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WHAT IS THE CONCEPT OF JURE REGALIA? (REGALIAN DOCTRINE)

> Generally, under this concept, private title to land must be traced to some grant, express or implied, from the Spanish Crown or its successors, the American Colonial Government, and thereafter, the Philippine Republic

> In a broad sense, the term refers to royal rights, or those rights to which the King has by virtue of his prerogatives

> The theory of jure regalia was therefore nothing more than a natural fruit of conquest

A. CONNECTED TO THIS IS THE STATE’S POWER

OF DOMINUUM

> Capacity of the state to own or acquire property— foundation for the early Spanish decree embracing the feudal theory of jura regalia

> This concept was first introduced through the Laws of the

Indies and the Royal Cedulas

> The Philippines passed to Spain by virtue of discovery and conquest. Consequently, all lands became the exclusive patrimony and dominion of the Spanish Crown.

> The Law of the Indies was followed by the Ley Hipotecaria or the Mortgage Law of 1893. This law provided for the systematic registration of titles and deeds as well as possessory claims

> The Maura Law: was partly an amendment and was the

last Spanish land law promulgated in the Philippines, which

required the adjustment or registration of all agricultural lands, otherwise the lands shall revert to the State

B. TAKE NOTE THAT THE REGALIAN DOCTRINE IS

ENSHRINED IN OUR PRESENT AND PAST CONSTITUTIONS THE 1987 CONSTITUTION PROVIDES UNDER NATIONAL ECONOMY AND PATRIMONY THE FOLLOWING— > “ Section 2. All lands of the public domain, waters,

minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co- production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.”

> The abovementioned provision provides that except for

agricultural lands for public domain which alone may be

alienated, forest or timber, and mineral lands, as well as all other natural resources must remain with the State, the exploration, development and utilization of which shall be subject to its full control and supervision albeit allowing it to enter into coproduction, joint venture or production-sharing agreements, or into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and utilization

C. THE 1987 PROVISION HAD ITS ROOTS IN THE

1935 CONSTITUTION WHICH PROVIDES—

> Section 1. All agricultural timber, and mineral lands of the

public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation, development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject to any existing right, grant, lease, or concession at the time of the inauguration of the Government established under this Constitution. Natural resources, with the exception of public agricultural land, shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the exploitation, development, or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twenty-five

years, renewable for another twenty-five years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, in which cases beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.

D. THE 1973 CONSTITUTION REITERATED THE

REGALIAN DOCTRINE

Section8. All lands of public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, wildlife, and other natural resources of the Philippines belong to the State. With the exception of agricultural, industrial or commercial, residential, or resettlement lands of the public domain, natural resources shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the exploration, or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding twentyfive years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than development of water power, in which cases, beneficial use may by the measure and the limit of the grant.

THE REGALIAN DOCTRINE DOESN'T NEGATE NATIVE

TITLE. THIS IS IN PURSUANCE TO WHAT HAS BEEN

HELD IN CRUZ V. SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

> Petitioners challenged the constitutionality of Indigenous

Peoples Rights Act on the ground that it amounts to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain and all other natural resources therein, by

recognizing the right of ownership of ICC or IPs to their ancestral domains and ancestral lands on the basis of native title.

> As the votes were equally divided, the necessary majority wasn’t obtained and petition was dismissed and the law’s validity was upheld

> Justice Kapunan: Regalian theory doesn’t negate the

native title to lands held in private ownership since time

immemorial, adverting to the landmark case of CARINO V. LOCAL GOVERNMENT, where the US SC through Holmes held: “xxx the land has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership, it will be presumed to have been held in the same way from before the Spanish conquest, and never to have been public land.”

> Existence of native titie to land, or ownership of land by

Filipinos by virtue of possession under a claim of ownership

since time immemorial and independent of any grant from the Spanish crown as an exception to the theory of jure regalia

> Justice Puno: Carino case firmly established a concept of

private land title that existed irrespective of any royal grant

from the State and was based on the strong mandate extended to the Islands via the Philippine Bill of 1902. The

IPRA recognizes the existence of ICCs/IPs as a distinct sector in the society. It grants this people the ownership and possession of their ancestral domains and ancestral lands and defines the extent of these lands and domains

> Justice Vitug: Carino cannot override the collective will of the people expressed in the Constitution.

