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REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8371 (July 28, 1997)- An Act to recognize, protect and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities/ indigenous peoples, creating a national commission on indigenous peoples, establishing implementing mechanisms, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:



SECTION 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997″.

SECTION 2. Declaration of State Policies. - The State shall recognize and promote all the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) hereunder enumerated within the framework of the Constitution:

The State shall recognize and promote the rights of ICCs/IPs within the framework of national unity and development;

The State shall protect the rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains to ensure their economic, social and cultural well being and shall recognize the applicability of customary laws governing property rights of relations in determining the ownership and extent of ancestral domain;

The State shall recognize, respect and protect the rights of ICCs/IPs to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions and institutions. It shall consider these rights in the formulation of national laws and policies;

The State shall guarantee that members of the ICCs/IPs regardless of sex, shall equally enjoy the full measure of human rights and freedoms without distinction or discrimination;

The State shall take measures, with the participation of the ICCs/IPs concerned, to protect their rights and guarantee respect for their cultural integrity, and to ensure that members of the ICCs/IPs benefit on an equal footing from the rights and opportunities which national laws and regulations grant to other members of the population; and

The State recognizes its obligations to respond to the strong expression of the ICCs/IPs for cultural integrity by assuring maximum ICC/IP participation in the direction of education, health, as well as other services of ICCs/IPs, in order to render such services more responsive to the needs and desires of these communities.

Towards these ends, the State shall institute and establish the necessary mechanisms to enforce and guarantee the realization of these rights, taking into consideration their customs, traditions, values, beliefs, interests and institutions, and to adopt and implement measures to protect their rights to their ancestral domains.



SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall mean:

Ancestral Domains - Subject to Section 56 hereof, refer to all areas generally belonging to ICCs/IPs comprising lands, inland waters, coastal areas, and Natural Resources therein, held under a claim of ownership, occupied or possessed by ICCs/IPs, by themeselves or through their ancestors, communally or individually since time immemorial, continuously to the present except when interruptd by war, force majeure or displacement by force, deceit, stealth or as a consequence of government projects or any other voluntary dealings entered into by government and private individuals/corporations, and which are necessary to ensure their economic, social and cultural welfare. It shall include ancestral lands, forests, pasture, residential, agricultural, and other lands individually owned whether alienable and disposable or otherwise, hunting grounds, burial grounds, worship areas, bodies of water, mineral and other natural resources, and lands which may no longer be exclusively occupied by ICCs/IPs but from which they traditionally had access for their subsistence and traditional activities, particularly the home ranges of ICCs/IPs who are still nomadic and/or shifting cultivators;

Ancestral Lands - Subject to Section 56 hereof, refers to land occupied, possessed and utilized by individuals, families and clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since time immemorial, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, under claims of individual or traditional group ownership, continuously, to the present except when interrupted by war, force majeure or displacement by force, deceit, stealth, or as a consequence of government projects and other voluntary dealings entered into by government and private individuals/corporations, including, but not limited to, residential lots, rice terraces or paddies, private forests, swidden farms and tree lots;

Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title - refers to a title formally recognizing the rights of possession and ownership of ICCs/IPs over their ancestral domains identified and delineated in accordance with this law;

Certificate of Ancestral Land Title - refers to a title formally recognizing the rights of ICCs/IPs over their ancestral lands;

Communal Claims - refers to claims on land, resources and rights thereon, belonging to the whole community within a defined territory;

Customary Laws - refer to a body of written and/or unwritten rules, usages, customs and practices traditionally and continually reccognized, accepted and observed by respective ICCs/IPs;

Free and Prior Informed Consent - as used in this Act shall mean 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 coercio, and obtained after fully disclosing the intent and scope of the activity, in a languag and process understandable to the community;

Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples - refer to a group of people or homogenous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others, who have continuously lived as organized ccommunity 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;

Indigenous Political Structures - refer to organizational and cultural leadership systems, institutions, relationships, patterns and processes for decision-makng and participation, identified by ICCs/IPs such as, but not limited to, Council of Elders, Council of Timuays, Bodong Holders, or any other tribunal or body of similar nature;

