IPs call for NCIP-Caraga chief’s ouster, punishment
January 31, 2010
By Lizanilla J. Amarga
SEVERAL tribal groups are now asking for the ouster of National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP-Caraga) acting regional director Atty. Jose “Jake” Dumagan, Jr. for allegedly violating Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) among other laws.
Also, they are calling for the full imposition of a “bunae” or the customary indigenous peoples’ (IPs) punishment against this NCIP official.
These tribal groups recently organized themselves as the Caraga Indigenous Peoples Conference (CIPC) and approved several resolutions formalizing their demands to NCIP Sec. Eugenio Insigne in a recent gathering in Butuan City.
Dumagan was not available for comment as of presstime yesterday. However, sources who claimed to be Dumagan’s friends defended the beleaguered official saying the situation only needs “good and open communication on all the parties concerned.”
Still, CIPC is strongly convinced that replacing and punishing Dumagan is the answer to their problems.
This coalition of tribal groups has recently approved CICP Resolution No. 03-2009 imposing bunae to Dumagan for committing several offenses against the Indigenous Peoples in Caraga, urgently requesting Insigne to replace Dumagan and appoint a permanent regional director for their region.
The above resolution was duly certified by CIPC secretary general, Ricky Angwas and attested by around 30 tribal leaders led by CIPC interim president Hawudon Mapandoy II Noli Cullantes.
According to these tribal leaders, Dumagan is responsible for allowing the operations of several mining firms in several areas in the Caraga Region without the benefit of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) as mandated by RA 8371 or IPRA of 1997.
Section 59 of RA 8371 provides that “all department and other governmental agencies shall henceforth be strictly enjoined from issuing, renewing, or granting any concession, license or lease, or entering into any production-sharing agreement, without prior certification from the NCIP that the area affected does not overlap with any ancestral domain.”
The law further provides that “no certificate shall be issued by the NCIP without the free and prior informed and written consent of the IPs concerned” and that the “IPs shall have the right to stop or suspend, in accordance with this Act, any project that has not satisfied the requirement of this consultation process.”
These IP leaders alleged that numerous complaints regarding these mining firms operating without FPIC in ancestral domains were filed before Dumagan’s office by the affected local tribes led by Hawudon Udyotan Daging but to no avail.
Also, the CIPC accused Dumagan for turning a deaf ear on the pleas issued by Datu Luay-luay, Antonio Otacan and Cullantes relative to some logs that were held in custody at Batohon, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.
These tribal groups said Dumagan, being the highest NCIP official and tribe officer, failed to defend their ownership rights over these logs pursuant to Sections 56 and 57 of RA 8371.
“(This) despite the Manobo and Banwa-on tribes’ appeal to the OIC Regional Director (Dumagan) to extend even a simple legal assistance considering he is a lawyer by profession, is punishable by bunae,” their resolution reads.
Moreover, CIPC alleged that Dumagan went against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Presidential Proclamation No. 1906 which called for the annual celebration of the National Indigenous People’s Month every October.
“The no show, no facilitation, no active participation, non-involvement and non-conduct of the activity was a clear cut violation of the OIC- Regional Director (Dumagan),” the CIPC Resolution No. 03 further states.
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