IP representation in councils now mandatory

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is seeking for more indigenous peoples’ (IP) empowerment.

DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo announced this during the second day of the 9th International Igorot Consultation (IIC) on Thursday at the Baguio Country Club.

“Indigenous Act of 1997 or the IPRA, in particular guarantees the right of tribal people to ancestral domain, social justice and human rights. The landmark also ensures not only your cultural integrity but also your right to self-governance and empowerment,” Robredo said.

The DILG already issued Memorandum Circular 2010-119 calling for the mandatory representation of indigenous cultural communities in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils in accordance with IPRA, Robredo added.

He explained the DILG was able to enforce this section of IPRA through the DILG’s Seal of Good Housekeeping awards.

Local government units (LGUs) must comply with this IP representation standard in order to get a Silver Award of Good Housekeeping. This is especially for LGUs with IP constituents.

A Silver Award allows the winning LGU to access part of millions of pesos in the DILG’s Performance Challenge Fund.

He added there are only 570 IP representatives in local councils.

“It is better in the Cordillera because most of the councils have IP representations, especially in Mt. Province where all members of the local legislative councils and police making bodies are predominantly members of IP groups,” Robredo said. (CDD Intern Jacqui Matabang)

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