BAGUIO CITY – The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Baguio Station Office upheld the legality of the selection process conducted by the city’s indigenous peoples (IPs) in the selection of the city’s Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR.
Lawyer Harriette Abiadang, NCIP Baguio Station officer-in-charge, said the finalization of the report on the selection process for the city’s IPMR is on its final stages as they are still securing the needed clearances for official transmitted to the office of the NCIP-CAR regional director for further needed action.
Abiadang informed members of the City Council that the selection process for the city’s IPMR was done pursuant to the existing guidelines promulgated by the Commission for the purpose of the selection of the IPMR for provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays.
Under the guidelines, for the selection of the IPMR under NCIP Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2009, all IPs living within the territorial jurisdiction of provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays must be duly represented in the selection process of the IPMR which must be done through customary laws.
Abiadang pointed there was a reported agreement between the elders of the Kankana-ey, Kalanguya, Ibaloi and other tribes in the city that it will be an Ibaloi who will be the city’s first IPMR in recognition of the fact that the Ibalois are the first inhabitants of the city.
However, other IP groups like the Kankana-ey Kalanguya and some disgruntled Ibaloi reiterated their opposition to the selection process saying that the notices informing the IPs and ICCs of the supposed selection of the IPMR was defective with no sufficient information and education campaign, thus, the need for another selection process that will involve all the IPs living in the city.
Abiadang said it was previously agreed by the elders of the Kalanguya, Kankana-ey and Ibaloi tribes that if it will be the turn of the Ibaloi to serve as IPMR, then it will be the Ibalois who will be the ones to select the IPMR and the practice will be true if it will be the turn of the Kankana-ey and Kalanguya tribes.
The Kankana-ey were represented by former Happy Hallow Punong Barangay Joseph Sackley and their adviser lawyer Jingboy Atonen while the Kalanguya tribe was represented by its adviser former cordillera Executive Board (CEB) Executive Director Gaspar Cayat.
The selection of Roger Sinot as the city’s first IPMR will still be subject to the certificate of affirmation by the NCIP-CAR regional office and approved by the Department of the Interior and Local government (DILG) before being accepted as member of the City Council.
Abiadang revealed the protest letter of the concerned IP groups will form part of the report that the NCIP Baguio Station will be submitting to the NCIP-CAR for appropriate action.
The local government is still studying the possibility of including the funds for the salaries of the IPMR, his staff and his office that amounts to more or less P1.8 million in the city’s 2017 annual budget. /By Dexter A. See#