Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Third Regular Session
Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday the twenty-eight day
of July, nineteen hundred and ninety-seven
[REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8371]
AN ACT TO RECOGNIZE, PROTECT AND PROMOTE THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS CULTURAL COMMUNITIES/ INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, CREATING A NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, ESTABLISHING IMPLEMENTING MECHANISMS, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997".
SECTION 2. Declaration of State Policies. -The State shall recognize and promote all the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) hereunder enumerated within the framework of the Constitution:
Towards these ends, the State shall institute and establish the necessary mechanisms to enforce and guarantee the realization of these rights, taking into consideration their customs, traditions, values, beliefs, interests and institutions, and to adopt and implement measures to protect their rights to their ancestral domains.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall mean:
RIGHTS TO ANCESTRAL DOMAINS
SEC. 4. Concept of Ancestral Lands/Domains.- Ancestral lands/domains shall include such concepts of territories which cover not only the physical environment but the total environment including the spiritual and cultural bonds to the areas which the ICCs/IPs possess, occupy and use and to which they have claims of ownership.
SEC. 5. Indigenous Concept of Ownership. - Indigenous concept of ownership sustains the view that ancestral domains and all resources found therein shall serve as the material bases of their cultural integrity. The indigenous concept of ownership generally holds that ancestral domains are the ICC’s/IP’s private but community property which belongs to all generations and therefore cannot be sold, disposed or destroyed. It likewise covers sustainable traditional resource rights.
SEC. 6. Composition of Ancestral Lands/Domains. - Ancestral lands and domains shall consist of all areas generally belonging to ICCs/IPs as referred under Sec. 3, items (a) and (b) of this Act.
SEC. 7. Rights to Ancestral Domains. - The rights of ownership and possession of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains shall be recognized and protected. Such rights shall include:
SEC. 8. Rights to Ancestral Lands. - the right of ownership and possession of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral lands shall be recognized and protected.
SEC. 9. Responsibilities of ICCs/IPs to their Ancestral Domains. - ICCs/IPs occupying a duly certified ancestral domain shall have the following responsibilities:
SEC. 10. Unauthorized and Unlawful Intrusion. - Unauthorized and unlawful intrusion upon, or use of any portion of the ancestral domain, or any violation of the rights hereinbefore enumerated, shall be punishable under this law. Furthermore, the Government shall take measures to prevent non-ICCs/IPs from taking advantage of the ICCs/IPs customs or lack of understanding of laws to secure ownership, possession of land belonging to said ICCs/IPs.
SEC. 11. Recognition of Ancestral Domain Rights. - The rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains by virtue of Native Title shall be recognized and respected. Formal recognition, when solicited by ICCs/IPs concerned, shall be embodied in a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), which shall recognize the title of the concerned ICCs/IPs over the territories identified and delineated.
SEC. 12. Option to Secure Certificate of Title Under Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, or the Land Registration Act 496. - Individual members of cultural communities, with respect to their individually-owned ancestral lands who, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, have been in continous possession and occupation of the same in the concept of owner since time immemorial or for a period of not less than thirty (30) years immediately preceding the approval of this Act and uncontested by the members of the same ICCs/IPs shall have the option to secure title to their ancestral lands under the provisions of Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, or the Land Registration Act 496.
For this purpose, said individually-owned ancestral lands, which are agricultural in character and actually used for agricultural, residential, pasture, and tree farming purposes, including those with a slope of eigteen percent (18%) or more, are hereby classified as alienable and disposable agricultural lands.
The option granted under this section shall be exercised within twenty (20) years from the approval of this Act.
RIGHT TO SELF-GOVERNANCE AND EMPOWERMENT
SEC. 13. Self-Governance. - The State recognizes the inherent right of ICCs/IPs to self-governance and self-determination and respects the integrity of their values, practices and institutions. Consequently, the State shall guarantee the right of ICCs/IPs to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
SEC. 14. Support for Autonomous Regions. - The State shall continue to strengthen and support the autonomous regions created under the Constitution as they may require or need. The State shall likewise encouraged other ICCs/IPs not included or outside Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras to use the form and content of their ways of life as may be compatible with the fundamental rights defined in the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and other internationally recognized human rights.
