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