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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The chairman of the House committee on national cultural minorities and indigenous peoples (IPs) underscored that the government owes a lot to the IPs because the existing indigenous knowledge systems and practices were able to help in the sustainable development of lowland communities and other urban centers around the country.
Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, chairman of the House Committee on National Cultural Minorities and IPs, stated that the government should start realizing that because of the time proven and sustainable watershed management of the IPs in the uplands, the agricultural production of lowland communities had been thriving over the past several decades aside from the fact that there has been robust power generation by established power plants.
He pointed out that it is for the said purpose that the house committee had recommended to concerned government agencies the putting in place of policies and the institutionalization of the said IP practices through the 17-bill awaiting enactment to guarantee the sustainable development and utilization of the State’s resources that are within the midst of IP communities.
The two-term Kalinga lawmaker claimed that the best practices of the IPs on resource management could be attributed to their ancestors who were able to pass on the same to the present generation of IPs who are now doing their part in ensuring the preservation and protection of the environment and the putting in place of practices for sustainable development in their respective communities.
Mangaoang served as the keynote speaker during the virtual launching of the 24th IP month celebration and the anniversary of the IPRA.
According to him, the journey of the IPs in the past had been difficult because of the evident challenges that they were able to encounter in fighting for their rights to their ancestral domain that paved the way for the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) which empowered the IPs to be able to establish their rights over their respective domains.
While it is true that IPs had been excelling in various fields, Mangaoang admitted that there is still a need to elevate the battle in compelling government to give due recognition to their rights to achieve the primary objective of gaining genuine recognition, respect and eventual self-governance through the grant of autonomous status for the Cordillera.
He asserted that IPs should continue sustaining the established indigenous knowledge systems and practices that had been passed on by their ancestors to ensure the appropriate conservation of the resources that are within their ancestral domains and not allow the same to be bungled as the same speaks well on how to effectively and efficiently manage the same for the benefit of the greater majority of the populace.
More importantly, Congressman Mangaoang stipulated that the God-given resources should be well preserved and protected as the same will be instrumental in spurring the overall growth and development of the country, especially when there will be a sustained balance between efforts to preserve and protect the environment and introduce development in areas that are dominated by IPs in the different parts of the country. By HENT