> Justice Panganiban: all Filipinos, whether indigenous or

not, are subject to the Constitution, and that no one is

exempt from its allencompassing provisions

The facts of Cariño v. Insular Government were brief:

The applicant and plaintiff in error is an Igorot of the Province

of Benguet, where the land lies. For more than fifty years

before the Treaty of Paris, April 11, 1989 (30 Stat. At L.,

1754), as far back as the findings go, the plaintiff and his

ancestors had held the land as owners. His grandfather had

lived upon it, and had maintained fences efficient for the

holding of cattle, according to the custom of the country, with

some of the fences, it seems, having been of much earlier

date. His father had cultivated parts and had used parts for pasturing cattle, and he had used it as a pasture in his turn. They all had been recognized as owners by the Igorots, and he had inherited or received the land from his father, in accordance with Igorot custom. No document of title, however, had issued from the Spanish Crown, and although, in 1893-1894, and again in 1869-1879, he applied for one under the royal decrees then in force, nothing seems to have come of it, unless perhaps, information that lands in Benguet could not be conceded until those to be occupied for sanitarium, etc., had been designated-a purpose carried out by the Philippine government and the United States. In 1901 the plaintiff filed a petition, alleging ownership, under the mortgage law, and the lands were registered to him, that process, establishing only a possessory title, it said.

The issue according to Justice Holmes was whether the claimant, an Igorot, owned the land. The United States government contented that Spain had title to all the lands in the Philippines, except so far as it saw fit to permit private titles to be acquired. It maintained that no prescription can be claimed against Spanish empire and even if that was possible, a decree in 1880 had set a deadline for the registration of these titles. No title would be recognized as valid beyond that date. Since the land in question was not registered, the government contended that it had become public (if it was already public). When the United States succeeded to the title of Spain, Cariño had no right which it was bound to respect. The Court disagreed with the United States in a decision that has remained as obscure as it is significant.

The Court admitted that Spain had embraced the universal feudal theory that all lands were held by the Crown. However, Justice Holmes, who spoke for the Court, said that in practice sovereignty may vary in degree. “How far a new sovereign shall insist upon the theoretical relation of the subjects to the head in the past, and how far it shall recognize actual facts, are matters for it to decide.”

The Igorots were never brought under the control of the Spaniards. The Court quipped that it would be almost certain that Spain would not have granted registration of the property that would not have made title valid. Regardless of Spain’s position about technical subtleties, this did not mean that under the dominion of the United States, Cariño had lost all his rights. He was not a mere trespasser when the government succeeded as the new sovereign. A contrary position, would “amount to denial of native titles throughout an important part of the Island of Luzon, at least for the want

of ceremonies which the Spaniards would not have permitted and had not the power to enforce.”

The Court explained that the cases involving the land claims of Native Americans were inapplicable in this situation because the acquisition of the Philippines was not like the settlement of the white race in the United States. Whatever consideration may have been shown to the North American Indians, the dominant purpose of the whites in America was to occupy the land. Evidently, however stated, the reason for our taking over the Philippines was different. No one, we suppose would deny that, so far consistent with paramount necessities, our first object in the internal administration of the islands is to do justice to the natives, not to exploit their country for private gain. By the Organic Act of July 1, 1902… all the property and rights acquired there by the United States are to be administered “for the benefit of the inhabitants thereof.”

In the Court’s view, the United States had bound itself to administer the islands for the benefit of the inhabitants, and not to exploit it for profit. However, the decision did not stop there. It pointed out that the Philippine Bill of 1902 included a Bill of rights that extended those safeguards to all the inhabitants of the Philippines. The Court found it hard to believe that the United States interpreted the due process clause not to apply to the inhabitants of Benguet. The “property” under the organic act protected “only that which had become such by ceremonies of which presumably a large part of the inhabitants never heard, and that it proposed to treat as public land what they, by native custom and by long association – one of the profoundest factors in human thought-regarded as their own.”

