A Davao City ordinance preserving the right of Indigenous Peoples (IP) to settle disputes among themselves was passed on final reading last Tuesday.
The ordinance, known as IP Alternative Dispute Resolution in Davao City, was enacted pursuant to Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 and the Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.
Councilor Bai Halila Sudagar, indigenous peoples mandatory representative, who sponsored the ordinance, said that the ordinance will help preserve the culture of lumads, especially in settling disputes.
“Prior to the passing of the ordinance, I coordinated with the City Fiscal’s Office, City Prosecutor’s Office, personnel of the Department of Justice and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples , and they were happy, and supportive of the ordinance,” Sudagar said.
She said that the ordinance would decongest the cases being filed in courts.
“In our own little way, we, lumads, can settle these disputes before they reach the court,” Sudagar said.
The IP councilor said that only ‘compromised cases’ can be settled by the Council of Elders in an Indigenous Cultural Community (ICC).
Cases that have a six-year maximum penalty such as violence against women and children (VAWC), murder, rape, and others are not accommodated by the IP conflict resolution system.
Sudagar said that the complainant and the defender are given the option to settle the conflict the “IP way” or with the Lupong Tagapamayapa of the barangays.
Elders of the ICC can also endorse the unsettled disputes to the barangay.
Sudagar said that the Office of Cultural Community Affairs will monitor the implementation of the ordinance.
The ordinance will take effect 15 days following its passage.