High-Level Policy Discussion on DENR-NCIP Related Concerns
22 June 2022
“Sabi ng batas, we have to recognize, respect, promote, and protect the rights of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs). Anong sabi ko? Before we can recognize the IPs, we must know them, kaya may ginawa tayong Coffee Table Books. You cannot respect somebody that you don’t recognize.
The challenge is too big. There is no group or sector in the Philippines that you don’t have to tell them but they are too willing to protect the Ancestral Domain.
The service to the Filipino people is limitless. We really have to go back to basics. They (our IPs) are human beings. They have their dignity. They have the rights to live a life.”
-Chairperson Allen A. Capuyan
“I would like to point out that under the concept of Native Title, Ancestral Lands and Ancestral Domains are considered private property, owned in common by the IPs, and thus, have never been part of public lands. Therefore, in the present situation, it so happens that certain areas have been classified as, or claimed to be, forest land. This is so, because IPRA was enacted only in 1997 and NCIP is playing a catch-up role. Mahaba ang lead time ng DAR at DENR sa pagtitulo ng mga lupa, but it doesn’t mean that the Ancestral Domain/Native Title concept has been overtaken by events. Although belatedly recognized, it retroacts back to the time the IPs’ ancestors became the owners of the land or “since time immemorial”.
The concept of Native Title does not surrender or give up the claim that Ancestral Lands and Ancestral Domains have long been private property owned communally by our ICCs/IPs since time immemorial, even if in the meantime, said lands have been classified as public lands, simply because they could’ve never been validly classified as such, considering that they were already owned privately by the IPs long before the Spaniards came and long before the establishment of the Philippine Government.”
Dir. Caesar M. Ortega
NCIP-Ancestral Domains Office