The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines calls for the state to recognize, respect, and promote the rights of indigenous peoples over their ancestral domains, including their cultures, traditions, and institutions. It calls for the state to consider these rights in the formulation of national plans and policies. Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) was enacted to fulfill this recognition and respect. IPRA is the embodiment of the rights and aspirations of indigenous peoples to ancestral domains, to self-governance and empowerment, to social justice and human rights, and to cultural integrity. Government policies support the entry of development projects, especially into ancestral territories. Where development projects impact on ancestral territories, IPRA requires their Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) be sought in accordance with customary laws and practices. However, the 2006 FPIC Guidelines do not reflect the true intention of the IPRA in its recognition and respect of the rights of the indigenous peoples. The Subanen communities and ancestral territories in Zamboanga Peninsula have long been existing before the advent of a government structure that defines management and control of land and resources, to which indigenous peoples are dependent of. The members of these Subanen communities are still in effective possession and occupation of these ancestral territories, and continue to protect and preserve these territories for their future generation. As members of these Subanen communities, we have initiated the discussion on the impacts of these laws and policies to our rights as indigenous peoples. Thus, in a conference called for this purpose, we have come up with this document that embodies our aspirations and assertions to protect our lives, our land and resources, and our rights to exist as peoples with a distinct culture. SUBANEN CONFERENCE ON FREE PRIOR AND INFORMED CONSENT Casa Emsa, Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur 22 November 2009 MANIFESTO We, members of the Subanen communities across Zamboanga Peninsula, regard and recognize our ancestral territories as sacred and important because this is where our life began. We value our land as it is the source of our life, the beginning of our existence and the integral connection to our culture, customary laws, traditions and practices. It is our past, our present, and our future, thus, we need to protect it.

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