BAGUIO CITY – The Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in the city stated it nwill conduct massive consultations among its members and various stakeholders in the city’s 128 barangays to gather their sentiments, opinions, and recommendations on how to put in place an Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) to sit as a regular member of the barangay council for the prescribed term.
ABC President and Councilor Michael Lawana said he will initiate the conduct of consultations among its members by early next year to determine the collective position of the organization relative to the pending proposal to appoint IPMR in the city’s barangays and in the local legislative body pursuant to the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples rights Act (IPRA).
“Our barangay officials have different positions on the matter that is why we need to consult with them and enlighten them on the matter before we will come out with a collective decision. We do not object to the appointment of IPMRs in the city’s barangays but there are some compelling reasons why some barangay officials are against the putting in place of an IPMR in their respective councils,” Lawana stressed.
Some barangay officials claimed the appointment of an IPMR in their councils will definitely affect their honorarium and the allowances granted to barangay health workers, barangay nutrition scholars, barangay nutrition action officers and barangay tanods which are all sourced out from the meagre personal services appropriation of their budget considering that there will be an added personnel who will be included in the allocation of the limited allocation of the barangays.
The concerned barangay officials claimed the appointed personnel are equally important in rendering public service to the barangays that is why depriving them of their supposed compensation will greatly affect their performance in discharging their assigned duties and responsibilities that will jeopardize the programs and projects of their barangays.
On the other hand, some barangay officials claimed there are already officials in their council who are already members of indigenous peoples and appointing an IPMR will increase their representations while other non-IP residents will definitely make an issue on the matter, thus, the need for concerned government agencies to render a definitive opinion on the matter to put the issue to rest.
Further, some barangay officials pointed out there is no compelling reason why an IPMR will be appointed as a member of their councils because there are reportedly no indigenous peoples living in their areas of jurisdiction, thus, the appointment of the IPMR should only be applicable to the barangays with IP constituents.
Other barangay officials in the city challenged the local legislative body to first put in place an IPMR that will serve an example for them to emulate so that IPs will give the sufficient representation in all levels of governance.
Pending before the local legislative body is a proposed ordinance mandating the appointments of IPMRs not only with the local legislative body but also the barangay councils of the 128 barangays pursuant to the existing guidelines promulgated by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (CIP) that required all local governments to prioritize the appointments of IPMR in their respective local legislative bodies./By Dexter A. See#