TARLAC CITY — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) launched the Indigenous Peoples Affairs Desk (IPAD) to safeguard ethnic minorities from exploitation.
NOLCOM Commander Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said the IPAD is a manifestation of their commitment to protect the welfare of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and preserve cultural integrity.
“NOLCOM IPAD will allow various government agencies to work closely in addressing problems faced by IPs that might be exploited by communist terrorists and left-leaning organizations,” he said.
The initiative will also fast track the coordination and facilitation of projects and programs for over two million IPs in Northern and Central Luzon.
Burgos recognized the role of IPs in fostering peace and development in the country.
“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 IPs and improve their living condition,” Burgos said.
For his part, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Commissioner Roland Rivera commended NOLCOM’s initiative to establish an affairs desk aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of IPs as well as preserving the cultural heritage.
“NCIP will work closely with the AFP to advance the well-being of the IP, develop a culture of non-violence and support in developing a progressive indigenous cultural communities,” Rivera said.
IPAD will be headed by NOLCOM Deputy Commander Brigadier General Henry Doyaeon who has ancestral lineage tracing from the Ibaloi tribe.