While the government of the Philippines was empowered to enact rules for perfecting titles to public lands and to issue patents to natives, the Court held that this power was confined to lands which were admittedly public. It “had not continued for such a length of time and under such circumstances as to give rise to the understanding that the occupants were owners.” The Court refused to believe that there was an intent to declare every native who had not a paper title a trespasser. This set the claims of all the wilder tribes afloat. The Court further held that there must be a presumption against the government when a private individual claims property as his or her own. It went so far as to say that the lands will be deemed private absent contrary proof. In what is probably the most potent statement ever made on this subject by any Court, it held:

Whatever the law upon these points may be…every presumption is and ought to be against the government in a case like the present. It might be proper and sufficient to say that when as far back as testimony or memory goes, the land has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership, it will be presumed to have been held in the same way even before Spanish conquest, and never to have been public land.

The Court proceeded to explain that the case would have been similarly resolved had the case tried by the laws of Spain. After examining the pertinent laws, the Court held that We do not discover such clear proof that it was bad by that [Spanish] law as to satisfy us that he does not own the land. To begin with, the older decrees and laws cited by the counsel for the plaintiff in error seem to suggest pretty clearly that the natives were recognized as owing some lands, irrespective of any royal grant. In other words, Spain did not assume to convert all the native inhabitants of the Philippines into trespassers or even tenants at will.

The Court pointed out that the Recopilacion de Leyes de Las Indias (that body of edicts, decrees and orders that set out Spain’s laws for her colonies) allowed confirmation of title through prescription, and that title was admitted to exist that owed nothing to the power of Spain beyond this recognition in their books. The Court further explained that Spanish law was not that stringent in requiring proof, ancient possession being sufficient.

“As prescription, even against Crown lands, was recognized by the laws of Spain, we see no sufficient reason for hesitating to admit the title was recognized in the Philippines in regard to lands over which Spain had only a paper sovereignty.”

Clearly, the reference to Spanish law was inconsequential. Justice Holmes discussed the issue only to clarify that Cariño’s claim would have also prevailed, (this time under prescription) had the Court resorted to Spanish laws. This part of the discussion was surplusage because the lands claimed by Cariño were already held to be private.

In concluding, Holmes wrote that “law and justice require that the applicant should be granted what he seeks, and should not be deprived of what, by the practice and belief of those among whom he lived, was his property, through a refined interpretation of an almost forgotten law of Spain.”

In the following portion of the paper, we analyze the Court’s decision.

Cariño did not rely on precedent. Justice Holmes said that whatever theories justified claims over “discovered” lands, the truth was that conquerors were never able to see, much less secure most of these areas. The fact that the Igorots had never been assimilated or defeated by the Spaniards must surely have been a substantial consideration. The court said that title will not be extinguished simply because a territory is occupied by an alien force.

Holmes’s language stripped the veneer of nobility that has often been used to justify the dispossession of the Native Americans. The experience in America was exposed as nothing more than an ignoble, colossal capitalist venture meant to take lands at the Indians’ expense. Cariño made no explicit reference here to either superior culture or religion.

The Court then noted the second obstacles to the United States’ claim: the United States had not asserted a claim over the entire country. When Congress enacted the Philippine bill of 1902, it extended the Bill of Rights to the territory. The United States had stretched its protection, particularly the due process clause, to all the inhabitants of the Philippines. Ata this point, the Court had already characterized the ancestral domain of the Igorots (and by extension, those of other native peoples) as private. It should be noted that the property here was private not because of recognition of title by any sovereign. This was the result of the Igorots’ “custom and long association” and “practice and belief.”

The Court also mocked Spain’s claims over the entire territory of the Philippines. Such claims could not defeat the claim of Cariño based on laws that Spain had not the power to enforce, or Cariño, living as he did with his unconquered folk, had no reason to heed. The resolution of the case was guided more by the Court’s determination to do justice rather than to apply obscure laws. This explains Holmes’ refusal to rely upon established doctrines and his liberal interpretation of the Philippine Bill. No weight was ever placed upon theories of conquest or alien laws that could not have been known to or understood by a people so removed from the potentates’ game of global takeover. Thus, unlike in North America, the Court refused to deprive the Indian of his rights by resorting to the laws of nations within the exclusive sphere of a mere handful of nations. It would not construe laws to deny the Igorots’ claim, and the executive and legislative acts in any way that “would amount to a denial of native titles.”

