Tuesday, January 19, 2010

REPUBLIC ACT 8371


S. No. 1728
H. No. 9125
Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila
Tenth Congress
Third Regular Session

Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday the twenty-eighth day of July, nineteen hundred
and Ninety-Seven

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8371
AN ACT TO RECOGNIZE, PROTECT AND PROMOTE THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS
CULTURAL COMMUNITIES/ INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, CREATING A NATIONAL
COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, ESTABLISHING IMPLEMENTING
MECHANISMS, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress
assembled:

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS
SECTION 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act
of 1997".
SEC. 2. Declaration of State Policies. - The State shall recognize and promote all the rights of
Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) hereunder enumerated
within the framework of the Constitution:
a) The State shall recognize and promote the rights of ICCs/IPs within the framework of
national unity and development;
b) The State shall protect the rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains to ensure their
economic, social and cultural well being and shall recognize the applicability of customary
laws governing property rights or relations in determining the ownership and extent of
ancestral domain;
c) The State shall recognize, respect and protect the rights of ICCs/ IPs to preserve and
develop their cultures, traditions and institutions. It shall consider these rights in the
formulation of national laws and policies;
2
d) The State shall guarantee that members of the ICCs/IPs regardless of sex, shall equally
enjoy the full measure of Human rights and freedoms without distinction or discrimination;
e) The State shall take measures, with the participation of the ICCs/ IPs concerned, to protect
their rights and guarantee respect for their cultural integrity, and to ensure that members of
the ICCs/IPs benefit on an equal footing from the rights and opportunities which national
laws and regulations grant to other members of the population; and
f) The State recognizes its obligations to respond to the strong expression of the ICCs/IPs for
cultural integrity by assuring maximum ICC/IP participation in the direction of education,
health, as well as other services of ICCs/lPs, in order to render such services more responsive
to the needs and desires of these communities.
Towards these ends, the State shall institute and establish the necessary mechanisms to
enforce and guarantee the realization of these rights, taking into consideration their customs,
traditions, values, beliefs interests and institutions, and to adopt and implement measures to
protect their rights to their ancestral domains.

CHAPTER II

DEFINITION OF TERMS

SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall mean:

a) Ancestral Domains - Subject to Section 56 hereof, refer to all areas generally belonging to
ICCs/IPs comprising lands, inland waters, coastal areas, and natural resources therein, held
under a claim of ownership, occupied or possessed by ICCs/IPs, by themselves or through
their ancestors, communally or individually since time immemorial, continuously to the
present except when interrupted by war, force majeure or displacement by force, deceit,
stealth or as a consequence of government projects or any other voluntary dealings entered
into by government and private individuals/corporations, and which are necessary to ensure
their economic, social and cultural welfare. It shall include ancestral lands, forests, pasture,
residential, agricultural, and other lands individually owned whether alienable and disposable
or otherwise, hunting grounds, burial grounds, worship areas, bodies of water, mineral and
other natural resources, and lands which may no longer be exclusively occupied by ICCs/IPs
but from which they traditionally had access to for their subsistence and traditional activities,
particularly the home ranges of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators;

b) Ancestral Lands - Subject to Section 56 hereof, refers to land occupied, possessed and
utilized by individuals, families and clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since time
immemorial, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, under claims of
individual or traditional group ownership, continuously, to the present except when
interrupted by war, force majeure or displacement by force, deceit, stealth, or as a
consequence of government projects and other voluntary dealings entered into by government
and private individuals/corporations including, but not limited to, residential lots, rice
terraces or paddies, private forests, swidden farms and tree lots;



c) Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title - refers to a title formally recognizing the rights of
possession and ownership of ICCs/IPs over their ancestral domains identified and delineated
in accordance with this law;

d) Certificate of Ancestral Lands Title - refers to a title formally recognizing the rights of
ICCs/IPs over their ancestral lands;

e) Communal Claims - refer to claims on land, resources and rights thereon; belonging to the
whole community within a defined territory;

f) Customary Laws - refer to a body of written and/or unwritten rules, usages, customs and
practices traditionally and continually recognized, accepted and observed by respective
ICCs/IPs;

g) Free and Prior Informed Consent - as used in this Act shall mean the consensus of all
members of the ICCs/IPs to be determined in accordance with their respective customary
laws and practices, free from any external manipulation, interference coercion, and obtained
after fully disclosing the intent and scope of the activity, in a language and process
understandable to the community;

h) Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples - refer to a group of people or
homogenous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others, who have
continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory,
and who have, under claims of ownership since time immemorial, occupied, possessed and
utilized such territories, sharing common bonds of language, customs, traditions and other
distinctive cultural traits, or who have, through resistance to political, social and cultural
inroads of colonization, non-indigenous religions and cultures, became historically
differentiated from the majority of Filipinos. ICCs/IPs shall likewise include peoples who are
regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the
country, at the time of conquest or colonization, or at the time of inroads of non-indigenous
religions and cultures, or the establishment of present state boundaries, who retain some or all
of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions, but who may have been
displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral
domains;

i) Indigenous Political Structures - refer to organizational and cultural leadership systems,
institutions, relationships, patterns and processes for decision-making and participation,
identified by ICCs/IPs such as, but not limited to, Council of Elders, Council of Timuays,
Bodong Holders, or any other tribunal or body of similar nature;

j) Individual Claims - refer to claims on land and rights thereon which have been devolved to
individuals, families and clans including, but not limited to, residential lots, rice terraces or
paddies and tree lots;

k) National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) - refers to the office created under
his Act, which shall be under the Office of the President, and which shall be the primary
government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and
programs to recognize, protect and promote the rights of ICCs/IPs;



l) Native Title - refers to pre-conquest rights to lands and domains which, as far back as
memory reaches, have been held under a claim of private ownership by ICCs/IPs, have never
been public lands and are thus indisputably presumed to have been held that way since before
the Spanish Conquest;
m)Nongovernment Organization - refers to a private, nonprofit voluntary organization that
has been organized primarily for the delivery of various services to the ICCs/IPs and has an
established track record for effectiveness and acceptability in the community where it serves;
n) People's Organization - refers to a private, nonprofit voluntary organization of members of
an ICC/IP which is accepted as representative of such ICCs/IPs;

o) Sustainable Traditional Resource Rights - refer to the rights of ICCs/IPs to sustainably use,
manage, protect and conserve a) land, air, water, and minerals; b) plants, animals and other
organisms; c) collecting, fishing and hunting grounds; d) sacred sites; and e) other areas of
economic, ceremonial and aesthetic value in accordance with their indigenous knowledge,
beliefs, systems and practices; and

p) Time Immemorial - refers to a period of time when as far back as memory can go, certain
ICCs/IPs are known to have occupied, possessed in the concept of owner, and utilized a
defined territory devolved to them, by operation of customary law or inherited from their
ancestors, in accordance with their customs and traditions.

CHAPTER III

RIGHTS TO ANCESTRAL DOMAINS

SEC. 4. Concept of Ancestral Lands/Domains. - Ancestral lands/ domains shall include such
concepts of territories which cover not only the physical environment but the total
environment including the spiritual and cultural bonds to the areas which the ICCs/IPs
possess, occupy and use and to which they have claims of ownership.

