BBL CRUCIAL FOR PEACE, PROGRESS FOR LUMADS IN MINDANAO

As the bicameral conference committee finalizes the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, ANAC-IP party-list Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr. expressed hope that peace would finally be a reality in Mindanao.

“The sooner the BBL is passed, the sooner we can work to make peace a reality in Mindanao,” Panganiban said.

The legislator said that ANAC-IP is committed to supporting the BBL because it is a way to provide non-Moro indigenous peoples an environment that is conducive to development.

The lawmaker expressed confidence that the passage of the BBL would greatly contribute to eliminating strife in Mindanao, thus addressing one of the perennial issues faced by Lumads.

The passage of the BBL would greatly contribute to eliminating strife in Mindanao, thus addressing one of the perennial issues faced by Lumads.

Violence in Mindanao has led to the displacement of vulnerable sectors such as IPs and other poor families, said Panganiban. One of the problems, he explained, is the absence of aggregate data to show exactly how many IPs are affected by conflict in the southern island.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 300,000 persons were displaced in Mindanao in 2017 due to armed conflict, clan feud, and general crime and violence.

The agency also said that the lack of evidence-based data across the island has made “invisible” a large number of at-risk and displaced communities. Five to ten million people in Mindanao do not have birth certificates, the UNHCR added, which puts them at risk of becoming stateless over generations and without access to basic services, even if displaced.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre meanwhile pegs the number of Filipinos displaced due to armed conflict, crime, and clan violence since 2000 at about four million.

“The passage of the BBL means that we pave the way for these displaced Filipinos––many of whom are IPs that do not wish to be involved in conflict––to go back to their homes and continue their way of life,” said Panganiban.

The solon earlier lauded the bicameral conference committee for retaining provisions guaranteeing the rights of lumads.

Among the provisions on non-Moro IPs included in the BBL are representation in the Bangsamoro Council of Leaders, reserved seats in Parliament, creation of an IP office that will be part of the Bangsamoro Cabinet, and the right to freedom of choice as to their identity.

 

BY: ROMELO CAPARAS

 

ANAC-IP REP TO DENR: ENSURE ALL ISSUES ADDRESSED BEFORE RE-OPENING BORACAY

ANAC-IP Rep. Jose Panganiban urged Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu to make ensuring Boracay’s sustainability its number one priority.

This after Cimatu, who heads Task Force Boracay, revealed during a hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources that the island is set to reopen on October 26.

Panganiban, a member of the committee, said that guaranteeing that Boracay will not be closed again in the future should be the main focus.

He also called on the task force to not be pressured to rush their work in order to meet deadlines, stressing that “ultimately, our primary objective is to address all issues that have forced the island’s closure.”

 

“I am confident that President Rodrigo Duterte would not mind a delay in the reopening if it is in the spirit of making sure all bases are covered,” said Panganiban.

 

Prudence, rather than haste, should be paramount, Panganiban said, as he cautioned that a large number of people would be affected by any setbacks if the island is reopened without addressing all the issues that had plagued the popular tourist spot prior to its closure.

Data shows that about 36,000 workers, including members of the Ati indigenous peoples group that reside on the island, lost their jobs when the government closed down the island in April.

The Department of Labor and Employment hired 5,000 workers as part of its 30-day emergency employment program, with 2,000 of this number from the Ati community.

Panganiban enjoined the DENR to ensure that all establishments strictly comply with environmental laws, as well as other requirements that deal with sewage and pollution.

The solon also said that the President did the right thing in closing the island, and that the recent SWS survey showing that 64% of Filipinos support Boracay’s temporary closure “was deemed the correct course of action by the majority of our people.”

The government had justified the closure of Boracay to arrest the island’s destruction, which was because of the inability of the local government and the DENR to properly enforce environmental laws.

 

“The aim should be to make Boracay not only a top tourist destination again, but also to make it one that is a model of sustainable tourism,” said Panganiban.

ANAC-IP SOLON LAUDS CHARTER DRAFT FOR IP RECOGNITION

 

A party-list solon representing indigenous peoples lauded the draft charter recently approved by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) for recognizing the welfare and rights of IPs, particularly the provision mandating that seats be reserved for IPs in the legislative department under Article VII.

 

The 22-member Con-Com that formally convened in February this year unanimously approved the draft Constitution, which will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte on July 9.

ANAC-IP Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr. pointed out that the provision in the new charter setting aside seats in the legislative department for IPs is good news, “as IPs are under-represented.”

