National Roundtable to Harmonize Local Government Code and Indigenous Peoples Rights Act
On October 9-10th 2013 the Department of Interior and Local Government and the National Anti-Poverty Commission organized a National Roundtable Discussion to harmonize the Local Government Code from 1991 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act”, with support from the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) Philippines. Representatives from theNational Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous People’s Sectoral Council, selected government departments, local government unit leagues, NGOs and development partners participated in the roundtable discussions.
The stakeholders converged to find possible avenues to address issues and concerns regarding the lack of representation and participation of Indigenous Peoples in the political decision making process. The roundtable discussions particularly focused on Indigenous people’s right to sustainable utilization of natural resources and the environment. For example, there are conflicting provisions of laws in the Philippines that prevent the implementation of the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) resulting in the lack of integration of ADSDPP in the formulation of the Comprehensive Land Use and Development Plan.
Following the National Roundtable Discussion the stakeholders have provided inputs to a draft Joint Memorandum Circular that aims to provide guidance on how to harmonize the conflicting provisions of the Local Government Code and the Indigenous People’s Rights Act to better protect the rights of Indigenous People to sustainably use natural resources and the environment. Professor Edmund Tayao from the Local Government Development Foundation said that “hopefully, this project will lead to more initiatives towards harmonizing important state policies and programs and lead to better governance.”