SEC. 5. Indigenous Concept of Ownership. - Indigenous concept of ownership sustains the
view that ancestral domains and all resources found therein shall serve as the material bases
of their cultural integrity. The indigenous concept of ownership generally holds that ancestral
domains are the ICC's/IP's private but community property which belongs to all generations
and therefore cannot be sold, disposed or destroyed. It likewise covers sustainable traditional
resource rights.

SEC. 6. Composition of Ancestral Lands/Domains. - Ancestral lands and domains shall
consist of all areas generally belonging to ICCs/ IPs as referred under Sec. 3, items (a) and
(b) of this Act.

SEC. 7. Rights to Ancestral Domains. - The rights of ownership and possession of ICCs/IPs
to their ancestral domains shall be recognized and protected. Such rights shall include:

a) Right of Ownership - The right to claim ownership over lands, bodies of water
traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs, sacred places, traditional hunting and fishing
grounds, and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains;



b)Right to Develop Lands and Natural Resources. - Subject to Section 56 hereof, right to
develop, control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied, owned, or used; to
manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities
for future generations; to benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of the
natural resources found therein; the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the
exploration of natural resources in the areas for the purpose of ensuring ecological,
environmental protection and the conservation measures, pursuant to national and customary
laws; the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and
implementation of any project, government or private, that will affect or impact upon the
ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may
sustain as a result of the project; and the right to effective measures by the government to
prevent any interference with, alienation and encroachment upon these rights;

c) Right to Stay in the Territories. - The right to stay in the territory and not to be removed
therefrom. No ICCs/IPs will be relocated without their free and prior informed consent, nor
through any means other than eminent domain. Where relocation is considered necessary as
an exceptional measure, such relocation shall take place only with the free and prior informed
consent of the ICCs/IPs concerned and whenever possible, they shall be guaranteed the right
to return to their ancestral domains, as soon as the grounds for relocation cease to exist.
When such return is not possible, as determined by agreement or through appropriate
procedures, ICCs/IPs shall be provided in all possible cases with lands of quality and legal
status at least equal to that of the land previously occupied by them, suitable to provide for
their present needs and future development. Persons thus relocated shall likewise be fully
compensated for any resulting loss or injury;

d) Right in Case of Displacement. - In case displacement occurs as a result of natural
catastrophes, the State shall endeavor to resettle the displaced ICCs/IPs in suitable areas
where they can have temporary life support systems: Provided, That the displaced ICCs/IPs
shall have the right to return to their abandoned lands until such time that the normalcy and
safety of such lands shall be determined: Provided, further, That should their ancestral
domain cease to exist and normalcy and safety of the previous settlements are not possible,
displaced ICCs/IPs shall enjoy security of tenure over lands to which they have been
resettled: Provided furthermore, That basic services and livelihood shall be provided to them
to ensure that their needs are adequately addressed;

e) Right to Regulate Entry of Migrants. - Right to regulate the entry of migrant settlers and
organizations into the domains;

f) Right to Safe and Clean Air and Water. - For this purpose, the ICCs/IPs shall have access
to integrated systems for the management of their inland waters and air space;

g) Right to Claim Parts of Reservations -The right to claim parts of the ancestral domains
which have been reserved for various purposes, except those reserved and intended for
common and public welfare and service; and

h) Right to Resolve Conflict. - Right to resolve land conflicts in accordance with customary
laws of the area where the land is located, and only in default thereof shall the complaints be
submitted to amicable settlement and to the Courts of Justice whenever necessary.


SEC. 8. Rights to Ancestral Lands. - The right of ownership and possession of the ICCs /IPs
to their ancestral lands shall be recognized and protected.
a) Right to transfer land/property. - Such right shall include the right to transfer land or
property rights to/among members of the same ICCs/IPs, subject to customary laws and
traditions of the community concerned.

b) Right to Redemption. - In cases where it is shown that the transfer of land/property rights
by virtue of any agreement or devise, to a nonmember of the concerned ICCs/IPs is tainted by
the vitiated consent of the ICCs/IPs, or is transferred for an unconscionable consideration or
price, the transferor ICC/IP shall have the right to redeem the same within a period not
exceeding fifteen (15) years from the date of transfer.

SEC. 9. Responsibilities of ICCs/IPs to their`4ncestral Domains. -ICCs/IPs occupying a duly
certified ancestral domain shall have the following responsibilities:

a) Maintain Ecological Balance. - To preserve, restore, and maintain a balanced ecology in
the ancestral domain by protecting the flora and fauna, watershed areas, and other reserves;

b) Restore Denuded Areas. - To actively initiate, undertake and participate in the
reforestation of denuded areas and other development programs and projects subject to just
and reasonable remuneration; and

c) Observe Laws. - To observe and comply with the provisions of this Act and the rules and
regulations for its effective implementation.

SEC. 10. Unauthorized and Unlawful Intrusion. - Unauthorized end unlawful intrusion upon,
or use of any portion of the ancestral domain, or any violation of the rights herein before
enumerated, shall be punishable under this law. Furthermore, the Government shall take
measures to prevent non-ICCs/IPs from taking advantage of the ICCs/IPs customs or lack of
understanding of laws to secure ownership, possession of land belonging to said ICCs/IPs.

SEC. 11. Recognition of Ancestral Domain Rights. - The rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral
domains by virtue of Native Title shall be recognized and respected. Formal recognition,
when solicited by ICCs/ IPs concerned, shall be embodied in a Certificate of Ancestral
Domain Title (CADT), which shall recognize the title of the concerned ICCs/IPs over the
territories identified and delineated.

SEC. 12. Option to Secure Certificate of Title Under Commonwealth Act 141, as amended,
or the Land Registration Act 496. - Individual members of cultural communities, with respect
to their individually-owned ancestral lands who, by themselves or through their
predecessors-in-interest, have been in continuous possession and occupation of the same in
the concept of owner since time immemorial or for a period of not less than thirty (30) years
immediately preceding the approval of this Act and uncontested by the members of the same
ICCs/ IPs shall have the option to secure title to their ancestral lands under the provisions of
Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, or the Land Registration Act 496.



For this purpose, said individually-owned ancestral lands, which are agricultural in character
and actually used for agricultural, residential, pasture, and tree farming purposes, including
those with a slope of eighteen percent (18%) or more, are hereby classified as alienable and
disposable agricultural lands.
The option granted under this section shall be exercised within twenty (20) years from the
approval of this Act.

CHAPTER IV

RIGHT TO SELF-GOVERNANCE AND EMPOWERMENT

SEC. 13. Self-Governance. - The State recognizes the inherent right of ICCs/IPs to
self-governance and self-determination and respects the integrity of their values, practices
and institutions. Consequently, the State shall guarantee the right of ICCs/IPs to freely pursue
their economic, social and cultural development.

SEC. 14. Support for Autonomous Regions. - The State shall continue to strengthen and
support the autonomous regions created under the Constitution as they may require or need.
The State shall likewise encourage other ICCs/IPs not included or outside Muslim Mindanao
and the Cordilleras to use the form and content of their ways of life as may be compatible
with the fundamental rights defined in the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and
other internationally recognized human rights.

