BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance declaring the Ibaloi Park as a living museum and authorizing the installation of the bust of Mateo Cariño and for other purposes.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Edgar M. Avila stated the proposed measure will also be known as the Mateo Cariño ordinance and effective upon its approval, the Ibaloi Park which is within Burnham Park will be declared as a living tradition for Ibalois in honor of their greatforefather and that his bust will be installed at the entrance of the said park.
The ordinance added the care and maintenance of the living museum shall be with the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) and the said office can enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Onjon in Ivadoy, a duly accredited non-government organization to effect the said project.
On the other hand, the City Engineer, in coordination with the CEPMO, shall determine the metes and bounds of the Ibaloi Park living museum and shall recommend to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the segregation and preservation of the same area.
The ordinance added an initial amount of P500,000 shall be appropriated to carry out the purpose of the ordinance and thereafter, the budget for the maintenance and upkeep of the Ibaloi Park shall be incorporated in the annual appropriation plan of the CEPMO.
The ordinance explained the need for a living museum for the Ibalois to recreate historical settings simulating past time; providing visitors with an experiential interpretation of history, a type of museum that would recreate to the fullest extent conditions of a culture, natural environment or historical period.
Related to a need for a living museum is the recognition of a distinguished forefather of the Ibalois, Mateo Cariño, a chieftain who was among several headmen of what is now called Benguet province. The headmen and their families were the original owners of vast tracks of land in Benguet used as farms and pasture for their large cattle holdings.
Mateo Cariño and his wife Bayosa Ortega owned most of what is now Baguio City, including the then John Hay air base. It was also Mateo Cariño’s men who originally worked to in the Balatoc mines.
In the precedent-setting and leading case of Mateo Cariño versus the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, the doctrine of native title was enunciated by the United States Supreme Court and in the words of Justice Malcolm, “ It might perhaps be proper and sufficient to see that when, as far as testimony or memory goes, the land has been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership, it will be presumed to have been held in the same way from before the Spanish conquest and never to have been public land.” This is now referred to as the Cariño Doctrine.
There is an existence of native title to land, or ownership of land by Filipinos by virtue of possession under a claim of ownership since time in memorial and independent of any grant from the Spanish crown, as an exception to the theory of jura regalia. /By Dexter A. See#