The Regional Development Council-Committee on Indigenous Peoples Concerns (RDC-CIPC) conducted its first meeting after three years on May 11, 2018 at the NEDA Conference Hall, Butuan City. National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Regional Director Jose “Jake” Dumagan, Jr. chaired the meeting to discuss issues concerning the Indigenous Peoples (IP), and introduce the Peace and Development Zone (PDZ) as a strategy in implementing the Caraga Roadmap for Peace (CRMP).

RDC Vice Chairperson and NEDA Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño presented the mandates and membership of RDC-CIPC, which was formed through RDC Resolution No. 33 Series of 2012 entitled, “Creating a Special Committee on Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns as an Affiliate Committee of the Caraga Regional Development Council”, passed on 03 October 2012 during the 72nd Regional Development Council Meeting in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. The RDC-CIPC acts as oversight committee on IP issues and concerns in Caraga to ensure that these issues are provided preferential treatment and appropriate solutions; and that the same concerns are integrated in the local and regional development plans.

RDC-CIPC Chairperson Dumagan also presented the NCIP Mandate, and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) provisions. Further, he gave updates on the long-standing issues related to delineation, titling, and preparation of Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP).

Mila Garcia of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) provided updates on the operationalization of the Joint Administrative Order No. 01 Series of 2012, “Clarifying, Restating and Interfacing the Respective Jurisdictions, Policies, Programs and Projects of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Land Registration Authority (LRA), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Order to Address Jurisdictional and Operational Issues Between and Among the Agencies.”

The presentation on the PDZs by Department of the Interior and Local Government-Butuan City Director Ms. Charissa Guerta highlighted the initiatives of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in addressing the identified major conflicts in the region. Ms. Guerta emphasized that PDZs will be implemented in the identified priority areas through the promotion of peace building process where reconciliation, institution building, political and economic transformation will be attained. She cited that the success of the PDZs require concerted effort of the Local Development Councils and the Local Peace and Order Councils. The PDZs are hoped to contribute to the attainment of the RPOC’s vision, of “A Peaceful and Progressive Caraga with diverse, empowered and culturally sensitive communities living in a sustainable environment and enjoying equal rights and opportunities.”

Hazel Fuentes, NEDA-Caraga