IPs hail NCIP chief’s visit to Agusan Norte

By Alexander Lopez

August 5, 2020, 1:37 pm

BUTUAN CITY – Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) leaders from the Higaonon tribe in Agusan del Norte have lauded Monday's visit of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) chairperson Allen Capuyan, who is also head of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Datu Bawang Eddie Sulhayan Ampiyawan, the Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Agusan del Norte, said Capuyan’s visit to tribal communities was vital to the continuing support of the Higaonon tribe to end the conflict brought about by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the province.

“The visit also allowed the different tribal leaders to present their issues and concerns on their ancestral domains, particularly on the application and issuance of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title or CADT,” Ampiyawan told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday.

Capuyan, together with the heads of different line agencies of the government in the Caraga region, led the visit and dialogue held in Barangay Simbalan, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

The dialogue was also participated in by tribal leaders and members from the towns of Las Nieves, Buenavista, Nasipit, and Carmen in Agusan del Norte.

In his message to the tribe, Capuyan pointed to the salient provisions on the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) as the basis for tribal communities to pursue full ownership of their ancestral domains.

The IPRA provisions, he said, ensure the rights of the IPs to their ancestral domains.

Ampiyawan expressed optimism that Capuyan's visit would address certain ownership issues the tribe has encountered on their ancestral lands.

Another IP leader, Datu Rolando Lanapan, the IPMR of Buenavista town, vowed to pursue the CADT for their tribal land by accomplishing all the requirements.

Lanapan also thanked Capuyan and other government agencies for the support they provided to tribal communities in Buenavista town.

Ampiyawan urged the tribal leaders in Agusan del Norte to rally behind the efforts of the government to bring peace and development to IP communities.

"The efforts of the government will be futile if we fail to cooperate,” he said, noting several gains of the government in driving out the communist rebels who continue to hamper peace and development interventions for IP communities in Agusan del Norte. (PNA)