SEC. 15. Justice System, Conflict Resolution Institutions, and Peace Building Processes. -
The ICCs/IPs shall have the right to use their own commonly accepted justice systems,
conflict resolution institutions, peace building processes or mechanisms and other customary
laws and practices within their respective communities and as may be compatible with the
national legal system and with internationally recognized human rights.
SEC. 16. Right to Participate in Decision-Making - ICCs/IPs have the right to participate
fully, if they so choose, at all levels of decision making in matters which may affect their
rights, lives and destinies through procedures determined by them as well as to maintain and
develop their own indigenous political structures. Consequently, the State shall ensure that
the ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other local
legislative councils.

SEC. 17. Right to Determine and Decide Priorities for Development. - The ICCs/IPs shall
have the right to determine and decide their own priorities for development affecting their
lives, beliefs, institutions, spiritual well-being, and the lands they own, occupy or use. They
shall participate in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies, plans and
programs for national, regional and local development which may directly affect them.
SEC. 18. Tribal Barangays. - The ICCs/IPs living in contiguous areas or communities where
they form the predominant population but which are located in municipalities, provinces or
cities where they do not constitute the majority of the population, may form or constitute a
separate barangay in accordance with the Local Government Code on the creation of tribal
barangays.



SEC. 19. Role of Peoples Organizations. - The State shall recognize and respect the role of
independent ICCs/IPs organizations to enable the ICCs/IPs to pursue and protect their
legitimate and collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means.
SEC. 20. Means for Development/Empowerment of ICCs/lPs. - The Government shall
establish the means for the full development/ empowerment of the ICCs/IPs own institutions
and initiatives and, where necessary, provide the resources needed therefor.

CHAPTER V

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

SEC. 21. Equal Protection and Non-discrimination of ICCs/lPs. -Consistent with the equal
protection clause of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, the Charter of the
United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including the Convention on the
Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and International Human Rights Law, the
State shall, with due recognition of their distinct characteristics and identity accord to the
members of the ICCs/IPs the rights, protections and privileges enjoyed by the rest of the
citizenry. It shall extend to them the same employment rights, opportunities, basic services,
educational and other rights and privileges available to every member of the society.
Accordingly, the State shall likewise ensure that the employment of any form of force or
coercion against ICCs/IPs shall be dealt with by law.
The State shall ensure that the fundamental human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the
Constitution and relevant international instruments are guaranteed also to indigenous women.
Towards this end, no provision in this Act shall be interpreted so as to result in the
diminution of rights and privileges already recognized and accorded to women under existing
laws of general application.

SEC. 22. Rights during Armed Conflict. - ICCs/IPs have the right to special protection and
security in periods of armed conflict. The State shall observe international standards, in
particular the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, for the protection of civilian populations in
circumstances of emergency and armed conflict, and shall not recruit members of the
ICCs/IPs against their will into the armed forces, and in particular, for use against other
ICCs/IPs; nor recruit children of ICCs/ IPs into the armed forces under any circumstance; nor
force indigenous individuals to abandon their lands, territories and means of subsistence, or
relocate them in special centers for military purposes under any discriminatory condition.
SEC. 23. Freedom from Discrimination and Right to Equal Opportunity and Treatment. - It
shall be the right of the ICCs/IPs to be free from any form of discrimination, with respect to
recruitment and conditions of employment, such that they may enjoy equal opportunities for
admission to employment, medical and social assistance, safety as well as other
occupationally -related benefits, informed of their rights under existing labor legislation and
of means available to them for redress, not subject to any coercive recruitment systems,
including bonded labor and other forms of debt servitude; and equal treatment in employment
for men and women, including the protection from sexual harassment.
Towards this end, the State shall, within the framework of national laws and regulations, and
in cooperation with the ICCs/IPs concerned, adopt special measures to ensure the effective
protection with regard to the recruitment and conditions of employment of persons belonging
to these communities, to the extent that they are not effectively protected by laws applicable
to workers in general.

ICCs/IPs shall have the right to association and freedom for all trade union activities and the
right to conclude collective bargaining agreements with employers' organizations. They shall
likewise have the right not to be subject to working conditions hazardous to their health,
particularly through exposure to pesticides and other toxic substances.

SEC. 24. Unlawful Acts Pertaining to Employment. - It shall be unlawful for any person:

a) To discriminate against any ICC/IP with respect to the terms and conditions of
employment on account of their descent. Equal remuneration shall be paid to ICC/IP and
non-ICC/IP for work of equal value; and

b) To deny any ICC/IP employee any right or benefit herein provided for or to discharge
them for the purpose of preventing them from enjoying any of the rights or benefits provided
under this Act.

SEC. 25. Basic Services. - The ICCs/IPs have the right to special measures for the immediate,
effective and continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions, including in
the areas of employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and
social security. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous
women, elderly, youth, children and differently-abled persons. Accordingly, the State shall
guarantee the right of ICCs/IPs to government's basic services which shall include, but not
limited to, water and electrical facilities, education, health and infrastructure.

SEC. 26. Women. - ICC/IP women shall enjoy equal rights and opportunities with men, as
regards the social, economic, political and cultural spheres of life. The participation of
indigenous women in He decision-making process in all levels, as well as in the development
of society, shall be given due respect and recognition.
The State shall provide full access to education, maternal and child care, health and nutrition,
and housing services to indigenous women. Vocational, technical, professional and other
forms of training shall be provided to enable these women to fully participate in all aspects of
social life. As far as possible, the State shall ensure that indigenous women have access to all
services in their own languages.

SEC. 27. Children and Youth. - The State shall recognize the vital role of the children and
youth of ICCs/IPs in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral,
spiritual, intellectual end social well-being. Towards this end, the State shall support all
government programs intended for the development and rearing of the children and youth of
ICCs/IPs for civic efficiency and establish such mechanisms as may be necessary for the
protection of the rights of the indigenous children and youth.

SEC. 28. Integrated System of Education. - The State shall, through the NCIP, provide a
complete, adequate and integrated system of education, relevant to the needs of the children
and young people of ICCs/ IPs.

CHAPTER VI

CULTURAL INTEGRITY

SEC. 29. Protection of Indigenous Culture, Traditions and Institutions. - The State shall
respect, recognize and protect the right of ICCs/IPs to preserve and protect their culture,
traditions and institutions. It shall consider these rights in the formulation and application of
national plans and policies.

SEC. 30. Educational Systems. - The State shall provide equal access to various cultural
opportunities to the ICCs/IPs through the educational system, public or private cultural
entities, scholarships, grants and other incentives without prejudice to their right to establish
and control their educational systems and institutions by providing education in their own
language, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
Indigenous children/youth shall have the right to all levels and forms of education of the
State.

SEC. 31. Recognition of Cultural Diversity. - The State shall endeavor to have the dignity
and diversity of the cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations of the ICCs/IPs
appropriately reflected in all forms of education, public information and cultural-educational
exchange. Consequently, the State shall take effective measures, in consultation with
ICCs/IPs concerned, to eliminate prejudice and discrimination and to promote tolerance,
understanding and good relations among ICCs/IPs and all segments of society. Furthermore,
the Government shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect
indigenous cultural diversity. The State shall likewise ensure the participation of appropriate
indigenous leaders in schools, communities and international cooperative undertakings like
festivals, conferences, seminars and workshops to promote and enhance their distinctive
heritage and values.