Individual Claims - refer to claims on land and rights thereon which have been devolved to individuals, familiesa and clans including, but not limited to, residential lots, rice terraces or paddies and tree lots;

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) - refers to the office created under this Act, which shall be under the Office of the President, and which shall be the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs to recognize, protect and promote the rights of ICCs/IPs;

Native Title - refers to pre-conquest rights to lands and domains which, as far back as memory reaches, have been held under a claim of private ownership by ICCs/IPs, have never been public lands and are thus indisputably presumed to have been held that way since before the Spanish Conquest;

Non-Government Organization - refers to a private, nonprofit voluntary organization that has been organized primarily for the delivery of various servicces to the ICCs/IPs and has an established track record for effectiveness and acceptability in the community where it serves;

People's Organization - refers to a private, nonprofit voluntary organization of members of an ICC/IP which is accepted as representative of such ICCs/IPs;

Sustainable Traditional Resource Rights - refers to the rights of ICCs/IPs to sustainably use, manage, protect and conserve a) land, air, water, and minerals; b) plants, animals and other organisms; c) collecting, fishing and hunting grounds; d) sacred sites; and e) other areas of economic, ceremonial and aesthetic value in accordance with their indigenous knowledge, beliefs, systems and practices; and

Time Immemorial - refers to a period of time when as far back as memory can go, certain ICCs/IPs are known to have been occupied, possessed in the concept of owner, and utilized a defined territory devolved to them, by operation of customary law or inherited from their ancestors, in accordance with their customs and traditions.



SEC. 4. Concept of Ancestral Lands/Domains.- Ancestral lands/domains shall include such concepts of territories which cover not only the physical environment but the total environment including the spiritual and cultural bonds to the areas which the ICCs/IPs possess, occupy and use and to which they have claims of ownership.

SEC. 5. Indigenous Concept of Ownership. - Indigenous concept of ownership sustains the view that ancestral domains and all resources found therein shall serve as the material bases of their cultural integrity. The indigenous concept of ownership generally holds that ancestral domains are the ICC's/IP's private but community property which belongs to all generations and therefore cannot be sold, disposed or destroyed. It likewise covers sustainable traditional resource rights.

SEC. 6. Composition of Ancestral Lands/Domains. - Ancestral lands and domains shall consist of all areas generally belonging to ICCs/IPs as referred under Sec. 3, items (a) and (b) of this Act.

SEC. 7. Rights to Ancestral Domains. - The rights of ownership and possession of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains shall be recognized and protected. Such rights shall include:

Right of Ownership. - The right to claim ownership over lands, bodies of water traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs, sacred places, traditional hunting and fishing grounds, and all improvements made by them at any time within the domains;

Right to Develop Lands and Natural Resources. - Subject to Section 56 hereof, right to develop, control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied, owned, or used; to manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations; to benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein; the right to negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources in the areas for the purpose of ensuring ecological, environmental protection and the conservation measures, pursuant to national and customary laws; the right to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project, government or private, that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domain and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a result of the project; and the right to effective measures by the government to prevent any interference with, alienation and encroachment upon these rights;

Right to Stay in the Territories. - The right to stay in the territory and not to be removed therefrom. No ICCs/IPs will be relocated without their free and prior informed consent, nor through any means other than eminent domain. When relocation is considered necessary as an exceptional measure, such relocation shall take place only with the free and prior informed consent of the ICCs/IPs concerned and whenever possible, they shall be guaranteed the right to return to their ancestral domains, as soon as the grounds for relocation cease to exists. When such procedures, ICCs/IPs shall be provide in all possible cases with lands of quality and legal status at least equal to that of the land previously occupied by them, suitable to provide for their present needs and future development. Persons thus relocated shall likewise be fully compensated for any resulting loss or injury.

