By Maria Teresa B. Beñas
BANGUED, Abra-- Pacita Stimson-Balao-as from the Masadiit tribe of Boliney municipality was elected provincial indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR) and will sit as ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Balao-as was elected during a general assembly of about 70 elders of the various tribes from the 19 Tingguian municipalities at the office of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples recently.
She will replace Ceasar provincial board member Baroña whose term expired October 2016.
NCIP provincial director Reynalda Timbreza said Balao-as may only sit in the SP after submitting her documentary requirements to NCIP-Cordillera regional office and be given her appointment by the NCIP regional director.
Provincial director Millicent Cariño of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government said unity and determination of the Council of Elders to assert their rights and privileges as a cultural community was laudable. She urged them to keep sustain their efforts to pass on their cultural heritage to the next generations.
Cariño urged the indigenous people to take advantage of their representation in the provincial board for promotion and preservation of their cultural traditions and practices.