Article VII-Legislative Department, Section 5(d) of the draft charter states that “for three consecutive terms following the ratification of this Constitution, one half of the seats set aside for parties voted under the proportional representation system shall be reserved for labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous peoples and fisherfolk groups, provided that they organize themselves as parties or coalitions of parties. The other half of the total seats allocated for proportional representation shall be open to all other political parties or coalitions thereof.”

 

Panganiban said that he had looked forward to the adoption of the proposal requiring representatives from the marginalized sector, IPs, and environmental advocates in the Commission on Human Rights. However, the said proposal was not included in the approved draft.

 

Panganiban nonetheless expressed confidence that in upcoming regional consultation, the proposal––along with any other inputs from indigenous peoples––could again be put forward and eventually included.

 

“We are grateful for this opportuity to take another look at our Constitution so that we can see how it can be more responsive to the needs and aspirations of IPs. The President deserves credit for having the political will to deliver on his promise to have the Constitution reviewed and amended during his term,” said the legislator.

The lawmaker also vowed to hold consultative meetings with indigenous peoples groups and legal experts to determine whether specific provisions in the draft constitution should be strengthened or added.

 

“Aside from the regional consultations that the ConCom will hold, we plan to conduct separate consultations with our constituency,” said Panganiban.

“This will be crucial in ensuring that the expectations of IPs are aligned with the whole process of changing the Constitution, and will serve as our guide as we convene the constituent assembly.”

“Increase registered IP voters” – Panganiban

By: Rosalie Reynoso

July 3, 2018

With voter registration for the May 2019 national and local elections resuming last Monday, July 2, a party-list solon representing indigenous peoples urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to step up its efforts to ensure that more IP members are registered.

“There are only an estimated 100,000 registered IP voters nationwide.”

“I hope that the Comelec will intensify its efforts so that more IP members get to register in time for the mid-term elections next year,” said ANAC-IP Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr., who stressed that the Comelec needs to dramatically increase the number of registered IP members given that there are only an estimated 100,000 registered IP voters nationwide, per the poll body.

Panganiban, a member of the Gaddang indigenous group, lauded the Comelec for its initiatives to make the elections more accessible to marginalized sectors, but emphasized that more needed to be done to reach out to IPs.

“The COMELEC has announced that it will conduct offsite satellite registrations in places like public plazas, schools and other public places.”

The COMELEC has announced that it will conduct offsite satellite registrations in places like public plazas, schools and other public places. In these offsite registrations, the Comelec said that preference would be given to members of the vulnerable sectors such as IPs and senior citizens.

“In these offsite registrations, the Comelec said that preference would be given to members of the vulnerable sectors such as IPs and senior citizens.”

According to Panganiban, “the IP population ranges from 14 to 17 million Filipinos, which comprise around 18 percent of the country’s population.”

“If only 100,000 IP members are registered voters, this means that a large percentage of IPs have yet to let their voices be heard through the elections; clearly, the Comelec can and must do more,” said the legislator.

At the same time, Panganiban also enjoined his fellow IPs to register during the registration period, which ends on September 29, 2018.

“I urge all IPs of voting age to register. Voting is one of our most important rights. By voting, we take an active part in the future of our families and communities and help dictate how our nation should be run.”

Solons buck proposed season-based rice tariffs

By: Jovee Marie de la Cruz

July 20, 2017

The Cabinet proposal to impose season-based tariffs on rice in lieu of the quantitative restriction (QR) scheme faces rough sailing in Congress, as lawmakers already voiced their concerns over the proposal, particularly for being prone to manipulation by unscrupulous traders.

For one, House Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairman and Party-list Rep. Jose T. Panganiban Jr. of Anac-IP said replacing the QR on rice with season-based tariffs could become an avenue for smuggling. “If I were to decide, seasonal tariff will not be effective as compared to straight tariff because of unscrupulous importers who tend to withhold importation on lean months, just like what they did to garlic,” Panganiban told the BusinessMirror. “Also, seasonal tariffication will be easier to manipulate,” he added.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was the first to float the idea of imposing a tariff of 35 percent during the lean months and 50 percent during harvest season to protect local farmers from import surge, while shielding consumers from price spikes.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol later said the proposal of Dominguez is consistent with President Duterte’s order to discourage imports during harvest season. Panganiban said the proposal of the finance secretary will be discussed in the ongoing technical working group (TWG) meetings to consolidate all the bills amending Republic Act (RA) 8178, as well as the positions of the stakeholders.

The Philippines’s waiver on the special treatment for rice has already lapsed. However, the country in April informed the WTO it was not able to convert its QR on rice into tariff, citing delays in the amendment of RA 8178, or the Agricultural Tarrification Act. Amending RA 8178 is needed to scrap the QR and convert it into tariffs. Without the amendment, the Philippines needs to enforce reduced rates on agricultural goods covered by the Philippines’s tariff commitments to the WTO. “Of course, that will be one of the inputs that will be discussed in the TWG, if it would be the official position of the finance department or the economic team of the government,” Panganiban added.