SEC. 15. Justice System, Conflict Resolution Institutions, and Peace Building Processes. - The ICCs/IPs shall have the right to use their own commonly accepted justice systems, conflict resolution institutions, peace building processes or mechanisms and other customary laws and practices within their respective communities and as may be compatible with the national legal system abd with internationally recognized human rights.
SEC. 16. Right to Participate in Decision-Making. - ICCs/IPs have the right to participate fully, if they so choose, at all levels of decision-making in matters which may affect their rights, lives and destinies through procedures determined by them as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous political structures. Consequently, the State shall ensure that the ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils.
SEC. 17. Right to Determine and Decide Priorities for Development. - The ICCs/IPs shall have the right to determine and decide their own priorities for development affecting their lives, beliefs, institutions, spiritual well-being, and the lands they own, occupy or use. They shall participate in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies, plans and programs for national, regional and local development which may directly affect them.
SEC. 18. Tribal Barangays. - The ICCs/IPs living in contiguous areas or communities where they form the predominant population but which are located in municipalities, provinces or cities where they do not constitute the majority of the population, may form or constitute a separate barangay in accordance with the Local Government Code on the creation of tribal barangays.
SEC. 19. Role of Peoples Organizations. - The State shall recognize and respect the role of independent ICCs/IPs organizations to enable the ICCs/IPs to pursue their legitimate and collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means.
SEC. 20. Means for Development/Empowerment of ICCs/IPs. - The Government shall establish the means for the full development/empowerment of the ICCs/IPs own institutions and initiatives and, where necessary, provide the resources needed therefor.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
SEC. 21. Equal Protection and Non-discrimination of ICCs/IPs. - Consistent with the equal protection clause of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights including the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and International Human Rights Law, the State shall, with due recognition of their distinct characteristics and identity, accord to the members of the ICCs/IPs the rights, protections and privileges enjoyed by the rest of the citizenry. It shall extend to them the same employment rights, opportunities, basic services, educational and other rights and privileges available to every member of the society. Accordingly, the State likewise ensure that the employment of any form of force or coersion against ICCs/IPs shall be dealt with the law.
The State shall ensure that the fundamental human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution and relevant international instruments are guaranteed also to indigenous women. Towards this end, no provision in this Act shall be interpreted so as to result in the diminution of rights and privileges already recognized and accorded to women under existing laws of general application.
SEC. 22. Rights during Armed Conflict. - ICCs/IPs have the right to special protection and security in periods of armed conflict. The State shall observe international standards, in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, for the protection of civilian populations in circumstances of emergency and armed conflict, and shall not recruit members of the ICCs/IPs against their will into the armed forces, and in particular, for use against other ICCs/IPs; nor recruit children of ICCs/IPs into th armed forces under any circumstances; nor force indigenous individuals to abandon their lands, territories and means of subsistence, or relocate them in special centrs for military purposes under any discriminatory condition.
SEC. 23. Freedom from Discrimination and Right to Equal Opportunity and Treatment. - It shall be the right of the ICCs/IPs to be free from any form of discrimination, with respect to recruitment and conditions of employment, succh that they may enjoy equal opportunities for admission to employment, medical and social assistance, safety as well as other occupationally-related benefits, informed of their rights under existing labor legistlation and of means available to them for redress, not subject to any coercive recruitment systems, including bonded labor and other forms of debt servitude; and equal treatment in employment for men and women, including the protection from sexual harassment.
Towards this end, the State shall, within the framework of national laws and regulations, and in cooperation with the ICCs/IPs concerned, adopt special measures to ensure the effective protection with regard to the recruitment and conditions of employment of persons belonging to these communities, to the extent that they are not effectively protected by laws applicable to workers in general.
ICCs/IPs shall have the right to association and freedom for all trade union activities and the right to conclude collective bargaining agreements with employers’ organizations. They shall likewise have the right not to be subject to working conditions hazardous to their health, particularly through exposure to pesticides and other toxic substances.