SEC. 32. Community Intellectual Rights. - ICCs/IPs have the right to practice and revitalize
their own cultural traditions and customs. The State shall presence, protect and develop the
past, present and future manifestations of their cultures as well as the right to the restitution
of cultural, intellectual religious, and spiritual property taken without their free and prior
informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

SEC. 33. Rights to Religious, Cultural Sites and Ceremonies. -ICCs/IPs shall have the right
to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and
ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect and have access to their religious and cultural sites;
the right to use and control of ceremonial objects; and, the right to the repatriation of human
remains. Accordingly, the State shall take effective measures, in cooperation with the
ICCs/IPs concerned to ensure that indigenous sacred places, including burial sites, be
preserved, respected and protected. To achieve this purpose, it shall be unlawful to:

a) Explore, excavate or make diggings on archeological sites of the ICCs/IPs for the purpose
of obtaining materials of cultural values without the free and prior informed consent of the
community concerned; and

b) Deface, remove or otherwise destroy artifacts which are of great importance to the
ICCs/IPs for the preservation of their cultural heritage.


SEC. 34. Right to Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices and to Develop own
Sciences and Technologies. - ICCs/IPs are entitled to the recognition of the full ownership
and control end protection of their cultural and intellectual rights. They shall have the right to
special measures to control, develop and protect their sciences, technologies and cultural
manifestations, including human and other genetic resources, seeds, including derivatives of
these resources, traditional medicines and hearth practices, vital medicinal plants, animals
and minerals, indigenous knowledge systems and practices, knowledge of the properties of
fauna and flora, oral traditions, literature, designs, and visual and performing arts.

SEC. 35. Access to Biological and Genetic Resources. - Access to biological and genetic
resources and to indigenous knowledge related to the conservation, utilization and
enhancement of these resources, shall be allowed within ancestral lands and domains of the
ICCs/IPs only with a free and prior informed consent of such communities, obtained in
accordance with customary laws of the concerned community.

SEC. 36. Sustainable Agro-Technical Development. - The State shall recognize the right of
ICCs/IPs to a sustainable agro-technological development and shall formulate and implement
programs of action for its effective implementation. The State shall likewise promote the
big-genetic and resource management systems among the ICCs/IPs shall encourage
cooperation among government agencies to ensure the successful sustainable development of
ICCs/IPs.

SEC. 37. Funds for Archeological and Historical Sites. - The ICCs/ IPs shall have the right to
receive from the national government all funds especially earmarked or allocated for the
management and preservation of their archeological and historical sites and artifacts with the
financial and technical support of the national government agencies.


CHAPTER VII

NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (NCIP)

SEC. 38. National Commission on Indigenous Cultural Communities/lndigenous Peoples
(NCIP). - To carry out the policies herein set forth, there shall be created the National
Commission on ICCs/ IPs (NCIP), which shall be the primary government agency
responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs to
promote and protect the rights and well-being of the ICCs/IPs and the recognition of their
ancestral domains as well as their rights thereto.
SEC. 39. Mandate. - The NCIP shall protect and promote the interest and well-being of the
ICCs/IPs with due regard to their beliefs, customs, traditions and institutions.

SEC. 40. Composition. - The NCIP shall be an independent agency under the Office of the
President and shall be composed of seven (7) Commissioners belonging to ICCs/IPs, one (1)
of whom shall be the Chairperson. The Commissioners shall be appointed by the President of
the Philippines from a list of recommenders submitted by authentic ICCs/ IPs: Provided, That
the seven (7) Commissioners shall be appointed specifically from each of the following
ethnographic areas: Region I and the Cordilleras, Region II, the rest of Luzon, Island Groups
including Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon, Panay and the rest of the Visayas; Northern and
Western Mindanao; Southern and Eastern Mindanao; and Central Mindanao: Provided, That
at least two (2) of the seven(7) Commissioners shall be women.

SEC. 41. Qualifications, Tenure, Compensation. - The Chairperson and the six (6)
Commissioners must tee natural born Filipino citizens, bonafide members of ICCs/IPs as
certified by his/her tribe, experienced in ethnic affairs and who have worked for at least ten
(10) years with an ICC/IP community and/or any government agency involved in ICC/IP, at
least 35 years of age at the time of appointment, and must be of proven honesty and integrity:
Provided, That at least two (2) of the seven (7) Commissioners shall be members of the Philippine Bar: Provided, farther, the members of the NCIP shall hold office for a period of three (3) years, and may be subject to re-appointment for another term: Provided, furthermore, That no person shall serve for more than two (2) terms. Appointment to any vacancy shall only be for the unexpired term of the predecessor and in no case shall a member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity: Provided, finally, That the Chairperson and the Commissioners shall be entitled to compensation m accordance with the Salary Standardization Law.

SEC. 42. Removal from office. - Any member of the NCIP may be removed from office by
the President, on his own initiative or upon recommendation by any indigenous community,
before the expiration of his term for cause and after complying with due process requirement
of law.

SEC. 43. Appointment of Commissioners. - The President shall appoint the seven (7)
Commissioners of the NCIP within ninety (90) days from the effectivity of this Act.

SEC. 44. Powers and Functions. - To accomplish its mandate, the NCIP shall have the
following powers, jurisdiction and function:

a) To serve as the primary government agency through which ICCs/IPs can seek government
assistance and as the medium, through which such assistance may be extended;

b) To review and assess the conditions of ICCs/IPs including existing laws and policies
pertinent thereto and to propose relevant laws and policies to address their role in national
development;

c) To formulate and implement policies, plans, programs and projects for the economic,
social and cultural development of the ICCs/IPs and to monitor the implementation thereof;

d) To request and engage the services and support of experts from other agencies of
government or employ private experts and consultants as may be required in the pursuit of its
objectives;

e) To issue certificate of ancestral land/domain title;

f) Subject to existing laws, to enter into contracts, agreements, or arrangement, with
government or private agencies or entities as may be necessary to attain the objectives of this
Act, and subject to the approval of the President, to obtain loans from government lending
institutions and other lending institutions to finance its programs;

g)To negotiate for funds and to accept grants, donations, gifts and/or properties in whatever
form and from whatever source, local and international, subject to the approval of the
President of the Philippines, for the benefit of ICCs/IPs and administer the same in
accordance with the terms thereof; or in the absence of any condition, in such manner
consistent with the interest of ICCs/IPs as well as existing laws;

h) To coordinate development programs and projects for the advancement of the ICCs/IPs
and to oversee the proper implementation thereof;

i) To convene periodic conventions or assemblies of IPs to review, assess as well as propose
policies or plans;

j) To advise the President of the Philippines on all matters relating to the ICCs/IPs and to
submit within sixty (60) days after the close of each calendar year, a report of its operations
and achievements;

k) To submit to Congress appropriate legislative proposals intended to carry out the policies
under this Act;

1) To prepare and submit the appropriate budget to the Office of the President;

m)To issue appropriate certification as a pre-condition to the grant of permit, lease, grant, or
any other similar authority for the disposition, utilization, management and appropriation by
any private individual, corporate entity or any government agency, corporation or subdivision
thereof on any part or portion of the ancestral domain taking into consideration the consensus
approval of the ICCs/IPs concerned;

n) To decide all appeals from the decisions and acts of all the various offices within the
Commission;

o) To promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of this Act;

p) To exercise such other powers and functions as may be directed by the President of the
Republic of the Philippines; and

q) To represent the Philippine ICCs/IPs in all international conferences and conventions
dealing with indigenous peoples and other related concerns.

