• Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

Solon seeks hike in 2023 budget of indigenous peoples commission


Sep 16, 2022

Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez said the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) should get a higher budget for 2023, stressing the need to address the “trend of neglect” on the sector.

For next year, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved a P1.46-billion budget for NCIP, which is slightly higher than its 2022 appropriations of P1.43 billion.

But Rodriguez said the amount is only half of the proposed P2.8-billion funding the NCIP asked for 2023.

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“This is the agency that takes care of our IP from Batanes to Jolo to Tawi-Tawi but I’m amazed that their budget is so small… Only 2.8 billion. That was the proposal. And you know what the DBM gave them ? Fifty percent only,” Rodriguez said.

“It is clear that there is a cut of P1.4 billion. In fact, their budget this year is P1.5 (billion) and for 2023 it will be reduced by 36 million. A small reduction but it shows the neglect. It shows the non-attention of the national government to our indigenous peoples,” he went on. “So I ask our dear chairperson is this P1.4 billion enough to give justice to our indigenous peoples all over the country?”

NCIP chairman Allen Capuyan said that the P1.4 billion funding for the commission in 2023 is not enough.

“As I mentioned, the universe of the IPs is 1,500 ancestral domains and with that 11 building blocks, we evaluated it and we found out that for the last 25 years, NCIP will only be able to accomplish 25% of its mandate or an average of 1% a year,” he said.

Capuyan said they need around P3 billion per year for the next 10 years for the NCIP to “catch up” and finish 75% of their program.

This P3 billion per year was proposed by the commission to the Office of the President as early as 2019, he said.

Responding to this, Rodriguez pointed out that P3 billion is but a small percentage of the government’s trillion budget.

“It is our duty. This is now a duty for all members of Congress to look at the sector which have been neglected for the past 30 years… and we should therefore exercise our collective wisdom of all our representatives to be able to unite and with the power of our purse, reverse this trend of inattention, this trend of neglect on our indigenous peoples,” he said.

“Therefore, we ask for more budget for our indigenous peoples’ scholarships. We need to give more budget for those board exam takers who are IPs, and therefore I move that we approve the budget of P1.4 billion plus P1.4 billion to be able to give them P2.8 billion,” he said.

Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo, one of the senior vice-chairpersons of the House panel, took note of Rodriguez’s motion but pointed out that the proposed amendments can only be accepted during the plenary deliberations of the 2023 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

Upon the interpellation of Baguio City Representative Mark Go, Capuyan informed the panel that the budget cut will greatly affect their programs such as the delineation of ancestral domains.

According to the NCIP chair, this program seeks to clarify which properties are considered ancestral domains and public lands.

Asked how much does the commission needs to fulfill its mandate, Capuyan said they will request for P731 million additional funding for 2023.

“Recognizing the meager resources of the government, kami po ay nagplano uli dahil nabawasan kami sa proposal na almost P1.5 billion (for 2022), meron kaming pino-propose na P700 million pandagdag sa 2023 na masasabi namin na magampanan namin ang aming mga gawain,” Capuyan said.

“We already have the letter here proposing the additional P731 million dated 07 September 2022 and we will resubmit this again,” he added.










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