PHILIPPINES: Any new Executive Order on mining must affirm IPS rights over their ancestral domain

Published : Wednesday, March 07, 2012 Written by : Gualberto B. Lumauig


Former governor and congressman of Ifugao

As major players in the mining industry debate their respective social responsibilities in the exploitation of our country’s vast mineral resources, they should not lose sight of the rights and concerns of the indigenous people over their ancestral lands and domains.

We need a reaffirmation from our government and the mining industry stakeholders that our indigenous peoples’ occupation, possession and propriety rights over their ancestral domains are their exclusive birthright and privilege that should seriously be taken into account when government, through its licensing mandate, starts allowing developers and investors to encroach on these ancestral territories.

Articles XII and XIV of the Philippine Constitution give explicit protection to the rights of indigenous cultural communities over their ancestral lands.

Similarly, the United Nations in a formal resolution adopted in 2007 the “Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People” solemnly sets out their individual and collective rights to ancestral domain and lands.

As in the case of the Cordilleras, many mining operations are invariably located in IP lands.

Government should revisit its 1 percent  royalty on the gross value of minerals produced in the area, and consider a more acceptable excise tax that can really ensure socially beneficial grants to the IPs.

Our IPs constitute 16 percent of the country’s total population, or close to 14 million people. There are 111 ethno-linguistic groups spread all over the country, to include the Lumads, the aborigines of Mindanao.  Their ancestral lands are considered quasi-sovereign nation-state that never surrendered to colonial rule and consistently asserted their tribal sovereignty.

With these facts, as new government guidelines are deliberated upon to open up our mineral resources to big-time investors, our IPs are urgently requesting, for the sake of social stability, that they not be left behind again.

(Those who want to help push for IPs’ rights may contact Gualberto B. Lumauig at +639208284678)

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Mining philipines | Shawnassecret

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