In the early days of the American Regime, the affairs of the cultural communities (then referred as Non-Christian Tribes) were handled by the Department of Interior. Later on, due to the increasing problems and needs of the tribes, the Americans saw it fit to create a distinct bureau under it. This was the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes. Under the Filipino leadership in 1964, this bureau was elevated into a Commission and became the Commission on National Integration (CNI). There were six commissioners, the only northerner being the Hon. Gabriel Dulnuan of Ifugao.

In the mid-60’s, the government initiated a program aimed at giving dignity and due recognition to the different tribes so that they will not only be peripheral citizens, but citizens of equal footing with all the other Filipinos.  In 1974, the Office of the Presidential Assistant on National Minorities (PANAMIN) was created and became the national government’s arm vis-à-vis affairs of the non-Muslim Tribal groups. And so in 1979, through P.D. 1414, the national policy was “to integrate into the mainstream of Philippine Society certain ethnic groups which seek full integration into the larger community, and at the same time protect the rights of those who wish to preserve their original lifeways beside the larger community.”

The eventual notorious collapse of the PANAMIN led the Marcos regime to establish the Office of Muslim Affairs and Cultural Communities (OMACC). This was short-lived, lasting only for two years, due to the persistent demands of tribal leaders for a separate agency for the non-Islamic tribal communities.

The timely February 1986 revolution gave much-needed support for the clamor then President Corazon C. Aquino signed Executive Order 122-A and B creating the two separate Offices for the Cultural Communities in the country, namely: the Office for Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC) and the Office for Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC). The ONCC was entrusted the general welfare of tribal communities in Northern Philippines while the OSCC took care of the affairs of Southern Cultural Communities. Muslim affairs was handled by the Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA). All three were directly under the Office of President of the Republic of the Philippines. Atty. Ronald M. Cosalan was appointed as the first Executive Director (with a cabinet rank of Undersecretary) of the ONCC.

On October 1997, Senate Bill No. 1728 and House Bill No. 9125 was consolidated and passed resulted to the approval of the Republic Act 8371 known as  “The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997” by then President Fidel V. Ramos.



The logo stands for the NCIP, the agency of government with the primary mandate to implement the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. The circular logo advocates equality of all peoples to self-determination as provided for in the universal declaration of human rights and other international human rights instruments, being the foundations of the IPRA. The semblance of the Philippine flag exudes the State’s recognition of the rights of the IPs, within the framework of unity in diversity for peace and development under one nation.

The map represents the location of all IPs/ICCs nationwide whose rights are protected by a traditional IP shield and spear. It also represents the ancestral domains that form distinct parts of the land and water system of the country. The radiance of the sun promotes the rights of the IPs/ICCs, while its eight rays represent the seven Ethnographic Regions and the ARMM.

The three stars represent the tripartite functions of the NCIP to operationalize the recognition, protection, and promotion of the rights of IPs/ICCs towards its fulfillment. The colors of the flag means attainment of peace (blue) by the IPs/ICCs; courage and determination (red) of the IPs/ICCs in upholding and exercising their collective as well as individual rights and fundamental freedoms; and, sincerity and purity of purpose (white) by the NCIP in fulfilling its mandate in the improvement of human development status and attainment of enhanced resilience of natural system with improved adaptive capacities of human communities towards inclusive growth and poverty alleviation.