It might be suggested that there is a difference between the claims in Cariño and those of the North American Indians because the former involved the assertion of an individual’s

private right consistent with western property schemes against those asserted by an entire community. But there is no evidence of this difference in Holmes’ language.

Neither can the differences in the result can be justified on the ground that the Court viewed the claimants as a “civilized” westernized people. The claimants in Cariño were also considered inferior peoples, if subtly. The court made conscious efforts to waive technicalities because the claimants were Igorots, and were referred to as “’wilder tribes.’”

But while they were, from the western legal perspective, considered savage and uncivilized, the Court still found it unfair to refuse recognition of their title.

Cariño has been consistently upheld by the Philippine Supreme Court. And while it originally involved the claim of an individual “under a claim of private ownership” the Philippine Supreme Court later expanded the doctrine to include lands held by a community, and lands that are “unoccupied and unimproved.” Unfortunately, some confusion has attended the application of doctrine.Cariño has been cited as authority for the Public Land Act which allows registration of public lands as private possession if the claimant has been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the said lands for thirty years. The error is obvious. Cariño involved lands which had never been public. The prescriptive remedy under the Public Land Act admits that the land was initially public. However, it becomes private (and therefore may be titled) after the lapse of the prescriptive period.

Confusion in the Court had surfaced as early as 1931 in De Palas v. Saito and Madrazo.In that case, the Supreme Court held that the sale of property made by a member of the Bagobo tribe without the approval of the Director of the Non- Christian tribes was null and void. While the Bagobos retained their land, the decision showed the Court was confused about its character. Justice Johnson in the lone dissent explained that: There is absolutely no analogy between the relations of the non-Christian people of the Philippine Islands to the Philippine Government as compared with the relation of the American Indians to the American government.

A citizen of the Philippine Islands, whether non-Christian or

Christian, has a perfect right to dispose of his private

property freely without the necessity of securing the consent

of any person of the Government…Hundreds and thousands

of the non-Christian people of the Philippine Islands have,

through their industry and intelligence, become the absolute owners of private property… (Cariño vs. Insular Government, 7 Phil. 132; Cariño vs. Insular Government, 212 U.S. 449; 53 Law.Ed. 549; 41 Phil., 935).

In the United States the government distributed lands freely to the American Indians and the dispose of the same without the consent of the Secretary of the Interior. The Government, having given the Indian his land without cost, it had a perfect right to impose such condition upon the disposition of the same as the Government might deem wise. In the Philippine Islands, however, the non-Christian people have never been given land by the government. They are therefore under no obligation to the Government concerning the land they acquire.

Admittedly, the dissent’s interpretation of the jurisprudence on Native American land rights leaves much to be desired. However, its use of the Cariño doctrine was faithful to Holmes’ dictum. Because of this confusion, there are presently two streams of cases in the Philippines, both as prominent, as they are glaringly contradictory. In one line, lands held since time immemorial are recognized as private. It has even been held that subsequent reclassification of land cannot impair the rights of long-term occupants. In the other line, public agricultural lands become private lands and could therefore be titled. This is if the claimant can show that there has been continuous possession thereof for at least thirty years. Cariño has been cited as authority for both. A recent case cited both lines of cases without the Court observing any incongruity.

Some earlier cases did manage to make a distinction between the two claims. In these cases, the Court would first check if the land is private under the Cariño doctrine, and then examine if it has become private under the Public Land Act. While the Cariñodoctrine may be in jurisprudential limbo, the case does surface periodically in the discussions of the other branches of government.

Courts in the United States had several occasions to apply the Cariño decision. As will be shown, however, these courts had, for the most part, also misinterpreted the doctrine. These cases may be divided into those that involved lands in its territories, and those involving claims within the continental United States.

