BAGUIO CITY: The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has issued a warning to Sadanga town to allow a representative of indigenous peoples (IP) to sit a municipal council member.

The NCIP Cordillera Office said a certain Jimmy Galingan is considered as an indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR) to the town council. Sadanga is a fifth class municipality of Mountain Province with 9,000 population.

Sadanga, however, passed a resolution barring an IP representative to sit a council member without the prior approval of the town mayor. The council added that there was no need to appoint an IP or Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICC) representative because the town is 100 percent inhabited by IPs.

"Please be warned that your failure to allow the assumption of the duly selected IPMR of the IP/ICC of Sadanga to the Sanggunian Bayan (SB) of your Municipality [...] will constrain the office to file the necessary administrative, civil and criminal charges against you in order to uphold and protect the rights and interest of the indigenous peoples," The NCIP Cordillera Office order said.

Moreover, the NCIP-CAR underscored the lack of provision in Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the "Indigenous Peoples Rights Act," (IPRA) its implementing rules and regulations, and NCIP Administrative Order 001, series 2009, which requires a resolution or the prior acceptance of mayor before the SB accepts the ICC/IP representative.

"We cannot also deduce the intent of our lawmakers on requiring the prior adoption of a resolution by the local Sanggunian or the acceptance of the mayor of the ICC/IP representative and if ever this was the intent of Congress, they should have indicated it in clear and unequivocal terms," NCIP-Cordillera notice said.

As of this writing, Galingan is still not seated at the SB member. The Saadangan council has yet to give its response or plan of actions in compliance to the notice of warning issued by NCIP-Cordillera.

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