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Lessons from Implementing Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the Philippines: A Case Study for Teaching Purposes - Facilitator’s Guide July, 2016
Published by: CSRM and The Pavetta Foundation
The Philippines is one of Asia’s biggest producers of copper, nickel, chrome, zinc, gold and silver (Castillo & Alvarez-Castillo 2009). The Philippines represents an interesting case study of the operationalisation of FPIC, as it is one of the few countries to have adopted the principle into its domestic legislation. FPIC is included in the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA; Republic Act No. 8371, Republic of Philippines 1997) and is mentioned in Executive Order No. 79 (Office of the President of the Philippines 2012), which refers to the Mining Act (1995).
The IPRA (Republic Act No. 8371, 1997) was modelled on the draft UNDRIP, but was passed ten years before the adoption of UNDRIP, and as such represents a landmark legislation internationally (Colchester & Ferrari 2007; Doyle & Cariño 2013). It outlines the obligations of the state to recognise and promote all the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and IPs and protect their rights to their ancestral domains to ensure their economic, social and cultural wellbeing (Republic of Philippines 1997). This includes the recognition of customary laws and practices and the rights of ICCs/IPs to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions and institutions.
FPIC is defined by the IPRA (Republic of the Philippines 1997) as:
the consensus of all members of the ICCs/IPs to be determined in accordance with their respective customary laws and practices, free from any external manipulation, interference and coercion, and obtained after fully disclosing the intent and scope of the activity, in a language and process understandable to the community […]
FPIC is required for the exploration, development and use of natural resources; displacement and relocation; and the entry of military personnel, as well as for research and bioprospecting; archaeological explorations; and policies affecting Indigenous people (Castillo & Alvarez-Castillo 2009, p. 277). The IPRA (in theory) gives IPs in the Philippines the right to stop or suspend projects that do not satisfy the consultation process required by the law (Castillo & Alvarez-Castillo 2009, p. 277).
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is the government agency responsible for implementing the IPRA and certifying FPIC (Minter et al. 2012). The NCIP is headed by seven commissioners from major groupings of IPs and also has regional offices (Castillo & Alvarez-Castillo 2009). The Commissioners have administrative, quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers (Oxfam America 2013).