party-list groups in the official ballot of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for the May national and local elections.