In 1997, Republic Act 8371 or the INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ACT (IPRA) was enacted. The RIGHT TO A FREE PRIOR AND INFORMED CONSENT guarantees that they shall not be deprived of their rights and interests over their ancestral domains.
Under the IPRA, FPIC also protects the IPs right to stay in their territories, religious sites, ceremonies and traditions, withhold or consent access to resources related to the use or conservation of which and redeem their lands when it has been transferred without their consent.
As mandated by the said law, no projects or programs can therefore be conducted within the ancestral domain without obtaining the FPIC of the indigenous people therein.
These project or programs include but are not limited to the following:
(a) Exploration, development, or use or exploitation of the natural resources within the ancestral domain;
(b) Displacement or relocation of the IPs;
(c) Entry of military personnel as well as research and bio-prospecting;
(d) Archaeological explorations; and
(e) Policies that affect the indigenous people.