NCIP scholars should embrace ancestral domain stewardship

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BAGUIO CITY – In celebration of the 22nd Indigenous Peoples (IP) Month with the theme “IPs as partners in attaining inclusive peace and sustainable development,” the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) taps its very own IP student scholars under its Educational Assistant Program (EAP) grant to plant fruit bearing trees within their respective ancestral domains.

The said activity is dubbed as “Cordillera IP Youth Agroforestry and Ancestral Domain Ecology Drive,” a concept derived by the NCIP–CAR to encourage NCIP EAP scholars/grantees in undertaking their social and environmental responsibilities towards the stewardship of their ancestral domains. “Apart from providing financial aid to our NCIP EAP scholars/grantees, NCIP is also mindful in equipping our IP youth with the indigenous values on ancestral domain stewardship,” said NCIP–CAR Regional Director Atty. Roland P. Calde.

Calde further reiterated concomitant to being an EAP scholar/grantee are the duties and responsibilities of student.  “This way, it will also prompt NCIP EAP scholars/grantees studying in the city of Baguio to return back to their respective ancestral domains, and share their education to their fellow IP/ICCs”, said Calde.

“We hope to instill in the minds of our NCIP EAP scholars/grantees, as future administrators and vanguards of the ancestral domains, indigenous values that helped shape Cordillera today. In turn, they themselves, will pass these on to their children,” added Calde.

Calde also disclosed that NCIP–CAR has started distributing fruit-bearing seedlings to its NCIP EAP scholars/grantees earlier this month and instructed them to secure their fruit-bearing trees from the nearest NCIP Provincial Office or Community Service Center which they will plant in their ancestral domain.

Apart from embracing their duties and responsibilities as stewards of the ancestral domains, NCIP EAP scholars/grantees, who are mostly millennials whom are very much influenced by the modern and popular culture, will be reliving the age-old indigenous values and culture of collectivity. “Fruits of the planted trees will be reaped by the ancestral domain owners and will be communally enjoyed by them,” said Calde.

Meanwhile, NCIP EAP scholars/grantees will be joining the cultural parade on October 11, 2019 along with the other government agencies during the culminating activity for CAR’s 22nd IP month celebration starting at Malcom Square, going up Session Road to the PFVR gym for the program proper. Recently installed NCIP Chairman, Allen Capuyan will be gracing the activity as the program’s keynote speaker.

The 22nd IP Month festivities in October is the same month when the landmark legislation, Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), was enacted.  The same further is supplemented by Presidential Proclamation No. 1906, s. 2009, declaring the month of October of every year as the National Indigenous Peoples Month and Presidential Proclamation No. 486 declaring October 29 and every year thereafter as National Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Day.

By Rocky Ngalob

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