SEC. 45. Accessibility and Transparency. - Subject to such limitations as may be provided by
law or by rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, all official records, documents
and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as research data used
as basis for policy development of the Commission shall be made accessible to the public.

SEC. 46. Offices within the NCIP. - The NCIP shall have the following offices which shall
be responsible for the implementation of the policies hereinafter provided:

a) Ancestral Domains Office - The Ancestral Domain Office shall be responsible for the
identification, delineation and recognition of ancestral lands/domains. It shall also be
responsible for the management of ancestral lands/domains in accordance with a master plan
as well as the implementation of the ancestral domain rights of the ICCs/IPs as provided in

Chapter III of this Act. It shall also issue, upon the free and prior informed consent of the
ICCs/IPs concerned, certification prior to the grant of any license, lease or permit for the
exploitation of natural resources affecting the interests of ICCs/IPs or their ancestral domains
and to assist the ICCs/IPs in protecting the territorial integrity of all ancestral domains. It
shall likewise perform such other functions as the Commission may deem appropriate and
necessary;

b) Office on Policy, Planning and Research - The Of lice on Policy, Planning and Research
shall be responsible for the formulation of appropriate policies and programs for ICCs/IPs
such as, but not limited to, the development of a Five-Year Master Plan for the lCCs/IPs.
Such plan shall undergo a process such that every five years, the Commission shall endeavor
to assess the plan and make ramifications in accordance with the changing situations. The
Office shall also undertake the documentation of customary law and shall establish and
maintain a Research Center that would serve as a depository of ethnographic information for
monitoring, evaluation and policy formulation. It shall assist the legislative branch of the
national government in the formulation of appropriate legislation benefiting ICCs/IPs;

c) Office of Education, Culture and Health - The Office on Culture, Education and Health
shall be responsible for the effective implementation of the education, cultural and rented
rights as provided in this Act. It shall assist, promote and support community schools, both
formal and non-formal, for the benefit of the local indigenous community, especially in areas
where existing educational facilities are not accessible to members of the indigenous group. It
shall administer all scholarship programs and other educational rights intended for ICC/IP
beneficiaries in coordination with the Department of Education, Culture and Sports and the
Commission on Higher Education. It shall undertake, within the limits of available
appropriation, a special program which includes language and vocational training, public
health and family assistance program and rented subjects.
It shall also identify ICCs/IPs with potential training in the health profession and encourage
and assist them to enroll in schools of medicine, nursing, physical therapy and other allied
courses pertaining to the health profession.

Towards this end, the NCIP shall deploy a representative in each of the said of offices
personally perform the foregoing task and who shall receive complaints from the ICCs/IPs
and compel action from appropriate agency. It shall also monitor the activities of the National
Museum and other similar government agencies generally intended to manage and presence
historical and archeological artifacts of the ICCs/IPs and shall be responsible for the
implementation of such other functions as the NCIP may deem appropriate and necessary;

d) Office on Socio-Economic Services and Special Concerns. - The Office on
Socio-Economic Services and Special Concerns shall serve as the Office through which the
NCIP shall coordinate with pertinent government agencies specially charged with the
implementation of various basic socio-economic services, policies, plans and programs
affecting the ICCs/IPs to ensure that the same are properly and directly enjoyed by them. It
shall also be responsible for such other functions as the NCIP may deem appropriate and
necessary;

e) Office of Empowerment and Human Rights - The Office of Empowerment and Human
Rights shall ensure that indigenous sociopolitical, cultural and economic rights are respected
and recognized. It shall ensure that capacity building mechanisms are instituted and ICCs/IPs
are afforded every opportunity, if they so choose, to participate in all levels of
decision-making. It shall likewise ensure that the basic human rights, and such other rights as
the NCIP may determine, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations, are protected and
promoted;

f) Administrative Office - The Administrative Office shall provide the NCIP with
economical, efficient and effective services pertaining to personnel, finance, records,
equipment, security, supplies and related services. It shall also administer the Ancestral
Domains Fund; and

g) Legal Affairs Office- There shall be a Legal Affairs Office which shall advice the NCIP on
all legal matters concerning ICCs/IPs and which shall be responsible for providing ICCs/IPs
with legal assistance in litigation involving community interest. It shall conduct preliminary
investigation on the basis of complaints filed by the ICCs/IPs against a natural or juridical
person believed to have violated ICCs/UPs rights. On the basis of its findings, it shall initiate
the filing of appropriate legal or administrative action to the NCIP.

SEC. 47. Other Offices. - The NCIP shall have the power to create additional of offices it
may deem necessary subject to existing rules and regulations.

SEC. 48. Regional and Field Offices. - Existing regional and field offices shall remain to
function under the strengthened organizational structure of the NCIP. Other field offices shall
be created wherever appropriate and the staffing pattern thereof shall be determined by the
NCIP: Provided, That in provinces where there are ICCs/IPs but without field of offices, the
NCIP shall establish field offices in said provinces.

SEC. 49. (office of the Executive Director. - The NCIP shall create the Office of the
Executive Director which shall serve as its secretariat. The office shall be headed by an
Executive Director who shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines
upon recommendation of the NCIP on a permanent basis. The staffing pattern of the office
shall be determined by the NCIP subject to existing rules and regulations.

SEC. 50. Consultative Body. - A body consisting of the traditional leaders, elders and
representatives from the women and youth sectors of the different ICCs/IPs shall be
constituted by the NCIP from time to time to advise it on matters relating to the problems,
aspirations and interests of the ICCs/IPs.

CHAPTER VIII

DELINEATION AND RECOGNITION OF ANCESTRAL DOMAINS

SEC. 51. Delineation and Recognition of Ancestral Domains. -Self-delineation shall be the
guiding principle in the identification and delineation of ancestral domains. As such, the
ICCs/IPs concerned shall have a decisive role in all the activities pertinent thereto. The
Sworn Statement of the Elders as to the scope of the territories and agreements/ pacts made
with neighboring ICCs/IPs, if any, will be essential to the determination of these traditional
territories. The Government shall take the necessary steps to identify lands which the
ICCs/IPs concerned traditionally occupy and guarantee effective protection of their rights of
ownership and possession thereto. Measures shall be taken in appropriate cases to safeguard
the right of the ICCs/IPs concerned to land which may no longer be exclusively occupied by
them, but to which they have traditionally had access for their subsistence and traditional
activities, particularly of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators.