Right in Case of Displacement. - In case displacement occurs as a result of natural catastrophes, the State shall endeavor to resettle the displaced ICCs/IPs in suitable areas where they can have temporary life support systems: Provided, That the displaced ICCs/IPs shall have the right to return to their abandoned lands until such time that the normalcy and safety of such lands shall be determined: Provided, further, That should their ancestral domain cease to exist and normalcy and safety of the previous settlements are not possible, displaced ICCs/IPs shall enjoy security of tenure over lands to which they have been resettled: Provided, furthermore, That basic services and livelihood shall be provided to them to ensure that their needs are adequately addressed;

Right to Regulate Entry of Migrants. - Right to regulate the entry of migrant settlers and organizations into the domains;

Right to Safe and Clean Air and Water. - For this purpose, the ICCs/IPs shall have access to integrated systems for the management of their inland waters and air space;

Right to Claim Parts of Reservation. - The right to claim parts of the ancestral domains whicch have been reserved for various purposes, except those reserved and intended for common and public welfare and service; and

Right to Resolve Conflict. - Right to resolve land conflicts in accordance with customary laws of the area where the land is located, and only in default thereof shall the complaints be submitted to amicable settlement and to the Courts of Justice whenever necessary.

SEC. 8. Rights to Ancestral Lands. - the right of ownership and possession of the ICCs/IPs to their ancestral lands shall be recognized and protected.

Right to transfer land/property. - Such right shall include the right to transfer land or property rights to/among members of the same ICCs/IPs, subject to customary laws and traditions of the community concerned.

Right to Redemption. - In cases where it is shown that the transfer of land/property rights by virtue of any agreement or devise, to a non-member of the concerned ICCs/IPs is tainted by the vitiated consent of the ICCs/IPs, or is transferred for an unconscionable consideration or price, the transferor ICC/IP shall have the right to redeem the same within a period not exceeding fifteen (15) years from the date of transfer.

SEC. 9. Responsibilities of ICCs/IPs to their Ancestral Domains. - ICCs/IPs occupying a duly certified ancestral domain shall have the following responsibilities:

Maintain Ecological Balance. - To preserve, restore and maintain a balanced ecology in the ancestral domain by protecting the flora and fauna, watershed areas, and other reserves;

Restore Denuded Areas. - To actively initiate, undertake and participate in the reforestation of denuded areas and other development programs and projects subject to just and reasonable renumeration; and

Observe Laws. - To observe and comply with the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations for its effective implementation.

SEC. 10. Unauthorized and Unlawful Intrusion. - Unauthorized and unlawful intrusion upon, or use of any portion of the ancestral domain, or any violation of the rights hereinbefore enumerated, shall be punishable under this law. Furthermore, the Government shall take measures to prevent non-ICCs/IPs from taking advantage of the ICCs/IPs customs or lack of understanding of laws to secure ownership, possession of land belonging to said ICCs/IPs.

SEC. 11. Recognition of Ancestral Domain Rights. - The rights of ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domains by virtue of Native Title shall be recognized and respected. Formal recognition, when solicited by ICCs/IPs concerned, shall be embodied in a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), which shall recognize the title of the concerned ICCs/IPs over the territories identified and delineated.

SEC. 12. Option to Secure Certificate of Title Under Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, or the Land Registration Act 496. - Individual members of cultural communities, with respect to their individually-owned ancestral lands who, by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest, have been in continous possession and occupation of the same in the concept of owner since time immemorial or for a period of not less than thirty (30) years immediately preceding the approval of this Act and uncontested by the members of the same ICCs/IPs shall have the option to secure title to their ancestral lands under the provisions of Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, or the Land Registration Act 496.

For this purpose, said individually-owned ancestral lands, which are agricultural in character and actually used for agricultural, residential, pasture, and tree farming purposes, including those with a slope of eigteen percent (18%) or more, are hereby classified as alienable and disposable agricultural lands.

The option granted under this section shall be exercised within twenty (20) years from the approval of thisAct.

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Q: Ano ang nilalaman ng republic act 8371 o peoples right act?
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