The TWG, he said, has not received “the DOF official position paper on the matter”.

Partly-list Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan also expressed reservations on the proposal of the DOF secretary. “Seasonal rice tariffs mean that we can accurately predict the weather and its impact on rice production. With climate change disturbing cropping cycles and the thinness of global rice production and supply, we cannot sacrifice rice self-sufficiency and making rice tariffication weather-dependent,” he said.  “If we impose [seasonal rice] tariffs, it should be to boost local productions as priority, thus it should be at its allowable maximum.” Panganiban said the TWG will finish and submit the consolidated draft bill amending RA 8178 by August. “The TWG will finish [consolidating the filed bills and positions of stakeholders] by August.”

Earlier Panganiban said the leadership of the 17th Congress has agreed to include in its priority bills measures replacing quantitative import restriction on rice with tariffs. Panganiban’s House Bill (HB) 5433 also seeks the creation of the rice competitiveness-enhancement fund.

The bill said, “In lieu of the QR, the maximum bound rates committed under the Uruguay Round Final Act shall be imposed on the agricultural products whose quantitative restrictions are repealed by this Act, as amended.”

It also said in case of shortages or abnormal price increases in agricultural products, whose QRs are lifted, the President may propose to Congress revisions, modifications or adjustments of the Minimum Access Volume (MAV); “provided, however, that in the event Congress fails to act after 15 days from receipt of the proposal, the same shall be deemed approved”.

The bill also said in lieu of the QR on rice, the maximum bond rate shall be as notified by the Philippines to the World Trade Organization.

The measure also seeks the creation of the rice competitiveness-enhancement fund for rice.

The rice fund shall consist of all duties collected from the importation of the staple under this act, as well as revenues from MAV mechanism for five years from the start of the effectivity of the bill.

Besides Panganiban’s HB 5433, Party-list Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga and House Committee on Economic Affairs Chairman Arthur Yap of Bohol have also filed two separate bills seeking to place safety nets for Filipino rice producers by imposing tariffs in lieu of QRs on rice imports and to amend the RA 8178, or the Agricultural Tariffication Act.

In HBs 5023 and 4904, Arroyo and Yap want to direct tariff collections from rice imports to projects and programs that enhance rice productivity and increase farmers’ incomes.

Rubber roadmap to push for more inclusive industry

The House Committee on Agriculture and Food chaired by ANAC IP Party-list Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr. approved the creation of the Technical Working Group to finalize the House Bill No. 2912 known as the “Philippine Rubber Industry Development Act of 2017”. It will be headed by Zamboanga del Norte 3rd District Rep. Isagani Amatong who also authored the proposal embodied in HB 2912.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Director Ricardo M. Oñate, Jr. in his message during the meeting held July 10 at DA conference room assured key rubber stakeholders of the agency’s support. “Under our High Value Crops Development Program [HVCDP] we have identified various interventions to complement strategies identified in the proposed roadmap. These include production expansion, training support, and processing facilities,” Oñate said.

Based on the report from HVCDP, DA-XI has distributed a total of 451,942 grafted rubber seedlings to 29 farmers’ associations and expanded rubber plantation to at least 903 hectares. “The making of this roadmap is one way of projecting on what would be the situation of our farmers after the program,” said Alfonso Jack Sandique, Chairperson of the PhlRUBBER TWG.

The rubber industry roadmap aims to expand primary production areas to at least 300,000 hectares, increase the export volume of rubber- based products by 10% annually and increase the income of the rubber farmers above the poverty line threshold.

The roadmap also seeks to take advantage of the emerging opportunities such as the establishment of a local rubber tire manufacturing plant in Mindanao.  “This will provide a ready market for our rubber products. The reason why our rubber prices are fluctuating because we have always been dependent on the international market,” said DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol during one of his meetings with farmers and LGU officials in the region. “We have to create local demand for our rubber products to stabilize its price,” he added.

 

PH takes centerstage in FAO meeting of 194 nations

Rome, Italy – The Philippines and its programs in agriculture and food security will take the centerstage when it assume the Chairmanship of the 40th United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 40th Biennial Conference in Rome from July 3 to 9.

As the Philippine Secretary of Agriculture, I will represent the Philippines and I will be backed up by the Chairpersons of the Committee on Agriculture of both Houses of Congress, Senator Cynthia A. Villar and Congressman Jose Panganiban.

