On May 12 the NCIP Central and Regional Office III, together with the Ayta Zambal ICCs/IPs of Botolan and San Marcelino, Zambales attended a meeting called by DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian to discuss the issues and concerns related to the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process at the DSWD Main Office.
Secretary Rex Gatchalian and Assistant Secretary Ellaine Fallarcuna of DSWD, together with Commissioner Rhodex P. Valenciano of NCIP presided the meeting.
During the meeting members of the IP Communities that are affiliated with Alyansa ng Katutubong Aeta ng Pilipinas (AKAP) led by Chito Balintay and thru their lawyer, manifested that they noticed discrepancies in the draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA as well as in the conducted FPIC process for solar project of Ayala in their Ancestral Domain. Further, it was raised that the Indigenous Political Structures (IPS) and Indigenous Peoples Organization (IPO) of both the communities should be prioritized by NCIP to prevent representation conflict among the communities when entering into the FPIC process.
In order to address the issues, both parties agreed that 1.) NCIP to initiate and facilitate a dialogue between the conflicting groups of the Community. 2.) The communities of Botolan as well as the communities in San Marcelino will resolve the leadership conflict by discussing and formalizing the composition of their IPS with NCIP to validate the true leaders of each of the communities. 3.) Lawyer of the group of Chito Balintay can participate during the dialogue in the spirit of transparency and for them to observe the process that will be undertaken using customary law. 4.) All documents that will be requested by the AKAP including the attendance sheets of the previous meetings, shall be made in writing by the lawyer of AKAP. 5.) All succeeding meetings regarding the conduct FPIC process, will be fully documented thru video recording and photo documentation.
Moreover, it was emphasized that since the confirmation of IPS is a long process, the communities can prioritize its documentation, which will be facilitated by NCIP and that they should agree to come-up with document indicating the true leaders and elders with concurrence of all parties to ensure that the community is represented by authentic elders and leaders during the conduct of the FPIC process.
Finally, the communities agreed to resolve their internal leadership conflict because they are relatives and that disputes among themselves shall be settled
through their customary dispute resolution mechanisms.
Members of ICCs/IPs from other communities also discussed their issues of AD Delineation in Tarlac, and the result of the series of dialogues between NCIP Central Office and IP Communities in Sitio Guzman and Sitio Poon Bato, Botolan, of which they were advised to have these specific issues scheduled in the discussion of the NCIP Commission En Banc.