SEC. 52. Delineation Process. - The identification and delineation of ancestral domains shall
be done in accordance with the following procedures:


a) Ancestral Domains Delineated Prior to this Act.- The provisions hereunder shall not apply
to ancestral domains/lands already delineated according to DENR Administrative Order No.
2, series of 1993, nor to ancestral lands and domains delineated under any other community/
ancestral domain program prior to the enactment of this law. ICCs/IPs whose ancestral
lands/domains were officially delineated prior to the enactment of this law shall have the
right to apply for the issuance of a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over the
area without going through the process outlined hereunder;

b) Petition for Delineation. - The process of delineating a specific perimeter may be initiated
by the NCIP with the consent of the ICC/IP concerned, or through a Petition for Delineation
filed with the NCIP, by a majority of the members of the ICCs/IPs;

c) Delineation Proper. - The official delineation of ancestral domain boundaries including
census of all community members therein, shall be immediately undertaken by the Ancestral
Domains Office upon filing of the application by the ICCs/IPs concerned. Delineation will be
done in coordination with the community concerned and shall at all times include genuine
involvement and participation by the members of the communities concerned;

d) Proof Required. - Proof of Ancestral Domain Claims shall include the testimony of elders
or community under oath, and other documents directly or indirectly attesting to the
possession or occupation of the area since time immemorial by such ICCs/IPs in the concept
of owners which shall be any one ( I ) of the following authentic documents:

1) Written accounts of the ICCs/IPs customs and traditions;

2) Written accounts of the ICCs/IPs political structure and institution;

3) Pictures showing long term occupation such as those of old improvements, burial grounds,
sacred places and old villages;

4) Historical accounts, including pacts and agreements concerning boundaries entered into by
the ICCs/IPs concerned with other ICCs/lPs;

5) Survey plans and sketch maps;

6) Anthropological data;

7) Genealogical surveys;

8) Pictures and descriptive histories of traditional communal forests and hunting grounds;

9) Pictures and descriptive histories of traditional landmarks such as mountains, rivers,
creeks, ridges, hills, terraces and the like; and

10) Write-ups of names and places derived from the native dialect of the community.

e) Preparation of Maps. - On the basis of such investigation and the findings of fact based
thereon, the Ancestral Domains Office shall prepare a perimeter map, complete with
technical descriptions, and a description of the natural features and landmarks embraced
therein;

f) Report of Investigation and Other Documents. - A complete copy of the preliminary census
and a report of investigation, shall be prepared by the Ancestral Domains Office of the NCIP;

g) Notice and Publication. - A copy of each document, including a translation in the native
language of the ICCs/IPs concerned shall be posted in a prominent place therein for at least
fifteen ( 15) days. A copy of the document shall also be posted at the local, provincial and
regional offices of the NCIP, and shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation
once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks to allow other claimants to file opposition thereto
within fifteen (15) days from date of such publication: Provided, That in areas where no such
newspaper exists, broadcasting in a radio station will be a valid substitute: Provided, further,

That mere posting shall be deemed sufficient if both newspaper and radio station are not
available;

h)Endorsement to NCIP. - Within fifteen (15) days from publication, and of the inspection
process, the Ancestral Domains Office shall prepare a report to the NCIP endorsing a
favorable action upon a claim that is deemed to have sufficient proof. However, if the proof
is deemed insufficient, the Ancestral Domains Office shall require the submission of
additional evidence: Provided, That the Ancestral Domains Office shall reject any claim that
is deemed patently false or fraudulent after inspection and verification: Provided, further,
That in case of rejection, the Ancestral Domains Office shall give the applicant due notice,
copy furnished all concerned, containing the grounds for denial. The denial shall be
appealable to the NCIP: Provided, furthermore, That in cases where there are conflicting
claims among ICCs/IPs on the boundaries of ancestral domain claims, the Ancestral Domains
Office shall cause the contending parties to meet and assist them in coming up with a
preliminary resolution of the conflict, without prejudice to its full adjudication according to
the section below.

i) Turnover of Areas Within Ancestral Domains Managed by Other Government Agencies. -
The Chairperson of the NCIP shall certify Blat the area covered is an ancestral domain. The
secretaries of the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Department of Justice, the
Commissioner of the National Development Corporation, and any other government agency
claiming jurisdiction over the area shall be notified Thereof. Such notification shall terminate
any legal basis for the jurisdiction previously claimed;

j) Issuance of CADT. - ICCs/IPs whose ancestral domains have been officially delineated and
determined by the NCIP shall be issued a CADT in the name of the community concerned,
containing a list of all dose identified in the census; and

k) Registration of CADTs. - The NCIP shall register issued certificates of ancestral domain
titles and certificates of ancestral lands tides before She Register of Deeds in the place where
the property is situated.

SEC. 53. Identification, Delineation and Certification of Ancestral

a) The allocation of lands within any ancestral domain to individual or indigenous corporate
(family or clan) claimants shall be left to the ICCs/IPs concerned to decide in accordance
with customs and traditions;

b) Individual and indigenous corporate claimants of ancestral lands which are not within
ancestral domains, may have their claims officially established by filing applications for the
identification and delineation of their claims with the Ancestral Domains Office. An
individual or recognized head of a family or clan may file such application in his behalf or in
behalf of his family or clan, respectively;

c) Proofs of such claims shall accompany the application form which shall include the
testimony under oath of elders of the community and other documents directly or indirectly
attesting to the possession or occupation of the areas since time immemorial by the individual
or corporate claimants in the concept of owners which shall be any of the authentic
documents enumerated under Sec. 52 (d) of this Act, including tax declarations and proofs of
payment of taxes;

d) The Ancestral Domains Office may require from each ancestral claimant the submission of
such other documents, Sworn Statements and the like, which in its opinion, may shed light on
the veracity of the contents of the application/claim;

e) Upon receipt of the applications for delineation and recognition of ancestral land claims,
the Ancestral Domains Office shall cause the publication of the application and a copy of
each document submitted including a translation in the native language of the ICCs/IPs
concerned in a prominent place therein for at least fifteen (15) days. A copy of the document
shall also be posted at the local, provincial, and regional offices of the NCIP and shall be
published in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks to
allow other claimants to file opposition thereto within fifteen (15) days from the date of such
publication: Provided, That in areas where no such newspaper exists, broadcasting in a radio
station will be a valid substitute: Provided, further, That mere posting shall be deemed
sufficient if both newspapers and radio station are not available;

f) Fifteen (15) days after such publication, the Ancestral Domains Office shall investigate and
inspect each application, and if found to be meritorious, shall cause a parcellary survey of the
area being claimed. The Ancestral Domains Office shall reject any claim that is deemed
patently false or fraudulent after inspection and verification. In case of rejection, the
Ancestral Domains Office shall give the applicant due notice, copy furnished all concerned,
containing the grounds for denial. The denial shall be appealable to the NCIP. In case of
conflicting claims among individual or indigenous corporate claimants, the Ancestral
Domains Office shall cause the contending parties to meet and assist them in coming up with
a preliminary resolution of the conflict, without prejudice to its full adjudication according to

Sec. 62 of this Act. In all proceedings for the identification or delineation of the ancestral
domains as herein provided, the Director of Lands shall represent the interest of the Republic
of the Philippines; and

g) The Ancestral Domains Office shall prepare and submit a report on each and every
application surveyed and delineated to the NCIP, which shall, in turn, evaluate the report
submitted. If the NCIP finds such claim meritorious, it shall issue a certificate of ancestral
land, declaring and certifying the claim of each individual or corporate (family or clan)
claimant over ancestral lands.

SEC. 54. Fraudulent Claims. - The Ancestral Domains Of lice may, upon written request
from the ICCs/lPs, review existing claims which have been fraudulently acquired by any
person or community. Any claim found to be fraudulently acquired by, and issued to, any
person or community may be cancelled by the NCIP after due notice and hearing of all
parties concerned.

SEC. 55. Communal Rights. - Subject to Section 56 hereof, areas within the ancestral
domains, whether delineated or not, shall be presumed to be communally held: Provided,
That communal rights under this Act shall not be construed as co-ownership as provided in
Republic Act. No. 386, otherwise known as the New Civil Code.

SEC. 56. Existing Property Rights Regimes. - Property rights within the ancestral domains
already existing and/or vested upon effectivity of this Act, shall be recognized and respected.

