Creation of tribal town in Cotabato eyed

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/19 July) — Cotabato 2nd district Congresswoman Nancy Catamco will file a bill seeking the creation of a tribal municipality in her legislative district once Congress opens on July 26.

Catamco, in a consultative dialogue with the indigenous peoples held here today, said that the proposed tribal municipality would be composed of villages where majority of the population are natives.

Villages predominantly inhabited by indigenous peoples can be found in the towns of Arakan, Magpet, Upper President Roxas, Tulunan, Matalam, Antipas, Makilala, and Kidapawan City, all in the second district of the province.

Catamco, a Bagobo, said the creation of a tribal town in Cotabato will ensure the respect, protection and preservation of ethnic culture, customs, and traditions.

The lawmaker also said she was surprised that the funding for the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was too small compared to the budget allotted for other government agencies.

The national government has appropriated this year P579 million for the NCIP, at least half of which goes to payment of salaries and other personnel services.

Catamco said the consultative dialogue today will help her in shaping the framework of the laws she would propose for the benefit of the indigenous peoples.

She said she has sought the help of former national treasurer Leonor Magtulis-Briones, executive director of the Social Watch Philippines and an expert on indigenous and Moro peoples’ issues, in firming up the proposal for a tribal town. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)