‘Mock­ery’ of lumads, Bukid­non gov says of bud­get for NCIP

Manila Bulletin - - Mindanao News - By CAMCER ORDONEZ IMAM

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Bukid­non Gover­nor Jose Maria Zu­biri ex­pressed dis­may over the R1,000-bud­get for 2018 al­lo­cated by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for In­dige­nous Peo­ples (NCIP), say­ing that it was a “mock­ery” of the coun­try’s in­dige­nous peo­ples (IPs), or lumads.

“It sad­dened me. At least 36 to 37 per­cent of 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple in my prov­ince are lumads, and they are the poor­est. Was this a joke?” lamented Zu­biri.

Zu­biri, who is also chair­man of the Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil of North­ern Min­danao (Re­gion 10), has ap­pealed to Congress to re­con­sider its de­ci­sion to al­lo­cate the measly sum.

"It's a pity. I don't know who ever thought of it (R1,000 bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion) and (it was even) sup­ported by the ma­jor­ity of Congress. It is the sad­dest thing,” said Zu­biri, who was him­self a con­gress­man for 11 years.

He pointed out that the NCIP’s cur­rent bud­get, as it is, was al­ready not enough.

“My ad­min­is­tra­tion has, in fact, al­lo­cated the amount of R10 mil­lion to help them in pro­cess­ing for their an­ces­tral do­main, and that is not even enough. Gadugang pa ko (I added more)," he said.

Zu­biri, who is the fa­ther of Sen­a­tor Miguel Zu­biri, said he was won­der­ing who was be­hind the move to in­clude the NCIP among the agen­cies which were al­lo­cated bud­gets of only R1,000. The two other agen­cies were the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights (CHR) and the En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (ERC).

“This one is a mock­ery. Ano bang galit nila sa mga lumad (What are they an­gry at the lumads)? Just be­cause the lumads are claim­ing their an­ces- tral do­main?" Zu­biri asked.

The gover­nor pointed out that the IPs still had a rem­edy and could in­voke the In­dige­nous Peo­ple’s Rights Act of 1997 (IFRA) that will en­ti­tle the NICP to the funds it needs.

Zu­biri said the IPs need money for their an­ces­tral do­main claims, like pay­ments for sur­vey­ors and pro­cess­ing of doc­u­ments, among oth­ers.

"My pop­u­la­tion of the lumads is one of the high­est in the coun­try. And for now, only 30 to 32 per­cent of the claimants have been at­tended to,” he charged.

With such a re­buke of the NCIP from Congress, Zu­biri warned that lumads all over the coun­try “will not take it sit­ting down.”

"We will have prob­lems in our peace ef­forts. We will not have peace," the gover­nor said.

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