DPWH, NCIP crafting guidelines on IPs’ right-of-way claims

MANILA � The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) are crafting an updated guidelines on road right-of-way (RROW) claims, particularly those involving ancestral domains.

This after DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and NCIP Chairperson and lawyer Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo signed on Thursday, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which aims to further expedite the implementation of infrastructure projects.

As much as we want to facilitate swift implementation of vital infrastructure projects across the country, it is in our utmost priority to protect the rights and welfare of Indigenous Peoples (IPs), or Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs), said Villar in a statement released Saturday.

Under the agreement, a DPWH-NCIP technical working group (TWG) will be created and will inform the Commission of the processes in the implementation of government projects such as national roads, bridges and other infrastructure, as well as the processes and documentary requirements for acquiring Right-of-Way for these projects.

The TWG will formulate the guidelines and procedures, and streamline documentary requirements in the processing of claims for just compensation of IPs/ICCs properties affected by DPWH projects.

DPWH will consult with the NCIP about the authenticity and legitimacy of documentary requirements submitted by IPs/ICCs, especially claims without NCIP accreditation and certification.

With this undertaking, we hope to craft a streamlined guideline on RROW acquisition based on advice and expertise of NCIP and hopefully implement projects that will only provide positive impact on IPs' rights on land, territory, resources, livelihood and culture, he added.

On the other hand, the NCIP will apprise the TWG in terms of accrediting IPs/ICCs, filing ancestral domain claims and ancestral domain titles, as well as provide pertinent information relating to the proposed project area.

Likewise, it will prioritize the issuance of certification, which is a precondition for national government projects, and assist in determining conflicting claims over project-affected ancestral lands.

The MOA will be effective for a period of two years and subject to renewal as may be necessary and upon agreement by the agencies. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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