NCIP Zamboanga office laments P1,000 budget, but admits it’s a wake-up call

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THE ZAMBOANGA Pensinsula regional office of the National Commission on Ingenious Peoples (NCIP), which is among the agencies given a P1,000 budget for 2018 by the House of Representatives, is dismayed at what is practically a move towards the agency’s abolition, but its head admitted that it could be taken as a wake-up call for government agencies to do their mandate. “We are deeply saddened with the budget allocation to our office,” Engineer George T. Jocutan, officer-in-charge of the NCIP local office, said in a telephone interview with BusinessWorld. He added, “We are still looking forward to reconsidering of our 2018 budget.” The proposed General Appropriations Act is still subject for review by the Senate and a bicameral conference. Mr. Jocutan said some of the IP communities have expressed support to them. “Definitely it will have an adverse effect on the programs and projects that we are implementing in the IP communities,” he said. Among the recognized IP tribes in the region are Sama Bangingi, Badjao, Subanon, Yakan, and Kolibugan. Besides the NCIP, the Commission on Human Rights, and Energy Regulatory Commission were also each given a P1,000 allocation. — Albert F. Arcilla