In the Opinion rendered by now Chief Justice Reynato Puno for the seven prevailing justices (also the source of the Philippines Ancient History quoted in yesterday's post) , we find the exact definition and official list of the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines:
Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples-- refer to a group of people or homogeneous 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."Here is the amazing thing--The NON-INDIGENOUS peoples of the Philippines, according to this Supreme Court decision are all the CHRISTIAN Filipinos, those very Ilocanos, Pampangos, Tagalogs, Cebuanos, etc. in this post's title.
Indigenous Cultural Communities or Indigenous Peoples refer to a group of people or homogeneous societies who have continuously lived as an organized community on communally bounded and defined territory. These groups of people have actually occupied, possessed and utilized their territories under claim of ownership since time immemorial. They share common bonds of language, customs, traditions and other distinctive cultural traits, or, they, by their resistance to political, social and cultural inroads of colonization, non-indigenous religions and cultures, became historically differentiated from the Filipino majority. ICCs/IPs also include descendants of ICCs/IPs who inhabited the country at the time of conquest or colonization, who retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions but who may have been displaced from their traditional territories or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains.
1. Indigenous Peoples: Their History
Presently, Philippine indigenous peoples inhabit the interiors and mountains of Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Samar, Leyte, and the
Palawanand Sulu group of islands. They are composed of 110 tribes and are as follows:
1. In the Cordillera Autonomous Region-- Kankaney, Ibaloi, Bontoc, Tinggian or Itneg, Ifugao, Kalinga, Yapayao, Aeta or Agta or Pugot, and Bago of Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan; Ibanag of Isabela, Cagayan; Ilongot of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya; Gaddang of Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Itawis of Cagayan; Ivatan of Batanes, Aeta of Cagayan, Quirino and Isabela.
2. In Region III-- Aetas.
3. In Region IV-- Dumagats of Aurora, Rizal; Remontado of Aurora, Rizal, Quezon; Alangan or Mangyan, Batangan, Buid or Buhid, Hanunuo and Iraya of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro; Tadyawan of Occidental Mindoro; Cuyonon, Palawanon, Tagbanua and Tao't bato of Palawan.
4. In Region V-- Aeta of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur; Aeta-Abiyan, Isarog, and Kabihug of Camarines Norte; Agta, and Mayon of Camarines Sur; Itom of Albay, Cimaron of Sorsogon; and the Pullon of Masbate and Camarines
5. In Region VI-- Ati of Negros Occidental,
Iloiloand Antique, Capiz; the Magahat of NegrosOccidental; the Corolano and Sulod.
6. In Region VII-- Magahat of Negros Oriental and Eskaya of
7. In Region IX-- the Badjao numbering about 192,000 in Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur; the Kalibugan of Basilan, the Samal, Subanon and Yakat.
8. Region X-- Numbering 1.6 million in Region X alone, the IPs are: the Banwaon, Bukidnon, Matigsalog, Talaanding of Bukidnon; the Camiguin of Camiguin Island; the Higa-unon of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon and Misamis Occidental; the Tigwahanon of Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental and and Misamis Occidental, the Manobo of the Agusan provinces, and the Umayamnon of Agusan and Bukidnon.
9. In Region XI-- There are about 1,774,065 IPs in Region XI. They are tribes of the Dibabaon, Mansaka of Davao del Norte; B'laan, Kalagan, Langilad, T'boli and Talaingod of Davao del Sur; Mamamanua of Surigao del Sur; Mandaya of the Surigao provinces and Davao Oriental; Manobo Blit of South Cotabato; the Mangguangon of Davao and South Cotabato; Matigsalog of Davao del Norte and Del Sur; Tagakaolo, Tasaday and Ubo of South Cotabato; and Bagobo of Davao del sur and South Cotabato.
10. In Region XII-- Ilianen, Tiruray, Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug, Yakan/Samal, and Iranon.
This decision is clearly in violation of the equal protection principles of the Constitution, and most especially Separation of Church and State and the Bill of Rights on guarantees of religious freedom and equality before the Law.