SEC. 24. Unlawful Acts Pertaining to Employment. - It shall be unlawful for any person:
SEC. 25. Basic Services. - The ICCs/IPs have the right to special measures for the immediate, effective and continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions, including in the areas of employment, vocational training, and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous women, elderly, youth, children and differently-abled persons. Accordingly, the State shall guarantee the right of ICCs/IPs to government’s basic services which shall include, but not limited to, water and electrical facilities, education, health and infrastructure.
SEC. 26. Women. - ICC/IP women shall enjoy equal rights and opportunities with men, as regards the social, economic, political and cultural spheres of life. The participation of indigenous women in the decision-making process in all levels, as well as in the development of society, shall be given due respect and recognition.
The State shall provide full access to education, maternal and child care, health and nutrition, and housing services to indigenous women. Vocational, technical, professional and other forms of training shall be provided to enable these women to fully participate in all aspects of social life. As far as possible, the State shall ensure that indigenous women have access to all services in their own languages.
SEC. 27. Children and Youth. - The State shall recognize the vital role of the children and youth of ICCs/IPs in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well-being. Towards this end, the State shall support all government programs intended for the development and rearing of the children and youth of ICCs/IPs for civic efficiency and establish mechanisms as may be necessary for the protection of the rights of the indigenous children and youth.
SEC. 28. Integrated System of Education. - The State shall, through the NCIP, provide a complete, adequate and integrated system of education, relevant to the needs of the children and young people of ICCs/IPs.
SEC. 29. Protection of Indigenous Culture, Traditions and Institutions. - The State shall respect, recognize and protect the right of ICCs/IPs to preserve and protect their culture, traditions and institutions. It shall consider these rights in the formulation and application of national plans and policies.
SEC. 30. Educational Systems. - The State shall provide equal access to various cultural opportunities to the ICCs/IPs through the educational system, public or private cultural entities, scholarships, grants and other incentives without prejudice to their right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions by providing education in their own language, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning. Indigenous children/youth shall have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State.
SEC. 31. Recognition of Cultural Diversity. - The State shall endeavor to have the dignoty and diversity of the cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations of the ICCs/IPs appropriately reflected in all forms of education, public information and cultural-educational exchange. Consequently, the State shall take effective measures, in discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among ICCs/IPs and all segments of society. Furthermore, the Government shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. The State shall likewise ensure the participation of appropriate indigenous leaders in schools, communities and international cooperative undertakings like festivals, conferences, seminars and workshops to promote and enhance their distinctive heritage and values.
SEC. 32. Community Intellectual Rights. - ICCs/IPs have the right to practive and revatilize their own cultural traditions and customs. The State shall preserve, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures as well as the right to the restitution of cultural, intellectual, religious, and spiritual property taken without their free and prior informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.
SEC. 33. Rights to Religious, Cultural Sites and Ceremonies. - ICCs/IPs shall have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect and have access to their religious and cultural sites; the right to use and control of ceremonial objects; and, the right to the repatriation of human remains. Accordingly, the State shall take effective measure, in cooperation with the ICCs/IPs concerned, to ensure that indigenous sacred places, including burial sites, be preserved, respected and protected. To achieve this purpose, it shall be unlawful to:
SEC. 34. Right to Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices and to Develop own Sciences and Technologies. - ICCs/IPs are entitled to the recognition of the full ownership and control and protection of their cultural and intellectual rights. They shall have the right to special measures to control, develop and protect their sciences, technologies and cultural manifestations, including human and other genetic resources, seeds, including derivatives of these resources, traditional medicines and health practices, vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals, indigenous knowledge systems and practices, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literature, designs, and visual and performing arts.
SEC. 35. Access to Biological and Genetic Resources. - Access to biological and genetic resources and to indigenous knowledge related to the conservation, utilization and enhancement of these resources, shall be allowed within ancestral lands and domains of the ICCs/IPs only with a free and prior informed consent of such communities, obtained in accordance with customary laws of the concerned community.
