THE National Commission on Indigenous Peoples–Cordillera warned officials of Sadanga town in Mountain Province for not allowing the elected indigenous peoples representative to assume office.
NCIP in a notice dated August 19 asked the officials to revisit its resolution and allow the assumption to office of the selected IPMR of Sadanga to the local council.
"Please be warned that your failure to allow the assumption of the duly selected IPMR of the IP/ICC of Sadanga to the Sangguniang Bayan of your municipality despite the foregoing will constrain the office to file the necessary administrative, civil and criminal charges against you in order to uphold and protect the rights and interest of the IPs," the NCIP-CAR notice said.
To recall, members of the Sadanga Municipal Council in a resolution no.45 series of 2019 approved by its executive chief dated August 5 questioned the mandate on indigenous peoples representative in local council.
The officials added IPMR is not necessary as the local government down to the village leaders are members of local tribe.
NCIP said it has been the position of their office that there is no need for the IPMR to be accepted by the local chief executive before he or she can assume office.
"This is due to the fact that the power to select IPMR is vested with the IP/ICC and that the said position is created by virtue of RA 8371 known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 approved and signed into law on October 1997," the NCIP 10-page notice said.
NCIP underscored the representation of the IPs in the local council is by virtue of Section 16 of the IPRA law and has been resolved by the Department of Interior and Local Government thru its legal opinion no. 69 s.2007.
Whether or not there is a need for the IPMR in a municipality composed of 100 percent IPs with 100% IPs elected officials, the resolution explained the coverage and application of mandatory representation in the legislative council and the coverage on the IP as provided in the NCIP Administrative order 3 s. 2018.
"While it is true that the municipality of Sadanga is composed of 100% IP population and has 100% local elected officials as contained in your resolution, would only mean that the IPs is entitled to a mandatory representation in the Sanggunian Bayan," the NCIP-CAR stressed.
"Time and again, the DILG thru their legal department had continuously opined and reminded the LGUs to strictly implement the mandatory representation of IPs in the local Sanggunian," the notice added.
In response to the declaration of Sadanga not accepting its IPMR, the commission reiterated the DILG memorandum circular no. 2010-119 thru the office of secretary directing all provincial governors, city mayors, municipal mayors, barangay captains, DILG regional directors, the governor.
"With the foregoing clarifications and memorandum circular, we do not see any reason why you should deny the representation of the Indigenous Peoples of Sadanga to the Sangguniang Bayan thru the representation of IPs of Sadanga to the Sangguniang Bayan thru their duly selected IPMR," the resolution added.
As of September 6, the Sadanga officials has yet to respond to the notice of the NCIP.