Cordillera: Moves to Protect Indigenous Rights
Indigenous people may soon win long overdue recognition of their rights to ancestral lands that up to now have been exploited by the state.
Below is an article published by Sun.Star Baguio:
The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) welcomed the recent pronouncement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno to hold a workshop on the socio-economic rights of the marginalized, including people's organizations.
"This move may help in giving indigenous peoples (IPs) the justice the state has denied them. It may help in giving justice for the decades of oppression they have suffered," CPA chairperson Beverly Longid said.
Longid added that the move would make the courts more accessible, especially to the poor.
She said the Supreme Court (SC) should look into impediments in the legal system such as the high cost of litigation including standard filing and appeal fees and lawyer's fees. "As it is, the courts are jammed to the brim," Longid said.
According to her, issues on ancestral land rights also have to be addressed. This will involve a review of existing government laws, policies and programs, which impact on IPs.
One such law is the Regalian Doctrine. Because this has declared all lands in the archipelago belongs to the state, government and businesses have exploited this and used it to advance their own interests, resulting in deprivation of the IPs rights to their ancestral lands.
"The Regalian Doctrine has failed for generations to give recognition since time immemorial possession and development of ancestral lands," Longid said.
Longid stressed the "recognition of indigenous peoples' rights entails the recognition of their indigenous socio-political systems, especially the existing and effective indigenous justice systems. This must be regarded, over the imposition of the legal justice system in areas where it is not effective or applicable."
Note: For more information on the Regalian Doctrine (or jura regalia) please click on the link below: