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Excerpts from the
2005 Pilot Study on the Diagnosis of Indigenous People’s Rights
to Ancestral Domains in the Philippines
1

Background

The Philippines was chosen as one of pilot areas for studying evidence-based national human rights diagnosis and monitoring under the Metagora Project 2 . This pilot survey covers three selected ancestral domains: Bago tribe in Sugpon, Ilocos Sur; the Kankanaey in Kibungan, Benguet; and the Bugkalot tribe in Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino 3. The survey is complemented by focus group discussions and local consultations that are anticipated to generate results that will enhance the program and policy measures for effective governance of indigenous peoples’ rights utilizing rights based norms and standards in a democratic setting.

There are one hundred ten (110) indigenous ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines with an estimated total population of around 12 million found in the various parts of the country, comprising 17 percent of the total population 4. Because of historical discrimination and exploitation, they are considered marginalized and vulnerable. Current development efforts recognize the need to put the indigenous peoples (IPs) in the center of the development agenda particularly in ascertaining that their rights are protected and fulfilled.

The study is considered a milestone in that it will provide a benchmark on important aspects of the IPs level of awareness, knowledge and practices on their ancestral domains and ancestral lands albeit on a pilot level.

Study Objectives

The study was formulated:

  1. To determine the level of awareness and perceptions of the IPs on their rights to ancestral domains and ancestral lands;

  2. To describe their enjoyment/realization on one hand, and/or violations of rights to their ancestral domains and ancestral lands, on the other;

  3. To identify measures provided to IPs by governance stakeholders to enhance/facilitate the enjoyment of their rights to ancestral domains and ancestral lands; and

  4. To describe mechanisms availed of by IPs from their respective communities and the government to redress their grievances due to violation of their rights to ancestral domains and ancestral lands.

 

The study generated adequate, clear and objective assessment of awareness of IPs’ rights to ancestral domain and ancestral lands. The survey dealt in certain detail with various facets of human rights; awareness/perception, realizations and violations, enjoyment, as well as mechanisms available to redress violations of these rights. Some findings from the survey are complemented or substantiated by findings from the focus group discussions and local consultations.

 

KEY TABLES

Awareness on Rights to Ancestral Domains and Lands

Awareness of IPs rights generally high

There was a generally high level of awareness of all the specified rights as stated under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA). Almost all of the respondents have correct perceptions on the right to develop land and natural resources as well as the right to safe and clean water. On the other hand, only 56.0 percent have correct perceptions on their rights in case of displacement.

Table 1
PERCEPTION ON AND AWARENESS OF THE RIGHTS TO ANCESTRAL DOMAINS AND ANCESTRAL LANDS
Percentage Distribution of Respondents Who Have Correct Perceptions a

All Tribes

Bago

Bugkalot

Kankanaey

All rights

Right of ownership

94.1

89.3

95.7

94.8

Right in case of displacement

56.0

68.7

38.9

72.4

Right to regulate entry of migrants

91.9

92.0

89.4

95.2

Right to develop lands and natural resources

99.3

98.0

99.4

100.0

Right to safe and clean water

99.3

98.0

99.4

100.0

Right to claim parts of reservations

68.1

59.3

71.7

68.4

Right to resolve conflict

85.2

73.3

84.9

92.8

With full possession and ownership of their ancestral domains and ancestral lands, IPs can be said to fully enjoy their rights as human beings.

91.7

86.7

93.7

92.0

a - Respondents who answered at least half the number of statements/vignettes correctly

 

Tribe Awareness on Realization of Rights to Ancestral Domain Through Acquisition of Titles

Government leads in assisting IPs acquire titles to the ancestral lands and domains

Seven out of ten respondents or 70.8% are aware of the community acquisition of title to the ancestral domain. For respondents who are aware, 44.3% were assisted by the government in acquiring titles, 10.4% were helped by their tribal leaders/elders and 4.3% were provided assistance by the NGOs/POs.

Table 2
AWARENESS OF RIGHT TO OWNERSHIP THROUGH ACQUISITION OF TITLE TO ANCESTRAL DOMAIN Percentage Distribution of Respondents

All

Bago

Bugkalot / Ilongot

Kankanaey

All respondents:

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Awareness of community acquisition of title to the ancestral domain

Aware

70.8

67.3

79.4

60.8

Not aware

24.3

24.0

17.4

34.0

Don't Know

3.5

6.0

2.6

3.2

No Response

1.3

2.0

0.6

2.0

   Missing

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

For respondents who are aware:

