HARMONIZING POLICIES. Key officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Cagayan Valley held today a virtual dialogue to harmonize understanding on laws and regulations being implemented by the two agencies.
The meeting initiated by the DENR was spearheaded by Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan and NCIP Regional Director Ronaldo Daquioag and was joined by the provincial heads, legal officers and technical officials of both agencies.
According to Director Bambalan, the dialogue was also held to clarify concerns on the issuance of NCIP clearances.
During the meeting, DENR’s licenses, patents and deeds division chief Eliseo Mabasa discussed the salient provisions of DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2021-27 on the issuance of Provisional Agreement for all tenure instruments applied for and/or issued by the DENR under the forestry sector.
Under the DAO, a Provisional Agreement with a validity of two years shall be issued by the Regional Executive Director in order to provide the applicant ample time to secure the corresponding Certification Precondition (CP) and/or Certificate of Non-Overlap (CNO).
“As government agencies, we have the same vision and goal. We are for conservation and development of resources while we recognize the rights of the indigenous peoples,” Director Bambalan said.
She underscored the need to fast track issuance of permits. “We have to support the development of the forest industry which has been declared by Secretary Cimatu as one of the economic recovery measures. But before they can initiate economic activities within the identified forestland areas, they will have to be provided with tenure instrument which in turn requires the issuance of NCIP clearances in compliance with the IPRA law,” the regional environment chief explained.
For his part, RD Daquioag has acknowledged that there have been policy gaps between the DENR and the NCIP. “We thank the DENR for initiating this first meeting with key officials on board as a step in the right direction to discuss issues and concerns on ancestral domain which have beset the agencies for a long time,” he said.
The NCIP regional chief committed to submit to the DENR the status report and chronology of events of pending applications for CP and CNO, including the map of identified ancestral domain in Region 2. He requested for the presentation of the different laws and regulations implemented by his office in the succeeding meeting.
The two agencies have agreed to conduct regular consultation meetings and to designate focal persons for closer coordination.#