Patronage politics real problem at City Council PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 August 2016 12:02

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Almost two months after the City Council members have been sworn into office for the year 2016, yet nothing has been accomplished in terms of legislation.

What has been discussed this past 2016 Council sessions,are their re-organization, which have not yet been settled  so far, a question on their existing house rules, the status of some Council members who are involved in legal breaches and issues, and sadly the issue of a sectoral representation, mandatory or not, that is governed by a Republic Act administratively,  although fiscally by the City Council. Question on a sectoral representation’s status should be addressed and referred to the Republic Act that causes the representation, because it has provided for its qualification, requirements and requisites and above all its responsibilities. Although it has to have an enabling ordinance (like in a City Council) to render it effective, but other provisions of the Republic Act as to the conduct of the representation is absolute unless amended. Clearly, in all indications, the obstructions and delays in the discussion of their prepared agenda at the City Council, patronage politics is the main cause.

* * * * * *

The adoption of House Rules in a legislative nody is provided by law aside from the parliamentary procedures for the orderly conduct of discussion. Sectoral representations are provided for in the Local Government Code, except for the mandatory Indigenous Peoples Representation, which is provided in a special law known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA) or Republic Act 8371. This Republic Act 8371 clearly specified in its provision that it created, the National Commission On Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), “to carry out the policies set forth in the IPRA Law and the NCIP shall be the primary government agency responsible to promote and protect the rights and well being of the ICCs/IPs.....” IPRA, Chapter VII, Sec. 38.  Section 69. Quasi-Judicial powers of NCIP  “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 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”. Section 70- No Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction “ No inferior court of the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or preliminary injunction against the NCIP or any of its 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 domain”.

* * * * * *

The NCIP also recognizes the importance of the Council of Elders representing the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and their selection and confirmation of a member to represent the IPs/ICCs in a decision and policy making body like the City Council is paramount and absolute and whoever the Council of Elders has chosen to represent them is legally binding and no restraining order from an inferior court in the Philippines can block the decision of the Council of Elders as authorized by the NCIP in close coordination with the DILG.  Any government official found to obstruct this decision is in violation of the IPRA Law or Republic ACT 8371. Patronage politics should not interfere with the decision of the Council of Elders and the NCIP.

* * * * * *

Scoop: The new IP representative to the City Council, TungkuTHanapi must refrain from joining a political group or party. He should decide or vote independently as an IP representative to serve the purpose of the IPRA Law as apolitical and non-partisan and not to jeopardize and antagonize the IPs/ICCs in Zamboanga City from political power play. IP representation in the legislative bodies and decision making bodies is a matter of right and privilege but never to be partisan in politics. It defeats the purpose of the representation as provided by the IPRA Law. Agree or disagree but it is the law.


Last Updated on Friday, 19 August 2016 12:06