NCIP resolutions to resolve conflicts is a mandate PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 February 2016 13:26

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Congressman Celso L. Lobregat who hinted that the NCIP decision to withdraw the IP membership of sectoral representative Ismael Musa is politically motivated, is unbecoming of a legislator. The fact that sectoral City Councilor Ismael Musa is embroiled in a political issue by affiliating with his local political party the LDP, which is a violation of the apolitical nature of IP representation in a decision making body of government. The NCIP will only decide on conflicts forwarded to the commission after the Council of Elders/leaders in the locality  issues a certification as a condition precedent to the filing of a petition with the NCIP.  This certification filed to the NCIP is after the Council of Elders/Leaders which participated and attempted by exhausting all possible remedies to settle the dispute has not resolved or found a solution to the conflict. The Primacy of Customary Laws and Practices shall be used to resolve ICCs/IPs dispute ( SEC. 65 R.A. 8371 or IPRA Law.

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SEC. 69 R.A 8371, QUASI-JUDICIAL POWERS OF THE NCIP, shall have the power and authority:

a) to promulgate rules and regulations governing the hearing and disposition of cases filed before it as, as well as those pertaining to its internal functions and such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purpose of this Act;

b) To administer oaths, summon the parties to a controversy, issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of such books,papers,contracts, records, agreements and other document of similar nature as maybe material to a just determination of the matter under investigation or hearing conducted in pursuance of this act.

c) To hold any person in contempt, directly or indirectly, and impose appropriate penalties therefor; and

d) To enjoin any or all acts involving or arising from any case pending before it which, if not restrained forthwith, may cause irreparable damage to any of the parties to the case or seriously effect social or economic activity.

SEC. 70 R.A. 8371, NO RESTRAINING ORDER OR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION- No inferior Court of the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order, or writ of preliminary injunction against the NCIP or any of its duly authorized or designated offices in any case, dispute or controversy arising from, necessary to, or interpretation of this Act and other pertinent laws relating to ICCs/IPs and ancestral domains.

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The City Council need not request opinion from COMELEC or the DILG in implementing the NCIP resolution, since IP representative to the city council Ismael Musa is not an elected city councilor but assumed the position through a provision of a Special Law (IPRA) in assuring ICCs/IPs a mandatory representation in decision making bodies and other legislative councils of government.(SEC 16. R.A. 8371- Right to participate in Decision Making) and IP’s eligibility to assume such right is based on the primacy of Customary Laws, through the Council of Elders who unanimously agreed and certified the IP’s representation. Can COMELEC or DILG overrule NCIP’s decision when it pertains to ICCs/IP disputes? Are customary laws subject to government prohibitions?

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SEC. 65- Applicable Laws- Customary Laws, traditions and practices of ICCs/IPs of the land where the conflict arises shall be applied first...............................Any doubt or ambiguity in the application and interpretation of laws shall be resolved in favor of the ICCs/Ips. The City Council before implementing the NCIP Resolution to declare null and void the IP membership of IP sector representative Ismael Musa to the City Council, in the name of fair play and fairness must first and foremost know 1) whether Council of Elders/Leaders exerted exhaustive efforts to resolve the dispute before certifying to the NCIP the expulsion of Ismael Musa’s IP membership. 2) whether the council of Elders/Leaders are the legitimate representation of the city’s indigenous people and 3) whether the Council of Elders/Leaders were convene and called for the purpose and facilitated by the NCIP regional office through the city NCIP office based in Zamboanga City and ultimately 4) whether the certification of the City’s Council of Elder/Leaders was  unanimously approved by the city registered and accredited Tribal Elders and Leaders. This is the most just and fair decision that the City Council can implement to the decades old government neglect of ICCs/IPs in the city.

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Scoop: Only Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and the NCIP can resolve ICCs/IPs disputes no other office of the land is tasked with such an authority. The ICCs/IPs dispute can best be resolve through Customary Laws and Practices, other Government Laws and Offices are mandated to facilitate the IPRA Law for equality and government must rule and resolve conflict in favor of their Indigenous people. Agree or disagree.