CONFLICTS and crimes with a maximum prison term of six years involving indigenous people (IP) in Davao City could be settled through traditional mechanisms after the mayor signs the ordinance recently approved by the council. Councilor Halila Y. Sudagar, the mandatory IP representative to the local legislative body, said the passage of the law will allow IP communities to preserve their culture as well as help declog local courts. “Prior to passing this ordinance, we coordinated with the City Prosecutor’s Office and the personnel of the Department of Justice and they were happy about this ordinance,” said Ms. Sudagar. The ordinance specifies that the settlement of cases under the IP customary system will involve and be overseen by the Lupong Tagapamayapa (peace council), Office of the Cultural Community Officers, and the deputy mayors of the different tribes. In cases where the conflicts involve two or more tribes, the jurisdiction is decided by both parties. “They (protagonists) can write a letter if they would like to resort to the judgment of the IP Council of Elders,” Ms. Sudagar said. Davao City is home to 11 IP communities. — Carmelito Q. Francisco