Legarda to Take to the Senate Proposals from Luzon IP Assembly

A day after the conclusion of the two-day Luzon Indigenous Peoples Assembly that was held at the Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City on September 9 and 10, Senator Loren Legarda today said she would take to the Senate the resolutions and recommendations that came out of the assembly that need legislative action.

Among the issues and concerns submitted for legislative action during the said assembly are the:

(1) Amendment of the Electric Power Reform Industry Act (EPIRA) to redefine “host community” to include communities upstream who are protecting the watershed;

(2) Inclusion in the NSO regular generation processes of the social, economic and other data about indigenous peoples and their families to end the “invisibility” of the IPs to the national government;

(3) Extension of the period provided in Section 64 of Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) for the initiation of action for cancellation of officially documented titles, which were illegally acquired.

(4) Support for the Direct Remittance Bill, which requires investors to pay their taxes at the place of operation, not at the principal place of business/office.

Aside from their proposed legislations, the IP leaders in Luzon who attended the assembly requested the ratification by the Philippine government of the (International Labor Organization) ILO Convention 169 or the Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.

The IP leaders also requested that all IP issues be forwarded to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the Commission’s appropriate action.

Senator Legarda welcomed the proposed legislative interventions, saying “this is the intent of the assembly—seek the perspectives of various IP leaders and identify appropriate measures to address their identified concerns.”

The just-concluded Luzon IP assembly will be followed by the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Assembly which will be held at the Davao del Norte Provincial Capitol in Tagum City on September 16-17. After this, the Visayas Indigenous People’s Assembly will be held at the Provincial Capitol of Iloilo in Iloilo City on September 23-24.***