SEC. 36. Sustainable Agro-Technical Development. - The State shall recognize the right of ICCs/IPs to a sustainable agro-technical development and shall formulate and implement programs of action for its effective implementation. The State shall likewise promote the bio-genetic resource management systems among the ICCs/IPs and shall encourage cooperation among government agencies to ensure the successful sustainable development of ICCs/IPs.
SEC. 37. Funds for Archeological and Historical Sites. - The ICCs/IPs shall have the right to receive from the national government all funds especially earmarked or allocated for the management and preservation of their archeologiacl and historical sites and artifacts with the financial and technical support of the national government agencies.
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES(NCIP)
SEC. 38. National Commission on Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). - To carry out the policies herein set forth, there shall be created the National Commission on ICCs/IPs (NCIP), which shall be the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs to promote and protect the rights and well-being of the ICCs/IPs and the recognition of their ancestral domains as well as their rights thereto.
SEC. 39. Mandate. - The NCIP shall protect and promote the interest and well-being of the ICCs/IPs with due regard to their beliefs, customs, traditions and institutions.
SEC. 40. Composition. - The NCIP shall be an independent agency under the Office of the President and shall be compose of seven (7) Commissioners belonging to ICCs/IPs, one (1) of whom shall be the Chairperson. The Commissioners shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines from a list of recommendees ethnographic areas: Region I and the Cordilleras; Region II; the rest of Luzon; Island Groups including Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon, Panay and the rest of the Visayas; Northern and Western Mindanao; Southern and Eastern Mindanao; and Central Mindanao: Provided, That at least two (2) of the seven (7) Commissioners shall be women.
SEC. 41. Qualifications, Tenure, Compensation. - The Chairperson and the six (6) Commissioners must be natural born Filipino citizens, bonafide members of ICCs/IPs as certified by his/her tribe, experienced in ethnic affairs and who have worked for at least ten (10) years with an ICC/IP community and/or any government agency involved in ICC/IP, at least 35 years of age at the time of appointment, and must be proven honesty and integrity: Provided, That at least two (2) of the seven (7) Commissioners shall be members of the Philippine Bar: Provided, further, That the members of the NCIP shall hold office for a period of three(3) years, and may be subject to re-appointment for another term: Provided, furthermore, That no person shall serve for more than two (2) terms. Appointment to any vacancy shall only be for the unexpired term of the predecessor and in no case shall a member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity: Provided, finally, That the Chairperson and the Commissioners shall be entitled to compensation in accordance with the Salary Standardization Law.
SEC. 42. Removal from Office. - Any member of the NCIP may be removed from office by the President, on his own initiative or upon recommendation by any indigenous community, before the expiration of his term for cause and after complying with due process requirement of law.
SEC. 43. Appointment of Commissioners. - The President shall appoint the seven (7) Commissioners of the NCIP within ninety (90) days from the effectivity of this Act.
SEC. 44. Powers and Functions. - To accomplish its mandate, the NCIP shall have the following powers, jurisdiction and function:
SEC. 45. Accessibility and Transparency. - Subject to such limitations as may be provided by law or by rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, all official records, documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as research data used as basis for policy development of the Commission shall be accessible to the public.
SEC. 46. Offices within the NCIP. - The NCIP shall have the following offices which shall be responsible for the implementation of the policies hereinafter provided:
It shall also identify ICCs/IPs with potential training in the health profession and encourage and assist them to enroll in schools of medicine, nursing, physical therapy and other allied courses pertaining to the health profession.
Towards this end, the NCIP shall deploy a representative in each of the said offices who shall personally perform the foregoing task and who shall receive complaints from the ICCs/IPs and compel action from appropriate agency. It shall also monitor the activities of the National Museum and other similar government agencies generally intended to manage and preserve historical and archeological artifacts of the ICCs/IPs and shall be responsible for the implementation of such other functions as the NCIP may deem appropriate and necessary;
SEC. 47. Other Offices. - The NCIP shall have the power to create additional offices as it may deem necessary subject to existing rules and regulations.
