The Western Visayas Regional Culture, Heritage and the Arts Committee (RCHAC) addressed the concerns on the IPMR during its first semester Regular Meeting on February 17, 2023 via blended face-to-face and zoom platform. Regional Development Council (RDC) VI-RCHAC Chairperson and Iloilo Business Club Vice President Ma. Luisa C. Segovia presided over the meeting.

Private Sector Representative Mr. Othelo E. Derecho, President of Process Foundation-Panay, brought up the concern on the low compliance of the LGUs on IPMR in local legislative bodies. To elaborate on the concern, he presented the legal bases of the IPMR. Republic Act 8371 or the 1997 Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) Law, Section 16, provides that “indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) have the right to participate fully, if they so choose, at all levels of decision-making in matters which may affect their rights, lives and destinies through procedures determined by them, as well as, to maintain and develop their own indigenous political structures”.

Mandatory representation of indigenous peoples in legislative councils and policy-making bodies shall be ensured as provided for under the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Administrative Order No. 03, series of 2018 or the Revised National Guidelines for the IPMR.  

Low compliance of LGUs on the IPMR requirement has been observed in the region. Derecho also cited that in the Province of Antique, only one municipality has an active IPMR while the Province of Capiz was able to have active IPMRs in their respective provincial special bodies. On the other hand, few municipalities in other provinces of the region was observed with IPMR but the actual status of implementation is undetermined.  

Acknowledging the merit of the concern on IPMR and to assess further the compliance rate of the LGUs, RCHAC requested that representatives from NCIP and DILG will be invited in the succeeding meeting to present the latest status of implementation including the inventory of the IPMR in the different local legislative councils and policy-making bodies of the LGUs in Western Visayas as mandated by law.

The said meeting was attended by the member-regional line agencies, local government units and private sector representatives of the committee. (MPSJacosalem/NEDA6)