NCIP Head visits NoLCom, solidifies partnership to protect IP rights

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Camp Aquino, Tarlac City – Secretary Allen Capuyan, the Executive Director of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the concurrent Chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) paid a courtesy call on Northern Luzon Command Commander Lt. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr purposely to intensify Indigenous People’s protection against manipulations of Communist terrorists.

Secretary Capuyan was welcomed by Lt. Gen. Torres and the command staff at the Cordillera Hall of the command in Camp Aquino, San Miguel, Tarlac City at around 9 a.m., February 15, 2022.

During his visit, Secretary Capuyan was accompanied by NCIP Commissioners and Regional Directors of CAR, Regions 1, 2, and 3.

Afterward, Col. Alaric Avelino Delos Santos, NoLCom’s Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Civil-Military Operations, U7, presented the command’s thrusts since the creation of the NOLCOM’s Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Desk (IPAD).

“The NoLCom IPAD fast tracks coordination and facilitates efficient implementation of projects and programs to the different indigenous communities in Northern and Central Luzon. It’s also a bid to keep the Communist Terrorist Group from radicalizing and recruiting innocent IP members who have no idea that they’re being exploited by a terrorist group that claims to be fighting for their rights but has no interest in improving their living conditions,” Col. Delos Santos remarked during the briefing.

In his message, Secretary Capuyan expressed his gratitude to the NoLCom for their indefatigable service and commitment to creating an environment of inclusivity for the people from all sectors in the north and central Luzon, and at the same time protecting the IP from the terroristic intentions of the CTGs.

The NCIP Chairperson also presented an award to Lt. Gen. Torres given by the members of the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Youth Organization (MIPYO) in recognition of his contributions and advocacy for the welfare of the IP sector in Mindanao during his stint as the Commander of the Joint Task Force Agila wherein he was referred to as “Datu Tinikaran” which means dependable. He was likewise acknowledged as the father of the “Banog”, a group of IP youth leaders in Mindanao. A similar recognition was likewise given by the Mindanao IP Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL).

Likewise, Lt. Gen. Torres conveyed the command’s full commitment to apprehend the remaining Communist terrorists who still engage in terroristic activities which hinder peace and development in NolCom’s area of responsibility.

“As advocates of peace and development, NOLCOM will continue to collaborate and partner with the different government agencies and other concerned stakeholders for the implementation of programs and projects that will capacitate and empower the indigenous people and improve their living conditions,” Lt. Gen Torres said.

“Let our collective efforts be our strong force in accomplishing our common goal, to have a secure, peaceful, and progressive country,” the general furthered.

It can be recalled that since the creation of IPAD, NolCom has facilitated various projects and programs that aim to recognize the need to address the vulnerability of the indigenous groups in northern and central Luzon from the exploits of the communist terrorist groups such as the Tribal Chieftains’ Summit on 09-11 March 2021; IP Youth Engagement on 03 April 2021; IP Youth Leadership Summit on 30 July- 01 August 2021; “Bayanihan sa Sitio” and gift-giving activities at Sitio Pisapungan Primary School, Brgy Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac on July 10, 2021; and the completion of a 70-meter long, anti-corrosive, and 100% galvanized steel hanging bridge in Brgy. Umiray in Dingalan, Aurora on October 28, 2021.