SEC. 48. Regional and Field Offices. - Existing regional and field offices shall remain to function under the strengthened organizational structure of the NCIP. Other field offices shall be created wherever appropriate and the staffing pattern thereof shall be determined by the NCIP: Provided, That in provinces where there are ICCs/IPs but without field offices, the NCIP shall establish field offices in said provinces.
SEC. 49. Office of the Executive Director. - The NCIP shall create the Office of the Executive Director which shall serve as its secretariat. The office shall be headed by an Executive Director who shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines upon recommendation of the NCIP on a permanent basis. The staffing pattern of the office shall be determined by the NCIP subject to existing rules and regulations.
SEC. 50. Consultative Body. - A body consisting of the traditional leaders, elders and representatives from the women and youth sectors of the different ICCs/IPs shall be constituted by the NCIP from time to time to advise it on matters relating to the problems, aspirations and interests of the ICCs/IPs.
DELINEATION AND RECOGNITION OF
SEC. 51. Delineation and Recognition of Ancestral Domains. - Self-delineation shall be the guiding principle in the identification and delineation of ancestral domains. As succh, the ICCs/IPs concerned shall have a decisive role in all the activities pertinent thereto. The Sworn Statement of the Elders as to the scope of the territories and agreements/pacts made with neighboring ICCs/IPs, if any, will be essential to the determination of these traditional territories. The Government shall take the necessary steps to identify lands which the ICCs/IPs concerned traditionally occupy and guarantee effective protection of their rights of ownership and possession thereto. Measures shall be taken in appropriate cases to safeguard the right of the ICCs/IPs concerned to land which may no longer be exclusively occupied by them, but to which they have traditionally has access for their subsistence and traditional activities, particularly of ICCs/IPs who are stil nomadic and/or shifting cultivators.
SEC. 25. Delineation Process. - The identification and delineation of ancestral domains shall be done in accordance with the following procedures:
SEC. 53. Identification, Delineation and Certification of Ancestral Lands. -
SEC. 54. Fraudulent Claims. - The Ancestral Domains Office may, upon written request from the ICCs/IPs, review existing claims which have been fraudulently acquired by any person or community. Any claim found to be fraudulently acquired by, and issued to, any person or community may be cancelled by the NCIP after due notice and hearing of all parties concerned.
SEC. 55. Communal Rights. - Subject to Section 56 hereof, areas within the ancestral domains, whether delineated or not, shall be presumed to be communally held: Provided, That communal rights under this Act shall not be construed as co-ownership as provided in Republic Act No. 386, otherwise known as the New Civil Code.
SEC. 56. Existing Property Rights Regimes. - Property rights within the ancestral domains already existing and/or vested upon effectivity of this Act, shall bbe recognized and respected.
SEC. 57. National Resources within Ancestral Domains. - The ICCs/IPs shall have priority rights in the harvesting, extraction, development or exploitation of any natural resources within the ancestral domains. A non-member of the ICCs/IPs concerned may be allowed to take part in the development and utilization of the natural resources for a period of not exceeding twenty-five (25) years renewable for not more than twenty-five (25) years: Provided, That a formal and written agreement is entered into with the ICCs/IPs concerned or that the community, pursuant to its own decision making process, has agreed to allow such operaion: Provided, finally, That the NCIP may exercise visitorial powers and take appropriate action to safeguard the rights of the ICCs/IPs under the same contract.
SEC. 58. Environmental Considerations. - Ancestral domains or portions thereof, which are found to be necessary for critical watersheds, mangroves, wildlife sanctuaries, wilderness, protected areas, forest cover, or reforestation as determined by appropriate agencis with the full participation of the ICCs/IPs concerened shall be maintained, managed and developed for such purposes. The ICCs/IPs concerned shall be given the responsibility to maintain, develop, protect and conserve such areas with the full and effective assistance of government agencies. Should the ICCs/IPs decide to transfer the responsibility over the areas, said decision must be made in writing. The consent of the ICCs/IPs should be arrived at in accordance with its customary laws without prejudice to the basic requirements of existing laws on free and prior informed consent: Provided, That the transfer shall be temporary and will ultimately revert to the ICCs/IPs in accordance with a program for technology transfer: Provided, further, That no ICCs/IPs shall be displaced or relocated for the purpose enumerated under this section without the written consent of the specific persons authorized to give consent.
