This is in response to malicious statements and publications against the NCIP regarding the
conduct of the ongoing Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Processes provided under
Administrative Order Na. 2, Series of 2012, and the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPA) in the
ongoing GENED 2 Dam Project at Kabugao, Apayao.

The FPIC Team did not fall short on the conduct on the processes. They even extended the
conduct of these processes into several days so that more people will be able to attend and
participate rather than conduct it for only a day for the benefit of the community. To our dismay,
our lawyers were declared persona non grata by a few despite meticulous and sensible
discharge of their mandate. The large populace is willing to execute a resolution refuting
resolution of the few but which NCIP discouraged to avoid further division within
the community. Threats of physical and other harm were also made against the NCIP personnel
and other people. These attacks on a legitimate FPIC process is an attack on the rights of the
Indigenous Peoples, attempting to subjugate the will of the community.

The NCIP never tired in mediating among opposing parties within communities. The FPIC
process clearly revealed that the community, through the Authorized Elders, will decide on all
matters relative to the proposed dam project. The NCIP’s presence was merely to facilitate and
document the conduct of the FPIC process. Some of the FPIC assemblies, in fact, were
attended by the lawyers of The Commission on Human Rights and those engaged by the
opposition and they were enlightened on how the FPIC processes were properly handled. They
have not registered their protest in any of the processes conducted, and no complaints have
been filed.

It cannot be ignored that there are reports that a number of those opposing the project are
either members or supporters of the front organizations
of the CPP/NPA/NDF and those actively publishing against the project are identified
members of these CTG Front Organizations. Their objection to the project is not
on the merits, but is an Arouse-Organize-Mobilize operation aimed at sustaining their
insurgency campaign. With such instigators, no amount of explanation, transparency, and truth
will be sufficient to satisfy them.

Lastly, general statements of irregularity do not help the issue constructively. If there is
evidence of wrong-doing, errors and even criminal fraud, these should be filed in the legal
means, and the NCIP will join in the rectifying any errors and pursuing those who would violate
the sanctity of the decision-making process of the Isnag ICCs/IPs of Kabugao.

 

For the record, the following steps were undertaken and strictly observed:
1. Conduct of Pre-Field Base Investigation (FBI) Conference for all parties to briefly
apprised regarding the FPIC processes, including the rigid procedures of securing
Certification Precondition (CP). The proponent was also given time to discuss, explain and
elaborate to the group their corporation and their proposed project.
2. The conduct of Field Base Investigation by the FPIC Team on 14-18 December 2020,
15-19 February 2021, and conducted on 01-05 March 2021. One of the agreed conditions
during the FBI was for the selected elders of the Municipality of Kabugao shall
participate in the decision-making process. The decision of the majority will prevail.
May we state that it is not NCIP CAR who will choose the Elders/Leaders. This right to choose
is solely vested upon the Community. All that the NCIP CAR did was to receive the list of Elders
authorized through a Community Resolution and have it validated and confirmed by the
Community in a separate assembly, specifically a Community Consultive Assembly 1 (CCA) per
the FPIC guidelines.
3. After the submission of the FBI report to the Regional Office, an FPIC Team was constituted
and the conduct of Pre-FPIC Conference was made virtually. A Work and Financial Plan
(WFP) for the conduct of the FPIC activities was made and mutually agreed upon during the
conference.
4. The conduct of First Community Consultative Assembly (CCA1) during the FPIC proper.
The CCA1 were conducted on: 15 July 2021 for Barangay Madatag only, at Mayor Bartolome
Serut National Agricultural Trade Highschool; 16 July 2021 for Barangay Dibagat only, at ECB
jr. Evacuation Center; 19 July 2021 for Barangay Tuyangan only, at Multi-purpose Hall,
Tuyangan, Kabugao; and 22 July 2021 for the Non-Impact Barangays (Musimiut, Madduang,
Lucab, Nagbabalayan, Dagara, Maragat, Cabetayan, Bulu, Waga, Magabta, Laco, Kumao,
Baliwanan, Poblacion, Luttuacan, Badduat, Lenneng, Karawagan, and Elias K. Bulut (EKB) at
Barangay Madatag.

It was during the CCA1 on 22 July 2021 that Barangay Poblacion, through Mr. John Alexis
Lappas, requested for a separate assembly, which the FPIC Team granted. during the CCAI,
thousands of attendees were made aware of their basic rights, per the IPRA, the FPIC process,
and the other related laws. It was emphasized that the fate of investors solely depends on the
Community through their Authorized Elders, validated and confirmed through a resolution. The
NCIP validated the more or less 300 elders named in the resolution and the same was
knowingly and voluntarily confirmed by the attendees during the CCA1.

5. On 09 November 2021, the Second Community Consultative Assembly (CCA2) for the
three-impact area was conducted for Barangays Madatag, Dibagat, Tuyungan at ECB Jr.
Evacuation Center, Dibagat, Kabugao, Apayao. Meanwhile, the CCA 2 for non-impact
Barangays were clustered into two. The first was on 10 November 2021 for Barangays
Masimut, Madduang, Lucab, Nagbabalayan, Dagara, Maragat, and Cabetayan at Masimut
National Highschool Gymnasium and the second was on 11 November 2021 for Barangays
Bulu, Waga, Magabta, Laco, Kumao, Baliwanan, Poblacion, Badduat, Luttuacan, Karagawan,
Lenneng and EKB at Badduat Multi-purpose Hall, Badduat, Kabugao, Apayao. In these
assemblies, the proponent repeatedly presented their proposed project.

After the Authorized Elders were made to understand the proposed project including its
advantages and disadvantages, consensus building and decision-making was set, for them
to decide wether they are for or against the project. This was initially scheduled last 05
December 2021 but was reset to 18 December due to the request of those opposed to the
project. During this activity, only authorized elders duly validated and confirmed during the
CCA1 participated as those unauthorized were creating chaos aimed at delaying the process.
During the consensus building, only 3 voted “NO” while the rest voted “YES”. The vote was
transparently made by the raising of hands.

Barangay Poblacion was excluded because they wanted to be treated differently and
separately. Their insistence then to join consensus and decision-making activity was not in
accordance with the agreement. However, after being excluded, the same group in Barangay
Poblacion insisted on participating in the scheduled assemblies of the validated and confirmed
elders and succeeded in disrupting the same. In fact, they succeeded in forcing the
rescheduling of said assemblies several times, against the will of the confirmed elders, who
were forces to reschedule just to avoid further disharmony and misunderstanding. This is the
real objective of the instigators in Barangay Poblacion: to delay the approval of the project and,
in the process, cause division, disharmony, confusion and chaos in the Ancestral Domain.