Who assisted community in acquiring said title 1/

Government

44.3

63.4

33.5

51.3

NGO/PO 2/

4.3

2.0

4.7

5.3

Tribal Leaders/Elders

10.4

7.9

11.5

9.9

Others

10.5

6.9

0.7

30.9

   Missing

30.5

19.8

49.6

2.6

Benefits the community enjoyed because of the title 1/

Affirmation of Culture

20.7

41.6

18.3

11.2

Unity of Tribe

24.5

41.6

20.5

20.4

Empowerment of the Tribe

23.7

21.8

23.7

25.0

Others

10.7

0.0

1.4

34.9

   Missing

21.3

0.0

36.0

8.6

1/ Total may exceed one hundred percent due to multiple responses
2/ NGO-Non-Government Organization, PO-Peoples' Organization

 

Violations of IPs Rights

Illegal entry cited as top violation of rights to ancestral domains and lands

Forty one percent of the respondents experienced violations of rights to ancestral domain and land. Of this figure, 64.9% experienced illegal entry, 48.7% had encroachment, 29.5% encountered pollution problems and 11.4% were displaced or relocated.

Table 3
VIOLATIONS OF RIGHTS TO ANCESTRAL DOMAIN AND LAND
Percentage Distribution of Respondents

Type of Violation

Total

Bago

Bugkalot

Kankanaey

All Respondents

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

 

 

 

 

 

Not experienced violations

35.5

22.9

28.0

36.8

Experienced violations

41.1

20.8

56.9

35.6

Don't Know

16.3

21.9

12.6

22.8

No response

7.2

34.4

2.6

4.8

 

Respondents who experienced violations

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Encroachment

48.7

45.0

54.3

37.1

Pollution

29.5

35.0

31.2

24.7

Illegal Entry

64.9

40.0

81.4

33.7

Displacement/Relocation

11.4

10.0

9.0

16.9

Others

9.4

15.0

2.5

23.6

 

 

Relocations Experienced

Most relocations / resettlements due to natural calamities

Natural calamity was identified as the main reason for the relocation/resettlement of IPs. A total of 13 households were relocated or resettled due to natural disasters.

Table 4
RELOCATIONS EXPERIENCED
Number of Households
No. of Households Total Bago Bugkalo Kankanaey
Reason for Relocation/Resettlement

Natural Calamity

13 1 9 3

Mining Exploration

3 0 3 0

Infrastructure Development

0 0 0 0

Armed Conflict

1 1 0 0

Others

4 0 3 1

Dont Know

1 0 1 0

No Response

1 0 1 0
Missing Data 12 0 1 11
Total 35 2 18 15

 

Reported Cases of Lands Taken Away

Fraud/deceit causes almost half of the reported cases of land taken away

Nearly thirteen percent of respondents reported that their lands were taken away. Of this proportion, 47.9 percent were taken by fraud/deceit and 23.4 percent taken by force.

Table 5
LAND TAKEN AWAY
Percentage Distribution of Respondents

 

Total

Bago

Bugkalot

Kankanaey

All Respondents

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Land was taken away

 

 

 

 

Yes

12.8

9.4

18.2

7.3

No

85.7

88.6

80.3

91.5

Don't Know

0.5

0.7

0.3

0.8

No response

0.4

1.3

0.3

0.0

Missing Data

0.5

0.0

0.9

0.4

 

For Respondents Whose Lands Were Taken Away:

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

How taken away

 

 

 

 

By Force

23.4

7.1

27.4

22.2

By Fraud/Deceit

47.9

57.1

41.9

61.1

Gov't and Private Sector Projects

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Others

18.1

0.0

22.6

16.7

Don't Know

2.1

0.0

3.2

0.0

No response

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Missing

8.5

42.9

3.2

0.0

 

For Respondents Whose Lands Were Taken Away:

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

By whom

 

 

 

 

Government

1.1

0.0

1.6

0.0

Private organizations

2.1

7.1

0.0

5.6

Council of Elders/Leaders

9.6

7.1

12.9

0.0

Private individuals

55.3

50.0

56.5

55.6

Others

21.3

0.0

21.0

38.9

Don't know

2.1

0.0

3.2

0.0

No response

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Missing Data

8.5

42.9

3.2

0.0

 

Mechanisms for Grievance/Redress: Institutions/Organizations That Resolved Land Issues

Barangay Councils and Councils of Elders serve as main venue for discussions of conflicts and problems on land issues

Conflicts and problems on land issues were mostly discussed in the respective Barangay Councils/Lupon (71.9%) and through the Council of elders/tribal leaders (64.9%).