Both Senator Villar and Congressman Panganiban will arrive in Rome on July 2.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Palau President Tommy Remengesau, the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, over 70 Agriculture Ministers and representatives of 194 member countries of the FAO will attend the week-long conference.

This will be the first time the Philippines will Chair the FAO Conference and it comes at a time when Philippine Agriculture is undergoing a major overhaul and redirection.

In the country statement which I will deliver during the Conference, the Philippines will emphasise the importance of a concerted effort among nations to ensure food security amid the challenges of Climate Change.

The Philippines will also call for greater cooperation among the advanced food producing countries and the emerging food production areas like the Philippines in the areas of technology transfer and sharing of best practices.

“The responsibility to feed the growing population of the world must be a shared mission of all countries of the world and the old practice of keeping in exclusivity advanced technologies in food production must be abandoned,” the statement which I will deliver on Monday, July 3, will emphasise.

The Philippines will also share its innovations in disaster and Climate Change preparedness including the establishment of Food Storage and Depots in identified High Risk areas which could be marooned during major disasters.

The program to repopulate the inland bodies of water to ease the pressure on the fishing grounds of the Philippines will also be shared during the Conference.
Other countries will also share their best practices during the 5-minute Country Statement that each Agriculture Minister will deliver.

P5 million indigenous peoples center to rise in Benguet

Dexter A. See

November 19, 2015

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – An indigenous peoples party-list group disclosed the availability of some P5 million from its initiative to fund the establishment of an indigenous peoples (IP) center within the provincial property in barangay Wangal here to cater to the various needs of IPs and indigenous cultural communities not only from the province but also from the different parts of the region.

Anak IP Party-list Rep. Jose Panganiban said the put up of IP centers in the different parts of the country is one of their major projects in order to enhance the preservation and protection of the rich culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples and to guarantee that such practices will be properly passed on to the present and future generations.

Panganiban was one of the guests during the ip Day celebration which was among the numerous activities that were lined up by the provincial government for the celebration of the 115th founding anniversary of Benguet and the conduct of the traditional Adivay Festival.
“We want our elders to have an avenue where to teach today’s youth with the proper steps of our age-old dances, the way we sing our chants and the proper way of performing our rituals,” Panganiban stressed.

He said Benguet serves as one of the models in the implementation of the indigenous peoples mandatory representative to the different policy-making bodies after ten out of the thirteen municipalities were able to have their IP representatives to their local councils

According to him, members of the council of elders, tribal leaders and officials of federations of ancestral domain must spearhead the education of today’s youth on the rich culture and traditions that was passed on to them by their ancestors so as not to end up at the losing end and eventually losing the cultural practices and heritage of our forefathers that were properly passed on to them.
For his part, Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan lauded the commitment of his fellow lawmaker in facilitating the release of the funds for the put up of the IP center, saying that programs and projects in relation to heritage and cultural preservation will be enhanced and that Benguet will be leading the way in such efforts with the put up of the center.

He added that he will work out the augmentation of the funds to be released by the party-list group once it will not be enough in the establishment of the center for the same to be realized for the benefit of the present and future generation of Cordillerans.
Cosalan said concerned agencies must prepare an overall and comprehensive plan for the center so that its actual cost could be determined, thus, the lacking funding support could be augmented in case the programmed structure and facilities will be over the P5 million committed by the party-list group.

Consultative Conference of Quantitative Restriction of Rice Imports

Stotsenberg Hotel and Casino, Clark Freeport Zone.

September 27, 2016

Attending the national consultative conference on the lifting of Quantity Restriction of rice importation pursuant to WTO agreement due to expire on June 2017 with Rep. Jose T. Panganiban Jr. – Chairman, Committee on Agriculture & Food at Clark, Pampanga. According to Rep. Panganiban, the House will soon pass a bill on Tariffication which is now on 2nd Reading.

KABANGKALAN CITY Celebrates IP Day with Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr

October 22, 2016 · Bacolod City

Attending the 5th IP DAY Celebration of Kabankalan City with Cong. Jose Panganiban as Guest of Honor. Oct. 22, 2016. In photo: City Mayor Isidro P. Zayco, BM Pedro Zayco, City Council, City IPMR Jeorge Medez Largado, DepEd OIC Reg. Director Gilbert Sadsad, NCIP Officials. Congressman jose T. Panganiban Jr. of ANAC-IP Partylist pledge for the construction of IP Center of the City in order to empower indigenous people and be more pro-active in local governance. According to Panganiban, he has allocated the amount of 2.5 Million for the construction of IP Center which will be implemented in 1st quarter of FY-2019.