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BARMM lawmakers seek establishment of IP community centers

COTABATO CITY — Community centers for the indigenous peoples (IPs) will be established in the Bangsamoro region under the recently introduced bill by several members of Parliament.

BTA Bill 208, also known as the Indigenous People’s Community Centers (IPCC) Act of 2022, principally authored by Member of Parliament Engr. Don Mustapha Loong, aims to bridge the gap between the IPs and the Bangsamoro government.

With IP communities running the center, MP Loong added, they can access government services without fear of being discriminated against because of their religion or ethnic affiliation, race, culture, sexual orientation, or any other reason.

The centers, MP Loong emphasized, will serve as a channel for indigenous communities to express their concerns and needs, allowing the government to address them, and tailor each action to their specific needs.

They can also showcase their distinct cultures by incorporating materials and products that are unique to their communities.

The community centers, showcasing the designs of the IPs, will be equipped with: an assembly or meeting room; a training and learning room; a display kiosk or store; shower and toilet facilities; emergency/exit doors; food preparation areas; trash and waste management collection areas; health care areas; rainwater harvesting and collection facilities; and other facilities prescribed in the DSWD-DILG-DOH-DepEd Joint Memorandum.

The municipal government, through the concerned barangay, will be responsible for the operation, supervision, and management of IPCC.

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs will identify areas for community centers and will also oversee the entire implementation of the measure.

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