With the controversy haunting indigenous peoples’ representation in government bodies, Vice President Leni Robredo batted for the crafting of a new law that should make mandatory the allotment of more spaces for IP leaders in development and legislative councils.
“Sa ngayon, walang batas na nagma-mandate na dapat silang [IPs] mag-participate sa local development council, local legislative council at sa ibang mga sectoral groups,” she said in Davao City on Monday.
The Vice President said that Department of Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular 2010-119 issued by her late husband, then DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo was not enough.
The circular ordered the mandatory representation of indigenous cultural communities in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils in accordance with the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.
“Kung department order lang, pwede siyang mapalitan sa pag change ng administration, gusto natin ma isa-batas na kapag di siya nasunod, may penalties.”
Robredo also stressed that it is important that the IPs should be the ones to represent themselves to draft policies that are in accordance with their needs and should not be dictated by non-IPs since they are the ones who know what they need.
“Gusto nating i-advocate talaga is yung empowerment. Empowerment in the sense na bigyan natin sila ng representation sa decision-making bodies ng gobyerno saka mga policy-making bodies. Kahit saan kami pumunta, yung mga reklamo pare-pareho lang. Paminsan, yung batas na para sa kanila, yun pa yung nagagamit para maapi sila. Tingin ko, kailangan i-review yung IP laws, yung mga programa ng mga IP. Pati yung mga NCIP pinu-push natin para malaki talaga yung actual involvement nung mga IPs para mapapakinggan yung boses nila.”
The vice president gave a keynote address during the LEAP V: 2017 National Indigenous Peoples Education Festival at the University of Southeastern Philippines, Mintal, Davao City on May 15.