In the Territories

The first claims involved lands in Mexico. In Pueblo de Sta. Rosa v. Fall, the claimants filed a bill in equity in the

Supreme Court in the District of Columbia to restrain the

Constitution, Article XII, Section 4. The Congress shall, as

Secretary of the Interior

General Land Office from opening its lands to sale, entry, Thereafter, such forest lands and national parks shall be conserved

nor diminished, except by law. The

and settlement as public lands of the United States. The Congress shall provide for such period as it may determine, measures plaintiffs alleged that the lands were granted and conceded to prohibit logging in endangered forests and watershed areas.

to the pueblo of Sta. Rosa by the laws and customs of the

Indians, antedating the Spanish discovery of America and the

laws of Spain and Mexico. The lands were part of the territory

ceded by Mexico to United States under the Gadsden Treaty.

and

the

Commissioner

of

the soon as possible, determine, by law, the specific limits of forest lands and national parks, marking clearly their boundaries on the ground.

and may not be increased

EO 192, Series of 1987 Section 4 Mandate

The Department shall be the primary government agency responsible for the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the country's environment and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral resources, including those in reservation and watershed areas, and lands of the public domain, as well as the licensing and regulation of all natural resources as may be provided for by law in order to ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos. To accomplish its mandate, the Department shall be guided by the following objectives that will serve as basis for policy formulation:

Assure the availability and sustainability of the country's natural resources through judicious use and systematic restoration or replacement, whenever possible; Increase the productivity of natural resources in order to meet the demands for forest, mineral, and land resources of a growing population; Enhance the contribution of natural resources for achieving national economic and social development; Promote equitable access to natural resources by the different sectors of the population; Conserve specific terrestrial and marine areas representative of the Philippine natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations.

RA 7160 or Local Government Code

SEC. 16. General Welfare. - Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.

SEC. 17. Basic Services and Facilities. - (a) Local government units shall endeavor to be self-reliant and shall continue exercising the powers and discharging the duties and functions currently vested upon them. They shall also discharge the functions and responsibilities of national agencies and offices devolved to them pursuant to this Code. Local government units shall likewise exercise such other powers and discharge such other functions and responsibilities as are necessary, appropriate, or incidental to efficient and effective provision of the basic services and facilities enumerated herein.

Republic Act No. 8371 October 29, 1997

AN ACT TO RECOGNIZE, PROTECT AND PROMOTE THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS CULTURAL COMMUNITIES/INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, CREATING A NATIONAL COMMISSION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, ESTABLISHING IMPLEMENTING MECHANISMS, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

In resolving the issue, the Court explained that the title of the

Indian inhabitants of a pueblo in Mexico has been recognized

not only by the Mexican, but also by Spanish laws. Such

recognition rests not upon title by grant or charter from the

crown, but it may be established and was frequently

established by prescription. It cited Cariño to stress that

prescription against the Crown was recognized by Spanish

laws. It said, “[t]here can be no question, we think that prior

to the cession under the Gadsden Treaty the Papago Indians

had acquired a title which was subject to recognition by the

government of Mexico.” It concluded that, had the record title

been established in Mexico to which this pueblo was clearly

entitled, it could not be divested by the sort of evidence

adduced in this case. This would have been the proper case

to cite Cariño because the claim was premised upon the laws

and customs of Indians that antedated the Spanish discovery

of America. The land was ceded by Spain to the United

States. No grant was relied upon, and there was an assertion

that both Spanish and Mexican laws relied upon, and there

was an assertion that both Spanish and Mexican laws

recognized such Indian title. Unfortunately, the court’s

reliance upon Cariño was merely to recognize the right of the

claimant through prescription, and not to reaffirm the rule that

lands held since time-immemorial are private lands.

The second case came some twenty years later. Playa de

Flor Land and Improvement CO. v. United States involved

lands in Panama. The complainants, an unincorporated

association, alleged that they had acquired title and rights of

ownership to specific real property based on prescription

under the name of Playa del Flor Land and Improvement Co.,

their predecessors in interest, and those who had been and

were in the actual, open, notorious, and adverse possession,

use, and cultivation of the lands for more than forty years

before the Treaty between the United States and the

Republic of Panama. They also alleged that they were

forcibly and unlawfully evicted and dispossessed of the lands

and improvements by the United States and that the joint

owners had not been paid for the property taken from them.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled::

CHAPTER I GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997."