SEC. 57. Natural Resources within Ancestral Domains. - The ICCs/ IPs shall have priority
rights in the harvesting, extraction, development or exploitation of any natural resources
within the ancestral domains. A non-member of the ICCs/IPs concerned may be allowed to
take part in the development and utilization of the natural resources for a period of not
exceeding twenty-five (25) years renewable for not more than twenty-five (25) years:
Provided, That a formal and written agreement is entered into with the ICCs/IPs concerned or
that the community, pursuant to its own decision making process, has agreed to allow such
operation: Provided, finally, That the NCIP may exercise visitorial powers and take
appropriate action to safeguard the rights of the ICCs/IPs under the same contract.

SEC. 58. Environmental Considerations. - Ancestral domains or portions thereof, which are
found to be necessary for critical watersheds, mangroves, wildlife sanctuaries, wilderness,
protected areas, forest cover, or reforestation as determined by appropriate agencies with the
full participation of the ICCs/IPs concerned shall be maintained, managed and developed for
such purposes. The ICCs/IPs concerned shall be given the responsibility to maintain,
develop, protect and conserve such areas with the full and effective assistance of government
agencies. Should the ICCs/IPs decide to transfer the responsibility over the areas, said
decision must be made in writing. The consent of the ICCs/IPs should be arrived at in
accordance with its customary laws without prejudice to the basic requirements of existing
laws on free and prior informed consent: Provided, That the transfer shall be temporary and
will ultimately revert to the ICCs/IPs in accordance with a program for technology transfer:
Provided, further, That no ICCs/IPs shall be displaced or relocated for the purpose
enumerated under this section without the written consent of the specific persons authorized
to give consent.

SEC. 59. Certification Precondition. - All departments and other governmental agencies shall
henceforth be strictly enjoined from issuing, renewing, or granting any concession, license or
lease, or entering into any production-sharing agreement, without prior certification from the
NCIP that the area affected does not overlap with any ancestral domain. Such certification
shall only be issued after a field-based investigation is conducted by the Ancestral Domains
Office of the area concerned: Provided, That no certification shall be issued by the NCIP
without the free and prior informed and written consent of ICCs/IPs concerned: Provided,
further, That no department, government agency or government-owned or -controlled
corporation may issue new concession, license, lease, or production sharing agreement while
there is a pending application for a CADT: Provided, finally, That the ICCs/IPs shall have the
right to stop or suspend, in accordance with this Act, any project that has not satisfied the
requirement of this consultation process.

SEC. 60. Exemption from Taxes. - All lands certified to be ancestral domains shall be exempt
from real property taxes, special levies, end other forms of exaction except such portion of
the ancestral domains as are actually used for large-scale agriculture, commercial forest
plantation and residential purposes or upon titling by private persons: Provided, That all
exactions shall be used to facilitate the development and improvement of the ancestral
domains.

SEC. 61. Temporary Requisition Powers. - Prior to the establishment of an institutional
surveying capacity whereby it can effectively fulfill its mandate, but in no case beyond three
(3) years after its creation, the NCIP is hereby authorized to request the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) survey teams as well as other equally capable
private survey teams, through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), to delineate ancestral
domain perimeters. The DENR Secretary shall accommodate any such request within one ( I
) month of its issuance: Provided, That the Memorandum of Agreement shall stipulate,
among others, a provision for technology transfer to the NCIP.

SEC. 62. Resolution of Conflicts. - In cases of conflicting interest, where there are adverse
claims within the ancestral domains as delineated in the survey plan, and which can not be
resolved, the NCIP shall hear and decide, after notice to the proper parties, the disputes
arising from the delineation of such ancestral domains: Provided, That if the dispute is
between and/or among ICCs/IPs regarding the traditional boundaries of their respective
ancestral domains, customary process shall be followed. The NCIP shall promulgate the
necessary rules and regulations to carry out its adjudicatory functions: Provided, further, That
any decision, order, award or ruling of the NCIP on any ancestral domain dispute or on any
matter pertaining to the application, implementation, enforcement and interpretation of this
Act may be brought for Petition for Review to the Court of Appeals within fifteen( 15) days
from receipt of a copy thereof

SEC. 63. Applicable Laws. - Customary laws, traditions and practices of the ICCs/IPs of the
land where the conflict arises shall be applied first with respect to property rights, claims and
ownerships, hereditary succession and settlement of land disputes. Any doubt or ambiguity in
the application and interpretation of laws shall be resolved in favor of the ICCs/IPs.

SEC. 64. Remedial Measures. - Expropriation may be resorted to in the resolution of conflicts
of interest following the principle of the "common good." The NCIP shall take appropriate
legal action for the cancellation of officially documented titles which were acquired illegally:
Provided, That such procedure shall ensure that the rights of possessors in good faith shall be
respected: Provided further, That the action for cancellation shall be initiated within two (2j
years from the effectivity of this Act: Provided, finally, that the action for reconveyance shall
be within a period of ten ( 10) years in accordance with existing laws.

CHAPTER IX

JURISDICTION AND PROCEDURES FOR ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHTS

SEC. 65. Primacy of Customary Laws and Practices. - When disputes involve ICCs/IPs,
customary laws and practices shall be used to resolve the dispute.

SEC. 66. Jurisdiction of the NClP. - The NCIP, through its regional offices, shall have
jurisdiction over all claims and disputes involving rights of ICCs/IPs: Provided, however,
That no such dispute shall be brought to the NCIP unless the parties have exhausted all
remedies provided under their customary laws. For this purpose, a certification shall be
issued by the Council of Elders/Leaders who participated in the attempt to settle the dispute
that the same has not been resolved, which certification shall be a condition precedent to the
filing of a petition with the NCIP.

SEC. 67. Appeals to the Court of Appeals. - Decisions of the NCIP shall be appealable to the
Court of Appeals byway of a petition for review.
SEC. 68. Execution of Decisions, Awards Orders. - Upon expiration of the period herein
provided and no appeal is perfected by any of the contending parties, the Hearing Of ricer of
the NCIP, on its own initiative or upon motion by the prevailing party, shall issue a writ of
execution requiring the sheriff or the proper officer to execute final decisions, orders or
awards of the Regional Hearing Officer of the NCIP.

SEC. 69. Quasi-Judicial Powers of the NClP. - The NCIP shall have the power and authority:

a) To promulgate rules and regulations governing the hearing and disposition of cases filed
before it as well as those pertaining to its internal functions and such rules and regulations as
may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act;

b)To administer oaths, summon the parties to a controversy, issue subpoenas requiring the
attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of such books, papers, contracts,
records, agreements and other document of similar nature as may be material to a just
determination of the matter under investigation or hearing conducted in pursuance of this
Act;

c) To hold any person in contempt, directly or indirectly, and impose appropriate penalties
therefor; and

d) To enjoin any or all acts involving or arising from any case pending before it which, if not
restrained forthwith, may cause grave or irreparable damage to any of the parties to the case
or seriously affect social or economic activity.

SEC. 70. No Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction. - No inferior court of the
Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue an restraining order or writ of preliminary
injunction against the NCIP or any of its duly authorized or designated offices in any case,
dispute or controversy arising from, necessary to, or interpretation of this Act and other
pertinent laws relating to ICCs/IPs and ancestral domains.

