Baguio IP Day / Call to NCIP Cordillera director

>> Sunday, March 26, 2017

Alfred P. Dizon

BAGUIO CITY – The passing on second reading by the city council of a proposed ordinance institutionalizing celebration of August 9 as International Day of the world’s indigenous peoples in Baguio and making it an annual activity of the city government would be meaningless if the legislative body doesn’t have an IP representative.
At press time, the Cordillera National Commission on Indigenous Peoples regional director Roland Calde has not yet issued a certification of affirmation on election of Roger D. Sinot as indigenous people’s mandatory representative in the city council despite an order from NCIP chairperson Leonor Kintayu for him to do so.
So back to the IP Day measure authored by councilor Arthur Allad-iw, himself an aplai of Sagada, Mountain Province.
It was Allad-iw who authored an earlier city council resolution which approved institutionalization of an IPMR in the legislative body.
This made the NCIP start the process to select an IPMR considering it should have been the regional NCIP which should have made the ball rolling before Allad-iw came up with the resolution approved by the city council.
With Calde’s non-issuance of the COA, observers are now saying ironically, it is the NCIP, contrary to its mandate, is the one delaying formulation of policies for IP concerns since the IPMR is not yet sitting as member of the city council.     
An added provision could be inserted in the earlier measure to compel the NCIP regional director to issue a COA in favor of the IPMR at a given time right after election.
This, since a NCIP regional director who is biased and favors another personality could just sit on the matter and not issue the needed COA to the duly elected IPMR while the days pass by and before we know it, it is election time once again.
We are talking about this in a general sense and not alluding anything to anyone. But this early, observers are saying non-issuance of the COA by Calde leaves a bad taste in the mouth since politics and vested interests are suspect.
Calde could issue the certificate as soon as possible so his stint as NCIP director would not be tainted. The issuance of a COA to an Ibaloi to sit as first IPMR in the city council is the just thing to do as the elders and indigenous groups who voted for Sinot justifiably agreed upon.
It’s already five months since Sinot was elected as IPMR. Every day that Calde doesn’t issue the COA is an injustice not only to Sinot, Ibalois and other indigenous groups in the city since they could not fully forward their concerns in the city council.
There are well-meaning city councilors like Allad-iw who could craft legislation for IPs in Baguio. But then, an IPMR would be a welcome addition to legislators since he could just concentrate on crafting laws for IPs.
Anyhow, Allad-iw’s second measure aims to strengthen cooperation, learning and interaction of the city’s IP and non-IP groups in culture, education, health, human rights, environment, social and economic development.
Gaby Keith, of the city information office, said it also creates a committee tasked to coordinate activities chaired by the city mayor and co-chaired by the NCIP representative.
Members include representatives of the IPMR in the city council, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, chairpersons of the city council’s committees on education, culture, historical research, tourism, special events, parks and playgrounds, barangay affairs, youth and sports, city tourism officer; city health officer, Integrated Bar of the Philippines president and IP representatives from Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao and those from other provinces who are residents of Baguio.
Activities include fora on United Nations Declaration on the Rights of IPs, Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and other topics including panel discussions on issues affecting IPs and Non-IPs; free medical, dental and legal services; cultural presentations and other necessary activities.
The proposed measure states non-IPs who are Baguio residents shall not be denied access to services and activities. 

It also calls for appropriation of P300,000 or so, for the purpose and shall be included in the city’s annual budget.


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