The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is an agency of the Philippine government with frontline services for the Indigenous Peoples and attached to the Office of the President. The NCIP evolved through a series of governmental reorganizations in an effort to properly address the multifarious issues and concerns confronting the country’s diverse Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs), and to effectively, efficiently and responsively deliver basic services to them.

It was during the American regime that the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes under the Department of Interior was created, for the purpose of helping the ICCs/IPs, who were then referred to as the non-Christian tribes. Subsequently, to give it more power, it was elevated to an independent body-the Commission on National Integration (CNI).

In 1972, the CNI was abolished. Then President Ferdinand E. Marcos created the Southern Philippine Development Authority (SPDA) and the Presidential Assistance on National Minorities (PANAMIN). The SPDA undertook the implementation of programs for the Muslims which agency later became the Ministry of Muslim Affairs. The PANAMIN, on the other hand, implemented the programs for the non-Muslims or other tribal groups. It sought to integrate into the mainstream of society certain ethnic groups, and at the same time protect the rights of those who wish to preserve their original lifeways beside the larger community.

In 1984, the government under Pres. Ferdinand Marcos created the Office for Muslim Affairs and Cultural Communities (OMACC) by virtue of the Executive Order No. 969. The OMACC catered to the needs of both the Muslim and Non-Muslim communities. This agency did not last long as government management realized that lumping the Islamicized groups and the ICCs into one office did not work well as envisioned.

In January 1987, the OMACC was abolished and the Aquino administration issued three Executive Orders creating three distinct and separate offices, as follows, E.O. No. 122-A, creating the Office for the Muslim Affairs (OMA); E.O. 122-B, creating the Office for Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC) and E.O. 122-C, creating the Office for Southern Cultural Communities (OSCC). These three Offices were attached to the Office of the President.

Avowing the rights and welfare of the ICCs/IPs, particularly their clamor on land tenure security and the recognition of their freedom to make choices under the rubric of human rights and development, Republic Act 8371 was enacted into law on October 29, 1997, creating the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) merging the ONCC and OSCC as its organic offices.

The NCIP is composed of seven Commissioners, one of whom is the Chairperson. The first Chairperson was Atty. David A. Daoas, an Applai, who was the former Executive Director of the defunct ONCC. He served the NCIP for three years. After his stint, an Ifugao, Atty. Evelyn S. Dunuan, the daughter-in-law of then Commissioner Gabriel Dunuan of the CNI, was appointed in September 2001. In February 2003 to September 2005, Atty. Reuben Dasay A. Lingating, a Subanon and the son of the former Deputy Minister Fausto Lingating of the OMACC, was appointed Chairperson. From September 12, 2005 to July 19, 2007, Jannette Cansing Serrano-Reisland of B’laan and Bagobo roots was the Chairperson. From July 20, 2007 to March 24, 2010, the Chairman was Atty. Eugenio A. Insigne, a Tingguian from the Province of Abra. From February 17, 2010 to May 29, 2011, the Chairman was Atty. Roque N. Agton, Jr. , a Bagobo from Davao.

At present, the Chairperson is Atty. Leonor Oralde-Quintayo. She was appointed on July 11, 2013 and concurrently serves as the Commissioner for the Southern & Eastern Mindanao.