SADANGA, Mountain Province – The municipal council approved a resolution challenging the applicability of representation of the Indigenous Peoples mandatory Representative (IPMR) to the local legislative body and declaring its official stand not to accept or recognize such representation in the council.
Resolution No. 45, series of 2019 stated that notwithstanding the existence of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Administrative Order No. 03 for the IPMR representation in the local legislative bodies, ‘we believe that the Municipality of Sadanga is well represented in all aspects by the elected officials being one hundred percent indigenous peoples themselves and there is no need for the inclusion of IPMR representation.’
Section 16 of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8 and 15 of NCIP Administrative Order No. 3 or the recent implementing rules and regulations provided for the mandatory representation of the IPMRs in local legislative bodies as well as their qualifications, functions, salaries and emoluments.
The resolution pointed out that the real issue at hand is whether or not there is a need for IPMR representation in a municipality composed of 100 percent indigenous peoples with 100 percent indigenous peoples elected officials such as mayor, vice mayor, municipal councillors, youth and barangay representatives among others.
The resolution stipulated that Sections 5 and 6 of NCIP Administrative Order No. 03 provided for the operating principles and coverage of applications of mandatory representation in the legislative council in which by expressed provision of law was designed to protect the indigenous peoples in the lowlands, hence, a pressing need of a mandatory representation of indigenous in the local legislative body for the protection of their very existence and interest in the lowlands.
According to the approved resolution, paragraph (a) concerning the existence of ancestral domain and paragraph (b) on the application of the threshold principle as enunciated in Section of the rules and regulations does not apply in the locality in as much as there is no such individually owned rights and holders of an ancestral domain in the town and that the so-called threshold principle is so impractical if not ridiculous considering the fact that it would mean additional 8 IP representatives in the local legislative council thereby making the number of the entire council to 18.
The resolution explained that paragraph © provided that in case paragraph (a) and (b) is not obtained, the concerned local government will still allow representation after an intensive debate on the issue, it was the decision of the municipal council opted not to allow a seat for the IMPR considering that it would amount to duplication of functions and unnecessary waste of taxpayer’s money to a municipality already suffering from financial constraints.
Mayor gabion Ganggangan underscored that the position of the local government against accepting IPMR representation in the municipal council should serve as a wakeup call for similarly situated local governments to make the same position because the concerns of indigenous peoples are already being performed by the 100 percent IP officials who were elected by the people to serve in the municipality.