Let me say it as plainly as I can.
The Supreme Court decided in Cruz vs. NCIP that:
ALL 110 officially designated Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines are non-Christian minorities.
NONE of the 110 officially designated Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines come from its Catholic majority populations and ethnic groups.
The officially designated IPs are all deemed to own "by native title" ancestral lands and domains, which their descendants now own. But the NON-IPs have no such lands or rights.
The difference is whether the ancestors of any given living ethnic group succumbed to Western colonialism and became Catholics or not. Those that "resisted colonialism" and did not become Catholics are the "Indigenous Peoples". Those that did have none of the rights now given to the IPs.
But many of the IPs also succumbed to colonialism and forced religious conversion. When Islam came, it was no different from when Christianity came...by the Sword and the Cross, or the Kris and the Crescent...soldiers and missionaries. But as long as the invaders were NOT Western, that group could still be considered an Indigenous People. That is how the Supreme Court crumbles the cookie.
Basically, ALL the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines are those that supposedly did not succumb to Western Imperialism (such as the slave-raiding slave-trading Maguindanao and Sulu Confederacies that regularly invaded and pillaged the Visayas for centuries of certain Golden Age.)
Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, in a Separate Opinion on the Constitutionality of the IPRA Law, demolishes the ponencia of Chief Justice Reynato Puno:
(Concurring and Dissenting)
I concur with the draft ponencia of Mr. Justice Santiago M. Kapunan in its well-crafted handling of the procedural or preliminary issues. In particular, I agree that petitioners have shown an actual case or controversy involving at least two constitutional questions of transcendental importance, which deserve judicious disposition on the merits directly by the highest court of the land. Further, I am satisfied that the various aspects of this controversy have been fully presented and impressively argued by the parties. Moreover, prohibition and mandamus are proper legal remedies to address the problems raised by petitioners. In any event, this Court has given due course to the Petition, heard oral arguments and required the submission of memoranda. Indeed, it would then be a galling copout for us to dismiss it on mere technical or procedural grounds.
Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Must Be Within the Constitutional Framework
With due respect, however, I dissent from the ponencia’s resolution of the two main substantive issues, which constitute the core of this case. Specifically, I submit that Republic Act (RA) No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, violates and contravenes the Constitution of the Philippines insofar as --
1. It recognizes or, worse, grants rights of ownership over “lands of the public domain, waters, x x x and other natural resources” which, under Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution, “are owned by the State” and “shall not be alienated.” I respectfully reject the contention that “ancestral lands and ancestral domains are not public lands and have never been owned by the State.” Such sweeping statement places substantial portions of Philippine territory outside the scope of the Philippine Constitution and beyond the collective reach of the Filipino people. As will be discussed later, these real properties constitute a third of the entire Philippine territory; and the resources, 80 percent of the nation's natural wealth.
2. It defeats, dilutes or lessens the authority of the State to oversee the “exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources,” which the Constitution expressly requires to “be under the full control and supervision of the State.”
True, our fundamental law mandates the protection of the indigenous cultural communities’ right to their ancestral lands, but such mandate is "subject to the provisions of this Constitution." I concede that indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) may be accorded preferential rights to the beneficial use of public domains, as well as priority in the exploration, development and utilization of natural resources. Such privileges, however, must be subject to the fundamental law.Consistent with the social justice principle of giving more in law to those who have less in life, Congress in its wisdom may grant preferences and prerogatives to our marginalized brothers and sisters, subject to the irreducible caveat that the Constitution must be respected. I personally believe in according every benefit to the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged, in order to empower them to equally enjoy the blessings of nationhood. I cannot, however, agree to legitimize perpetual inequality of access to the nation's wealth or to stamp the Court's imprimatur on a law that offends and degrades the repository of the very authority of this Court -- the Constitution of the Philippines.