STATEMENT | Panaghiusa Philippine network supports the call for NCIP’s accountability
Panaghiusa Philippine Network supports indigenous peoples' organizations and advocates that staged a protest today in front of the House of Representatives, coinciding with Congress's budget hearing, to hold the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) accountable for the questionable and overt expenditures of its "anti-insurgency" workshops linked with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The Commission on Audit (COA) for instance questioned the NCIP regional office's transactions for the NTF-ELCAC Regional Action Planning Workshop, held in November 2020 at the Amontay Beach Resort in Asipit, Agusan Del Norte which cost ₱1,064,219.06 and lacked the necessary documentation. Furthermore, COA stated that the procurement did not undergo a public bidding process, and the accommodations should have been equal to the number of participants. Findings showed that the names of persons did not bear the participants' signatures. The workshop session was attended by 300 to 500 people before immunization took effect.  COA also asked NCIP in 2020 to justify the ₱4.815 million spent on activities held in expensive hotels and restaurants. NCIP's illegal payout of ₱286,759.00 in
Region 11 was also highlighted by COA, which included two workers' meals during a retirement ceremony. 
Panaghiusa Philippine Network supports COA’s findings on NCIP’s misuse of funds as we continue to demand accountability over NCIP and NTF ELCAC's fatal practice of red-tagging peoples' organizations and prominent indigenous leaders, and their failure to respond to the multiple human rights violations experienced by the indigenous peoples. We continue to seek accountability over the brazen effort of the NCIP to discredit the identity and self-ascription of the Lumad, Igorot, and Tumandok, and the malicious political implications of branding these terms synonymous with the Communist Party of the Philippines. In light of the massive harmful projects on ancestral lands and indigenous peoples' opposition on the ground, the network pursues to look into and investigate the failures in the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) procedure which is one of the prime responsibilities of the institution.
At this time of the pandemic, and lockdown policies, when poverty is high, and livelihood opportunities are scarce, the budget spent for NCIP’s anti-insurgency program could have much better been used to support basic health, education, livelihood, and other social services for indigenous communities and families to survive, and to address the spate of human rights violations committed against indigenous communities.
We hold the NCIP accountable for this grave disservice and attacks that place indigenous peoples at high risk.