More indigenous peoples in local govts—DILG chief

Published by rudy Date posted on November 9, 2010

MANILA, Philippines—Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo on Tuesday called on all local government officials across the country to allow for more participation of indigenous peoples in policy-making through the appointment of IP representatives.

In a memorandum circular issued to all local chief executives, Robredo called for a full implementation of Republic Act 8371, or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, which calls for the mandatory representation of IPs.

Section 16 of RA 8371 gives IPs the right to participate voluntarily in policy-making, especially policies that may directly affect their lives.

The law also allows IPs to maintain and develop their own indigenous political structures.

Robredo said the selection of IP representatives for a particular area should be proportional to the population of that indigenous group in the area.

Once chosen, an IP representative will serve for a period of three years from the date of assumption of office and can be re-endorsed for another term as long as he or she would not serve for more than three consecutive terms.

He or she should also maintain the development and practice of their traditional leadership titles and structures, justice systems, conflict resolution, and peace building mechanisms and processes.

Robredo directed all regional directors of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the ARMM Regional Governor to provide technical assistance, if necessary, to local government units within their jurisdiction. –Abigail Kwok,

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