SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
A party-list solon representing indigenous peoples lauded the draft charter recently approved by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) for recognizing the welfare and rights of IPs, particularly the provision mandating that seats be reserved for IPs in the legislative department under Article VII.
The 22-member Con-Com that formally convened in February this year unanimously approved the draft Constitution, which will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte on July 9.
ANAC-IP Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr. pointed out that the provision in the new charter setting aside seats in the legislative department for IPs is good news, “as IPs are under-represented.”
Article VII-Legislative Department, Section 5(d) of the draft charter states that “for three consecutive terms following the ratification of this Constitution, one half of the seats set aside for parties voted under the proportional representation system shall be reserved for labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous peoples and fisherfolk groups, provided that they organize themselves as parties or coalitions of parties. The other half of the total seats allocated for proportional representation shall be open to all other political parties or coalitions thereof.”
Panganiban said that he had looked forward to the adoption of the proposal requiring representatives from the marginalized sector, IPs, and environmental advocates in the Commission on Human Rights. However, the said proposal was not included in the approved draft.
Panganiban nonetheless expressed confidence that in upcoming regional consultation, the proposal––along with any other inputs from indigenous peoples––could again be put forward and eventually included.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to take another look at our Constitution so that we can see how it can be more responsive to the needs and aspirations of IPs. The President deserves credit for having the political will to deliver on his promise to have the Constitution reviewed and amended during his term,” said the legislator.
The lawmaker also vowed to hold consultative meetings with indigenous peoples groups and legal experts to determine whether specific provisions in the draft constitution should be strengthened or added.
“Aside from the regional consultations that the ConCom will hold, we plan to conduct separate consultations with our constituency,” said Panganiban.
“This will be crucial in ensuring that the expectations of IPs are aligned with the whole process of changing the Constitution, and will serve as our guide as we convene the constituent assembly.”
SOURCE: Office of Rep. Jose T. Panganiban, Jr., CPA,LLB