Table 6
ORGANIZATIONS/INSTITUTIONS WHERE LAND ISSUES AND PROBLEMS ARE DISCUSSED AND RESOLVED
Percentage Distribution of Respondents

 

Total

Bago

Bugkalot

Kankanaey

All Respondents

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Type of Organization / Institution Present in Community 1/

None

0.1

0.0

0.3

0.0

Council of Elders/Tribal Leaders

64.9

47.3

84.9

47.6

Bodong Holders/Peace Pact Bodies

9.3

2.0

15.7

4.8

Barangay Council/Lupon

71.9

87.3

53.4

88.4

Others

5.2

1.3

3.7

9.6

Don't Know

2.7

4.7

2.9

1.2

No response

0.7

0.7

1.1

0.0

All Respondents

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Gone to Any of Above Organizations / Institutions

Yes

42.4

20.7

52.9

40.8

No

43.3

68.0

34.6

40.8

No response

0.4

0.0

0.6

0.4

Missing

13.9

11.3

12.0

18.0

For Respondents Who have Gone to Any of Above Organizations / Institutions

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Participated in Discussions / decisionmaking process

Yes

80.5

93.5

89.2

60.8

No

17.9

3.2

9.7

37.3

Don’t Know

0.9

0.0

1.1

1.0

No response

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Missing

0.6

3.2

0.0

1.0

1/ Total may exceed one hundred percent due to multiple responses

 

Modes of Resolving Conflicts

Customary laws are main instruments in resolving the majority of conflicts

Around 52 percent of respondents recounted that land issues and problems were resolved through customary laws, while 29.1 percent resolved their conflicts through amicable settlements, and 13.1 percent referred to the right government institution.

Table 7
MODE OF RESOLUTION OF LAND ISSUES /CONFLICTS
Percentage Distribution of Respondents

 

Total

Bago

Bugkalot

Kankanaey

All Respondents

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Referred to right government institution

13.1

22.7

12.0

8.8

Amicable settlement

29.1

34.7

12.0

49.6

Customary Laws

52.3

39.3

70.9

34.0

Others

1.5

0.7

0.6

3.2

Don't Know

3.2

2.0

3.1

4.0

No Response

0.1

0.0

0.3

0.0

Missing Data

0.8

0.7

1.1

0.0

 

Customary Laws and Practices

Most IPs consider customary laws helpful in solving land issues

In communities with customary laws and practices, 68.6 percent of respondents were involved in the crafting of laws/practices. Majority of the respondents (89.5) considered the laws helpful in solving land issues.

Table 8
CUSTOMARY LAWS/PRACTICES
Percentage Distribution of Respondents

 

Total

Bago

Bugkalot

Kankanaey

For Respondents in Communities with Customary laws and Practices

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Involvement in the Crafting of Laws/Practices

Yes

68.6

69.5

74.6

50.6

No

25.8

22.0

19.4

47.1

Don't Know

3.3

5.1

3.6

1.2

No Response

2.0

3.4

2.0

1.2

Missing Data

0.3

0.0

0.4

0.0

Consultation Done Before Implementation of Laws / Practices

Yes

82.7

84.7

84.7

75.3

No

7.9

0.0

10.5

5.9

Sometimes

4.1

8.5

3.2

3.5

Don't Know

3.8

5.1

0.8

11.8

No Response

1.0

1.7

0.4

2.4

Missing Data

0.5

0.0

0.4

1.2

Considered the Laws Helpful in Solving Land Issues

Yes

89.5

83.1

91.9

87.1

No

1.3

0.0

1.6

1.2

Sometimes

4.6

10.2

3.2

4.7

Don't Know

2.6

1.7

2.4

3.5

No Response

1.0

1.7

0.4

2.4

Missing Data

1.0

3.4

0.4

1.2

 

Awareness of Legislative Measures Protecting Rights to Ancestral Domains and Lands

IPRA awareness higher than CARL and Philippine Constitution

More than half of the respondents were aware of the IPRA, 36.7 percent were aware of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), while 33.5 percent were aware of the Philippine Constitution.

Table 9
AWARENESS OF LAWS PROVIDING PROTECTION TO LAND 1/
Percent of Respondents Aware of Laws

 

Total

Bago

Bugkalot

Kankanaey

All Respondents

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Philippine Constitution

33.5

48.3

30.5

28.8

Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA)

54.5

42.3

67.0

44.4

Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL)

36.7

41.6

34.8

36.4

 

 

 

 

 

1/ Total may exceed one hundred percent due to multiple responses

 

 

___________________
1 2005 Pilot Study on the Diagnosis of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Ancestral Domains in the Philippines, Book I: The Study and its Findings. This document has been produced within the framework of the METAGORA Project implemented by the OECD with financial assistance of the European Union, France, Sweden and Switzerland

2 Metagora, a 24-month pilot project “Measuring Democracy, Human Rights and Governance” is a project under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), implemented by the OECD-Paris21 with funding from the European Commission.  The Philippines conducted one of the pilot studies with the Commission on Human Rights as Partner Implementing Organization, and the following as strategic partners: NSCB, National Statistics Office, Statistical Research and Training Center, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

3 No generalization for the whole  Philippines was done in the study.

4 Office of Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC) & Office of Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC) 1996 Accomplishment Report

 

Factsheet:

7 out of 10 IPs are aware of the rights to ancestral domains and lands, reveals findings from the METAGORA Pilot Survey

 

 

             
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