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TUBA, Benguet – The Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) formally restored the earlier cancelled certificate of registration of the Indigenous Peoples Organization of Alang, Pukis, Sabian, Sta. Fe, Oliba and Luacan (IPO-APSSOL) that paved the way for the return of its juridical personality that will advance the rights of indigenous people over their ancestral domain.
NCIP-CAR regional director Manuel Jaramilla handed over the organization’s certificate of registration to IPO-APSSOL president Rafael Fernandez and Minda Bantasan, who will be serving as the chairperson of the group’s council of elders during a simple ceremony held at the NCIP-CAR office recently.
Earlier, the NCIP cancelled the certificate of registration of the organization after the emergence of numerous factions among its members that resulted to confusion and misunderstanding among them, especially in the utilization of the group’s royalty from Philex Mining Corporation.
Fernandez, in a video clip after receiving the certificate of registration from the regulatory agency, stated that the present health pandemic opened the minds of their fellow IPs to get their acts together, settle their differences and start working together to reap the fruits of having compromised their properties for the continuous large-scale mining operation.
He added that the group is grateful to Commissioner Gaspar C. Cayat for having initiated the unification of the factions that paved the way for the restoration of its juridical personality to continue advancing the rights of indigenous peoples over their ancestral domain and for them to benefit from the royalty being paid by Philex pursuant to their previous agreement.
In 2008, the IPO-APSSOL and the Philex Mining Corporation entered into an agreement with the former giving its consent to the mining company for its large-scale operation in exchange for the payment to the organization of a 1.25 percent of its annual gross receipts as royalty.
For her part, Bantasan said that President Rodrigo Duterte made the right choice in appointing Commissioner Cayat to his present post because of his dedication and passion to uphold the rights of the indigenous peoples which former NCIP directors and Commissioners were not able to accomplish.
She pointed out that the unification of the group will allow the establishment of a harmonious working relationship among the concerned government agencies, the local government, the indigenous peoples and the industry for the advancement of the IP rights.
Commissioner Cayat disclosed that he was inspired to work for the unification of the feuding factions of the group to avoid the indigenous peoples from being shortchanged and to ensure that the beneficiaries of the royalty will be able to reap the fruits of having preserved and protected their ancestral domain.
More importantly, he underscored that the IPs should serve as the partner of the government and the industry in future development endeavors beneficial in promoting the welfare of the present and future generation of IPs. By HENT