SEC. 59. Certification Precondition. - All departments and other governmental agencies shall henceforth be strictly enjoined from issuing, renewing, or granting any concession, license or lease, or entering into any production-sharing agreement, without prior certification from the NCIP that the area affected does not overlap with any ancestral domain. Such certification shall only be issued after a field-based investigation is conducted by the Ancestral Domains Office of the area concerned: Provided, That no certification shall be issued by the NCIP without the free and prior informed and written consent of ICCs/IPs concerned: Provided, further, That no department, government agency or government-owned or controlled corporation may issue new concession, licence, lease, or production sharing agreement while there is a pending application for a CADT: Provided, finally, That the ICCs/IPs shall have the right to stop or suspend, in accordance with this Act, any project that has not satisfied the requirement of this consultation process.
SEC. 60. Exemption from Taxes. - All lands certified to be ancestral domains shall be exempt from real property taxes, special levies, and other forms of extraction except such portion of the ancestral domains as are actually used for large-scale agriculture, commercial forest plantation and residential purposes or upon titling by private persons: Provided, That all extractions shall be used to facilitate the development and improvement of the ancestral domains.
SEC. 61. Temporary Requisition Powers. - Prior to the establishment of an institutional surveying capacity whereby it can effectively fulfill its mandate, but in no case beyond three (3) years after its creation, the NCIP is hereby authorized to request the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) survey teams as well as other equally capable private survey teams, through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), to delineate ancestral domain perimeters. The DENR Secretary shall accomodate any such request within one (1) month of its issuance: Provided, That the Memorandum of Agreement shall stipulate, among others, a provision for technology transfer to the NCIP.
SEC. 62. Resolution of Conflicts. - In cases of conflicting interest, where there are adverse claims within the ancestral domains as delineated in the survey plan, and which can not be resolved, the NCIP shall hear and decide, after notice to the proper parties, the disputes arising from the delineation of such ancestral domains: Provided, That if the dispute is between and/or among ICCs/IPs regarding the traditional boundaries of their respective ancestral domains customary process shall be followed. The NCIP shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to carry out its adjucatory functions: Provided, further, That any decision, order, award or ruling of the NCIP on any ancestral domain dispute or on any matter pertaining to the application, implementation, enforcement and interpretation of this Act may be brought for Petition for Review to the Court of Appeals within fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy thereof.
SEC. 63. Applicable Laws. - Customary laws, traditions and practives of the ICCs/IPs of the land where the conflict arises shall be applied first with respect to property rights, claims and ownerships, hereditary succession and settlement of land disputes. Any doubt or ambiguity in the application and interpretation of laws shall be resolved in favor of the ICCs/IPs.
SEC. 64. Remedial Measures. - Expropriation may be resorted to in the resolution of conflicts of interest following the principle of the "common good." The NCIP shall take appropriate legal action for the cancellation of officially documented titles which were acquired illegally: Provided, That such procedure shall ensure that the rights of possessors in good faith shall be respected: Provided, further, That the action for cancellation shall be initiated within two(2) years from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, finally, That the action for reconveyance shall be within a period of ten(10) years in accordance with existing laws.
JURISDICTION AND PROCEDURES FOR
ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHTS
SEC. 65. Primacy of Customary Laws and Practices. - When disputes involve ICCs/IPs, customary laws and practices shall be used to resolve the dispute.
SEC. 66. Jurisdiction of the NCIP. - The NCIP, through its regional offices, shall have jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving rights of ICCs/IPs: Provided, however, That no such dispute shall be brought to the NCIP unless the parties have exhausted all remedies provided under their customary laws. For this purpose, a certification shall be issued by the Council of Elders/Leaders who participated in the attempt to settle the dispute that the same has been resolved, which certification shall be a condition precedent to the filing of a petition with the NCIP.
