Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas has asserted that the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the Philippines is violating the freedom of expression of Indigenous Peoples.
The organization maintains that this violation is taking place through the manipulation of the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) process.
“The construction of destructive dam and mine projects on ancestral lands is often railroaded through fraudulent FPIC documents,” stated Beverly Longid, the national convenor of Katribu.
Longid specifically highlighted the case of former NCIP chairperson Allen Capuyan, who, along with other officials, faced administrative cases at the Ombudsman for falsifying FPIC documents related to the operations of the National Cement Corporation/San Miguel Northern Cement Inc. (NCC/SMNCI) within the ancestral lands of the Bag-o in Pangasinan.
In December 2023, the Isnag Yapayao Balangon Tribal Council Inc. (IYBTC) and Isnag Yapayao Ugayam Tribal Council (IYUTC) criticized the NCIP-Ilocos Norte for abruptly completing the FPIC process for the construction of the Cabacanan Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (CSRIP) of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
Katribu issued this statement after the NCIP expressed its support for the visit of Ms. Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur (SR) on freedom of opinion and expression, to the country.
The NCIP stated that Khan’s visit aims “to highlight the commitment of the Republic of the Philippines to the right to freedom of opinion and expression of all sectors in general and Indigenous Peoples in particular.”
Longid accused the NCIP of serving “only as an instrument of plunder and violence in the countryside.”
She also alleged that “attacks on Indigenous Peoples have intensified” and claimed that the NCIP is collaborating with the government’s anti-communist task force.
“As we condemn these attacks, we challenge the current NCIP chairperson, Jennifer Sibug-Las, to not be another Capuyan and a parrot of the current administration. She should stand with her fellow Indigenous Peoples for land, genuine development, and self-determination,” Longid said.