NCIP chairperson: Affirm Baguio City council IP rep

>> Monday, March 27, 2017

Regional director defies order 

BAGUIO CITY – National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairperson Leonor Kintayu ordered the Cordillera NCIP director here Monday to issue certificate of affirmation on election of Roger D. Sinot so he could now sit as member of the city council as indigenous peoples mandatory representative.     
In an NCIP en banc meeting here Monday at Hotel Supreme, Kintayu told Cordillera NCIP regional director Roland P. Calde to make and issue the certificate after the Baguio Ancestral Land Claimants Executive Council of Elders told her indigenous people of the city were being deprived of a representative in the city council.
They said it’s been five months already since Sinot was elected as IP representative to the city council, but until now, Calde has not issued the certification.
But in defiance of Kintayu’s order, Calde said the selection process of the city’s IPMR will be brought back to the city’s IPs for them to discuss and decide whether or not to uphold the election of Sinot as IP representative of the city.
He said it will be the NCIP Baguio service office that will convene all IPs in the city to decide on the matter based on mutually accepted customary laws.
At press time, lawyer Harriet N. Abyadang, regional NCIP OIC legal officer who also heads the government agency’s Baguio office could not be contacted if she will implement Calde’s intent to convene Baguio IPs again to discuss the IPMT process and selection.
A special regional review body on indigenous peoples – Baguio city community service center (NCIP Baguio CSC) headed by Abyadang upheld earlier legality of Sinot’s election as IP representative.
The body found out the process in Sinot’s election followed rules and regulations in conformity to government laws, NCIP guidelines and indigenous tradition.
Sinot, an Ibaloi, is a former college professor and indigenous peoples rights advocate whose forefathers belonged to the indigenous group of Baguio natives centuries ago.
Earlier, indigenous groups in Baguio City including the Cordillera People’s Alliance urged the NCIP to issue the certificate considering Calde had not been acting on it.
On March 7, 2017, Abyadang, and all her staff wrote Calde in a letter confirming “all processes in selection of Sinot were in order” contrary to allegations of three or four personalities from the Kalanguya and Kankanaey tribes.
They said notices on selection of IP representative and guidelines were posted in all city barangays, published in a newspaper of general circulation since October 2016.
The same was also announced through radio while letter invitations were personally delivered by members of the council of elders/leaders of ancestral lands claimants.
Invitation letters containing schedule of activities and request for an inspiration message were also sent to Mayor Mauricio Domogan, the city council through Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, NCIP Ethnographic Commissioner for Cordillera Administrative Region and Region 1 lawyer Basilio Wandag and Calde as Cordillera NCIP director.
Abyadang and NCIP staff said series of public consultations had also been held on the issue thus on Nov. 4, 2016, IPMR aspirant/nominees were identified: Jackson Chiday, Basilio Binay-an, Phillip Canuto, Vicky Macay and Sinot.
Sinot was later elected and proclaimed first IPMR for Baguio.
Following this, Baguio indigenous elders signed the resolution in favor of Sinot included former Tuba, Benguet mayor Jose P. Baluda, former Dept. of Transportation and Communications Cordillera regional director Isabelo Cosalan Sr. who also headed later the regional National Telecommunications Commission, journalist David March L. Fianza, Philip Canuto, Michael Alos, Margarita Dong-e, Marie S. Kitma, Pancho Alinos, Jose Kani, Leilia Cuilan, Mario Vicente, Nheil S. Endrano and nominees Jackson Chiday and Basilio Binay-an.
A copy of the resolution was sent to the NCIP central office in Manila.
Following Sinot’s election, protesters Paul B. Pasigon and Gaspar Cayat said they were not informed of the selection process while lawyer Manuel Cuilan and Joselito Shontogan said there were irregularities in the process.

Abyadang and NCIP staff in their letter told Calde “refusing to address the issue is a mockery of a duly facilitated process in favor of a few personalities” (protesters). “Refusing to address the issue is delaying and in effect delaying the representation of ICCs/IPs to the City council of Baguio.”


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