CHAPTER VII

NATIONAL

COMMISSION

ON

INDIGENOUS

PEOPLES

(NCIP)

Section 38. National Commission on Indigenous Cultural Communities /Indigenous Peoples (NCCP). - to carry out the policies herein set forth, there shall be created the National Commission on ICCs/IPs (NCIP), which shall be the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs to promote and protect the rights and well-being of the ICCs/IPs and the recognition of their ancestral domains as well as their rights thereto.

Section 44. Powers and Functions. - To accomplish its mandate, the NCIP shall have the following powers, jurisdiction and function:

a) To serve as the primary government agency

through which ICCs/IPs can seek government assistance and as the medium, thorough which such assistance may be extended;

b) To review and assess the conditions of ICCs/IPs

including existing laws and policies pertinent thereto and to propose relevant laws and policies to address their role in national development;

c) To formulate and implement policies, plans,

programs and projects for the economic, social and cultural development of the ICCs/IPs and to monitor the implementation thereof;

d) To request and engage the services and support

of experts from other agencies of government or employ private experts and consultants as may be required in the pursuit of its objectives;

e) To issue certificate of ancestral land/domain title;

f) Subject to existing laws, to enter into contracts,

agreements, or arrangement, with government or private agencies or entities as may be necessary to attain the objectives of this Act, and subject to the

approval of the President, to obtain loans from government lending institutions and other lending institutions to finance its programs;

g) To negotiate for funds and to accept grants, donations,

gifts and/or properties in whatever form and from whatever source, local and international, subject to the approval of the

President of the Philippines, for the benefit of ICCs/IPs and administer the same in accordance with the terms thereof; or in the absence of any condition, in such manner consistent with the interest of ICCs/IPs as well as existing laws;

h) To coordinate development programs and projects for the

advancement of the ICCs/IPs and to oversee the proper implementation thereof;

i) To convene periodic conventions or assemblies of IPs to

review, assess as well as propose policies or plans;

j) To advise the President of the Philippines on all matters

relating to the ICCs/IPs and to submit within sixty (60) days after the close of each calendar year, a report of its operations and achievements;

k) To submit to Congress appropriate legislative proposals

intended to carry out the policies under this Act;

l) To prepare and submit the appropriate budget to the Office of the President;

m) To issue appropriate certification as a pre- condition to the grant of permit, lease, grant, or any other similar authority for the disposition, utilization, management and appropriation by any private individual, corporate entity or any government agency, corporation or subdivision thereof on any part or portion of the ancestral domain taking into consideration the consensus approval of the ICCs/IPs concerned;

n) To decide all appeals from the decisions and acts of all the various offices within the Commission:

o) To promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of this Act;

p) To exercise such other powers and functions as may be directed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines; and

q) To represent the Philippine ICCs/IPs in all international conferences and conventions dealing with indigenous peoples and other related concerns.

Section 57. Natural Resources within Ancestral Domains. - The ICCs/IPs shall have the priority rights in the harvesting, extraction, development or exploitation of any natural resources within the ancestral domains. A non- member of the ICCs/IPs concerned may be allowed to take part in the development and utilization of the natural resources for a period of not exceeding twenty-five (25) years renewable for not more than twenty-five (25) years: Provided, That a formal and written agreement is entered into with the ICCs/IPs concerned or that the community, pursuant to its own decision making process, has agreed to allow such operation: Provided, finally, That the all extractions shall be used to facilitate the development and improvement of the ancestral domains.

Section 58. Environmental Consideration. - Ancestral domains or portion thereof, which are found necessary for critical watersheds, mangroves wildlife sanctuaries, wilderness, protected areas, forest cover, or reforestation as determined by the appropriate agencies with the full participation of the ICCs/IPs concerned shall be maintained, managed and developed for such purposes. The ICCs/IPs concerned shall be given the responsibility to maintain, develop, protect and conserve such areas with the full and effective assistance of the government agencies. Should the ICCs/IPs decide to transfer the responsibility over the areas, said decision must be made in writing. The consent of the ICCs/IPs should be arrived at in accordance with its customary laws without prejudice to the basic requirement of the existing laws on free and prior informed consent:

Provided, That the transfer shall be temporary and will ultimately revert to the ICCs/IPs in accordance with a program for technology transfer: Provided, further, That no ICCs/IPs shall be displaced or relocated for the purpose enumerated under this section without the written consent of the specific persons authorized to give consent.