CHAPTER X

ANCESTRAL DOMAINS FUND

SEC. 71. Ancestral Domains Fund. - There is hereby created a special fund, to be known as
the Ancestral Domains Fund, an initial amount of One hundred thirty million pesos
(P130,000,000) to cover compensation for expropriated lands, delineation and development
of ancestral domains. An amount of Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000) shall be sourced from
the gross income of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from its lotto
operation, Ten million pesos (P10,000,000) from the gross receipts of the travel tax of the
preceding year, the fund of the Social Reform Council intended for survey and delineation of
ancestral lands/domains, and such other source as the government may deem appropriate.
Thereafter, such amount shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act. Foreign
as well as local funds which are made available for the ICCs/lPs through the government of
the Philippines shall be coursed through the NCIP. The NCIP may also solicit and receive
donations, endowments and grants in the form of contributions, and such endowments shall
be exempted from income or gift taxes and all other taxes, charges or fees imposed by the
government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof.

CHAPTER XI

PENALTIES

SEC. 72. Punishable Acts and Applicable Penalties.- Any person who commits violation of
any of the provisions of this Act, such as, but not limited to, unauthorized and/or unlawful
intrusion upon any ancestral lands or domains as stated in Sec. 10, Chapter III, or shall
commit any of the prohibited acts mentioned in Sections 21 and 24, Chapter V, Section 33,
Chapter VI hereof, shall be punished in accordance with the customary laws of the ICCs/IPs
concerned: Provided, That no such penalty shall be cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment:
Provided, further, That neither shall the death penalty or excessive fines be imposed. This
provision shall be without prejudice to the right of any ICCs/IPs to avail of the protection of
existing laws. In which case, any person who violates any provision of this Act shall, upon
conviction, be punished by imprisonment of not less than nine (9) months but not more than
twelve (12) years or a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000) nor more
than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) or both such fine and imprisonment upon the
discretion of the court. In addition, he shall be obliged to pay to the ICCs/IPs concerned
whatever damage may have been suffered by the latter as a consequence of the unlawful act.
SEC. 73. Persons Subject to Punishment. - If the offender is a juridical person, all officers
such as, but not limited to, its president, manager, or head of office responsible for their
unlawful act shall be criminally liable therefor, in addition to the cancellation of certificates
of their registration and/or license: Provided, That if the offender is a public official, the
penalty shall include perpetual disqualification to hold public office..

CHAPTER XII

MERGER OF THE OFFICE FOR NORTHERN CULTURAL COMMUNITIES (ONCC)

AND THE OFFICE FOR SOUTHERN CULTURAL COMMUNIONS (OSCC)

SEC. 74. Merger of ONCC/OSCC. - The Office for Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC)
and the Office of Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC), created under Executive Order
Nos. 122-B and 122-C respectively, are hereby merged as organic offices of the NCIP and
shall continue to function under a revitalized and strengthened structures to achieve the
objectives of the NCIP: Provided, That the positions of Staff Directors, Bureau Directors,

Deputy Executive Directors and Executive Directors, except positions of Regional Directors
and below, are hereby phased-out upon the effectivity of this Act: Provided, further, That
officials of the phased-out offices who may be qualified may apply for reappointment with
the NCIP and may be given prior rights in the filling up of the newly created positions of
NCIP, subject to the qualifications set by the Placement Committee: Provided, furthermore,
That in the case where an indigenous person and a non-indigenous person with similar
qualifications apply for the same position, priority shall be given to the former. Officers and
employees who are to be phased-out as a result of the merger of their offices shall be entitled
to gratuity a rate equivalent to one and a half (1 1/2) months salary for every year of
continuous and satisfactory service rendered or the equivalent nearest fraction thereof
favorable to them on the basis of the highest salary received. If they are already entitled to
retirement or gratuity, they shall have the option to select either such retirement benefits or
the gratuity herein provided. Officers and employees who may be reinstated shall refund such
retirement benefits or gratuity received: Provided, finally, That absorbed personnel must still
meet the qualifications and standards set by the Civil Service and the Placement Committee
herein created.

SEC. 75. Transition Period. - The ONCC/OSCC shall have a period of six (6) months from
the effectivity of this Act within which to wind up its affairs and to conduct audit of its
finances.

SEC. 76. Transfer of Assets/Properties. - All real and personal properties which are vested in,
or belonging to, the merged offices as aforestated shall be transferred to the NCIP without
further need of conveyance, transfer or assignment and shall be held for the same purpose as
they were held by the former offices: Provided, That all contracts, records and documents
relating to the operations of the merged offices shall be transferred to the NCIP. All
agreements and contracts entered into by the merged offices shall remain in full force and
effect unless otherwise terminated, modified or amended by the NCIP.

SEC. 77. Placement Committee. - Subject to rules on government reorganization, a
Placement Committee shall be created by the NCIP, in coordination with the Civil Service
Commission, which shall assist in the judicious selection and placement of personnel in order
that the best qualified and most deserving persons shall be appointed in the reorganized
agency. The Placement Committee shall be composed of seven (7) commissioners and an
ICCs'/IPs' representative from each of the first and second level employees association in the
Offices for Northern and Southern Cultural Communities (ONCC/OSCC), nongovernment
organizations (NGOs) who have served the community for at least five (5) years and peoples
organizations (POs) with at least five (5) years of existence. They shall be guided by the
criteria of retention and appointment to be prepared by the consultative body and by the
pertinent provisions of the civil service law.

CHAPTER XIII

FINAL PROVISIONS

SEC. 78. Special Provision. - The City of Baguio shall remain to be governed by its Charter
and all lands proclaimed as part of its town site reservation shall remain as such until
otherwise reclassified by appropriate legislation: Provided, That prior land rights and titles
recognized and/or acquired through any judicial, administrative or other processes before the
effectivity of this Act shall remain valid: Provided, further, That this provision shall not apply
to any territory which becomes part of the City of Baguio after the effectivity of this Act.

SEC. 79. Appropriations. - The amount necessary to finance the initial implementation of this
Act shall be charged against the current year's appropriation of the ONCC and the OSCC.
Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary for its continued implementation shall be included
in the annual General Appropriations Act.

SEC. 80. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - Within sixty (60) days immediately after
appointment, the NCIP shall issue the necessary rules and regulations, in consultation with
the Committees on National Cultural Communities of the House of Representatives and the
Senate, for the effective implementation of this Act.

SEC. 81. Saving Clause. - This Act will not in any manner adversely affect the rights and
benefits of the ICCs/IPs under other conventions, recommendations, international treaties,
national laws, awards, customs and agreements.

SEC. 82. Separability Clause. - In case any provision of this Act or any portion thereof is
declared unconshtubona1 by a competent court, other provisions shall not be affected
thereby.

SEC. 83. Repealing Clause. - Presidential Decree No. 410, Executive Order Nos. 122-B and
122-C, and all other laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof inconsistent
with this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SEC. 84. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days upon its publication in the
(official Gazette or in any two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Approved,

JOSE DE VENECIA, JR.
Speaker of the House of Representatives
ERNESTO M. MACEDA
President of the Senate

This Act, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1728 and House Bill No. 9125 was
finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on October 22, 1997.

ROBERTO P. NAZARENO
Secretary General

House of Representatives
LORENZO E. LEYNES, JR.
Secretary of the Senate

Approved: Oct 29 1997

FIDEL V. RAMOS
President of the Philippines