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NCCA’s disregard of interagency courtesy

/ 12:10 AM February 06, 2016

This refers to the article titled “‘Development aggression’ blamed for ‘lumad’ killings in Mindanao,” by Lester Babiera (Lifestyle, 9/28/15).

Almost four months have passed since the article was published in the Inquirer, but the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has not responded to the statements made by National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chair Felipe de Leon Jr. who blamed development aggression on “selfish” and “corrupt” NCIP officers and personnel for the lumad killings.

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I was offended by the NCCA’s verbal attack on the institution that I once headed. I even discussed this matter with the present NCIP chair and expressed the view that the NCIP should respond to it. Yes, in deference to the present NCIP I waited this long to rebut the condescending, scornful and insulting views of the NCCA chair. During the celebration of the Indigenous People’s Month in Pampanga in October 2015, the NCCA allowed the bashing of the NCIP by the participants, disregarding interagency courtesy. I suspect that the NCCA is trying to lift its image in the public eye at the expense of the NCIP.

The NCCA chair’s perspective is so presumptuous, pompous and self-righteous.

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Scalawags are found not only in the NCIP but in other government agencies, including the NCCA. He is not on a high moral ground when he belittles an institution composed of IPs themselves.

Interdepartmental courtesy dictates that heads of other agencies should not publicly demean other departments but instead should discuss their differences with, or misgivings about, their fellow department heads among themselves.

Today, the growing respect for IPs may be attributed in large part to the efforts of the NCIP since its creation in 1997. As the NCIP continues to discharge its mandate and responsibilities well, I have no doubt that there will come a time when there will be no more need for so-called nongovernment organizations funded by foreign entities advocating IP rights.

Indeed, as the NCIP performs at its best, albeit quietly, definitely more attacks will come its way from external entities that are becoming obsolete, desperately dipping their hands into matters outside their competence.

—EUGENIO A. INSIGNE, MNSA,former chair, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (2007-2010), and former member, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2008-2010)

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TAGS: Indigenous People, interagency courtesy, Lumad, lumad killings, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, NCCA, NCIP
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