Padilla wants IP exclusion probed

Padilla wants IP exclusion probed

A SENATOR has filed a resolution seeking a probe on the alleged exclusion of an indigenous peoples (IP) representative from Palawan in the renewal process of the service contract of the Malampaya gas field located off the island province.

“The State shall ensure that the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples shall be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils,” Senator Robin C. Padilla said in Senate Resolution No. 885, which he filed on Monday.

He cited complaints from the Cuyunon people based in northern and central Palawan, who said they did not participate in the renewal of the gas field’s operations, citing supposed irregularities in the selecting IP representatives.

Under the Republic Act No. 8371, which established the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), IPs must be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and local legislative councils.

Last May, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. renewed the Malampaya Service Contract 38, giving operators a 15-year extension until Feb. 22, 2039. Malampaya gas accounts for about 20% of Luzon’s electricity requirements.

“In view of the foregoing issues, there is a need to examine and review the IPRA as well as the mandate of the NCIP in the protection of the rights and welfare of the IPs with the end in view of improving the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997,” Mr. Padilla said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez