Dalog wants ‘Igorots are not Filipinos’ tag in Romulo book checked

>> Thursday, December 8, 2016

By Wabilyn Lomong-oy and Roger Sacyaten

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Igorots are not Filipinos!
That was the ascription of a once venerable Filipino for the tribal people of the Cordillera in a book that up to now remains not corrected.
In an attempt to rectify the statement of the late Minister Carlos P. Romulo against the Igorot people, Rep. Maximo  Dalog wrote a letter to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines requesting correction of the erroneous historical account stating that Igorots are not Filipinos.
Dalog, in his letter dated Nov. 21 told the NHCP in 1945, the late Minister wrote a copyrighted book entitled “Mother America, a Living Story of Democracy” where he stated that Igorots are not Filipinos and referred to accordingly “as one recurrent source of annoyance.”
The reviled statement is contained in page 59 of the book. Specifically, it states, “The fact remains that the Igorot is not Filipino and we are not related. "
The said writing prompted the late lawyer Alfredo Lam-en, who was then the Congressman of the 1st District of the Old Mountain Province to deliver a privilege speech at the House of Representatives garbed in indigenous Igorot G-String.
He denounced Romulo for the inaccurate and false account in Philippine History.
Igorot people and students from the Cordillera protested and led burning of said books of the late Minister.
Ever since, nothing was done to rectify the erroneous account. Not even the protests of the Igorot people led to the correction of the misnomer.
But this time, Republic Act No. 10086 provided this mechanism to determine and correct the factual matters relating to Philippine history and stated specifically under Sec. 5 (e) “to actively engage in the settlement or resolution of controversies or issues relative to historical personages, places, dates and events” and to (p) conduct public hearings and ocular inspections or initiate factual investigations with respect to  disputed historical issues for the purpose of declaring official historical dates, places, personages, and events”, thus the request for correction by Rep. Dalog was made.
The same Act mandates the NHCP as the primary government agency responsible for history and has the authority to determine all factual matters relating to official Philippine history.
Dalog said the late Minister was a distinguished and well-respected soldier, statesman, diplomat, journalist and author.
He added, Romulo has secured a well-deserved exalted place in the pantheon of Philippine statesmen, but his views on the Igorots earlier cited were misleading.
The congressman said Igorots should be given merit and distinction for it was through their efforts and resisting the colonization of Spain that made them preserve their original culture and tradition. This original culture and tradition could have been the culture and tradition of the entire Filipino nation had it not been disrupted by the colonizing Spaniards.
 “Instead of treating the Igorots in a different and annoying way, they should be thanked and merited upon for preserving the original culture and tradition of the Filipino people for the culture and tradition which the Filipino people now know are the cultures and traditions left by Spain,” the letter said.
Dalog urged the NHCP to make the necessary rectification in the historical accounts of the late Minister Romulo by making an official declaration that Igorots are Filipinos for they have descended from the same race from which the entire Filipino people descended from.
He requested that the erroneous statements in the book must be ordered deleted and/or that necessary measures to reflect the correction of the erroneous accounts be put in place.
People of Mountain Province and parts of northern Benguet call themselves Igorots.
It was learned that the NHCP will act on the matter during the monthly meeting scheduled this month in the presence of the commissioners and in an en banc session.
However, it was not known whether the recent resignation of the chairperson of the NHCP and another Commissioner will affect the resolution of the matter.

NHCP Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno and the Commissioner resigned their posts as protest over recent controversial burial of Former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.


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