SEC. 67. Appeals to the Court of Appeals. - Decisions of the NCIP shall be appealable to the Court of Appeals by way of a petition for review.
SEC. 68. Execution of Decision, Awards, Orders. - Upon expiration of the period herein provided and no appeal is perfected by any of the contending parties, the Hearing Officer of the NCIP, on its own initiative or upon motion by the prevailing party, shall issue a writ of execution requiring the sheriff or the proper officer to execute final decisions, orders or awards of the Reginal Hearing Officer of the NCIP.
SEC. 69. Quasi-Judicial Powers of the NCIP. - The NCIP shall have the power and authority:
SEC. 70. No Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction. - No inferior court of the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against the NCIP or any of its duly authorized or designated offices in any case, dispute or controversy arising from, necessary to, or interpretation of this Act and other pertinent laws relating to ICCs/IPs and ancestral domains.
ANCESTRAL DOMAINS FUND
SEC. 71. Ancestral Domains Fund. - There is hereby created a special fund, to be known as the Ancestral Domains Fund, an initial amount of One hundred thirty million pesos (P130,000,000) to cover compensation for expropriated lands, delineation and development of ancestral domains. An amount of Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000) shall be sources from the gross income of the Philippine Charity Sweeptakes Office (PCSO) from its lotto operation. Ten million pesos (P10,000,000) from the gross receipts of the travel tax of the preceding year, the fund of the Social Reform Council intended for survey and delineation of the ancestral lands/domains, and such other source as the government may deem appropriate. Thereafter, such amount shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act. Foreign as well as local funds which are made available for the ICCs/IPs through the government of the Philippines shall be coursed through the NCIP. The NCIP may also solicit and receive donations, endowments and grants in the form of contribution, and such endowments shall be exempted from income or gift taxes and all other taxes, charges or fees imposed by the government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof.
SEC. 72. Punishable Acts and Applicable Penalties. - Any person who commits violation of any of the provisions of this Act, such as, but not limited to, unauthorized and/or unlawful intrusion upon any ancestral lands or domains as stated in Sec. 10, Chapter III, or shall commit any of the prohibited acts mentioned in Sections 21 and 24, Chapter V, Section 33, Chapter VI hereof, shall be punished in accordance with the customary laws of the ICCs/IPs concerned: Provided, That no such penalty shall be cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment: Provided, further, that neither shall the death penalty or excessive fines be imposed. This provision shall be without prejudice to the right of any ICCs/IPs to avail of the protection of existing laws. In which case, any person who violates any provision of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment of not less than nine (9) month but not more than twelve (12) years or a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000) nor more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) or both such fine and imprisonment upon the discretion of the court. In addition, he shall be obliged to pay to the ICCs/IPs concerned whatever damage may have been suffered by the latter as a consequence of the unlawful act.
SEC. 73. Persons Subject to Punishment. - If the offender is a judicial person, all officers such as, but not limited to, its president, manager, or head of office responsible for their unlawful act shall be criminally liable therefor, in addition to the cancellation of certificates of their registration and/or license: Provided, That if the offender is a public official, the penalty shall include perpetual disqualification to hold public office.
MERGER OF THE OFFICE FOR NORTHERN CULTURAL
COMMUNITIES (ONCC) AND THE OFFICE FOR
SOUTHERN CULTURAL COMMUNITIES (OSCC)
SEC. 74. Merger of ONCC/OSCC. - The Office for Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC) and the Office of Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC), created under Executive Order Nos. 122-B and 122-C respectively, are hereby merged as organic offices of the NCIP and shall continue to function under a revitalized and strengthened structures to achieve the objectives of the NCIP: Provided, That the positions of Staff Directors, Bureau Directors, Deputy Executive Directors and Executive Directors, except positions of Regional Directors and below, are hereby phased-out upon the effectivity of this Act: Provided, further, That officials and employees of the phased-out offices who may be qualified may apply for reappointment with the NCIP and may be given prior rights in the filling up of the newly created positions of NCIP, subject to the qualifications set by the newly created positions of NCIP, subject to the qualifications set by the Placement Committee: Provided, furthermore, That in the case where an indigenous person and a non-indigenous person with similar qualifications apply for the same position, priority shall be given to the former. Officers and employees who are to be phased-out as a result of the merger of their offices shall be entitled to gratuity a rate equivalent to one and a half (1 1/2) months salary for every of continuous and satisfactory service rendered or the equivalent nearest fraction thereof favorable to them on the basis of the highest salary received. If they are already entitled to retirement or gratuity, they shall have the option to select either such retirement benefits or the gratuity herein provided. Officers and employees who may be reinstated shall refund such retirement benefits or gratuity received: Provided, finally, That absorbed personnel must still meet the qualifications and standards set by the Civil Service and the Placement Committee herein created.
SEC. 75. Transition Period. - The ONCC/OSCC shall have a period of six(6) months from the effectivity of this Act within which to wind up its affairs and to conduct audit of its finances.
SEC. 76. Transfer of Assets/Properties. - All real and personal properties which are vested in, or belonging to, the merged offices as aforestated shall be transferred to the NCIP without further need of conveyance, transfer or assignment and shall be held for the same purpose as they were held by the former offices: Provided, That all contracts, records and documents relating to the operations of the merged offices shall be transferred to the NCIP. All agreements and contracts entered into by the merged offices shall remain in full force and effect unless otherwise terminated, modified or amended by the NCIP.
SEC. 77. Placement Committee. - Subject to rules on government reorganization, a Placement Committee shall be created by the NCIP, in coordination with the Civil Service Commission, which shall assist in the judicious selection and placement of personnel in order that the best qualified and most deserving persobs shall be appointed in the reorganized agency. The Placement Committee shall be composed of seven (7) commissioners and an ICCs’/IPs’ representative from each of the first and second level employees asssociation in the Offices for Northern and Southern Cultural Communities (ONCC/OSCC), nongovernment organizations (NGOs) who have served the community for at least (5) years and peoples organizations (Pos) with at least five (5) years of existence. They shall be guided by the criteria of retention and appointment to be prepared by the consultative body and by the pertinent provisions of the civil service laws.
SEC. 78. Special Provision. - The City of Baguio shall remain to be governed by its Charteer and all lands proclaimed as part of its townsite reservation shall remain as such until otherwise reclassified by appropriate legislation: Provided, That prior land rights and titles recognized and/or acquired through any judicial, administrative or other processes before the effectivity of this Act shall remain valid: Provided, further, That thisprovision shall not apply to any territory which becomes part of the City of Baguio after the effectivity of this Act.
SEC. 79. Appropriations. - The amount necessary to finance the initial implementation of this Act shall be charged against the current year’s appropriation of the ONCC and the OSCC. Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary for its continued implementation shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
SEC. 80. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - Within sixty (60) days immediately after appointment, the NCIP shall issue the necessary rules and regulations, in consultation with the Committees on National Cultural Communities of the House of Representatives and the Senate, for the effective implementation of this Act.
SEC. 81. Saving Clause. - This Act will not in any manner adversely affect the rights and benefits of the ICCs/IPs under other conventions, recommendations, international treaties, national laws, awards, customs and agreements.
SEC. 82. Separability Clause. - In case any provision of this Act or any portion thereof is declared unconstitutional by a competent court, other provisions shall not be affected thereby.
SEC. 83. Repealing Clause. - Presidential Decree No. 410, Executive Order Nos. 122-B and 122-C, and all other laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SEC. 84. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in any two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
(SGD.) JOSE DE VENECIA, JR. (SGD.) ERNESTO M. MACEDA
Speaker of the House of Representative President of the Senate
This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1728 and House Bill No. 9125 was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on October 22, 1997.
(SGD.) ROBERTO P. NAZARENO
(SGD.) LORENZO E. LEYNES, JR.
Secretary General Secretary of the Senate
House of Representative
Approved: October 29, 1997
(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS
President of the Philippines