NCIP Cordi head hit for non- affirmation of Baguio IP rep

>> Sunday, April 9, 2017

BAGUIO CITY – Roger D. Sinot, the selected indigenous people’s mandatory representative to the city council said regional National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Cordillera director Roland Calde made “several inconsistencies and very irresponsible statements” during the city council’s recent regular session on his selection which he said was unfair and uncalled for.   
Sinot was selected November last year as IPMR in what the Baguio NCIP office and a special regional review body of the issue ruled as “in order” and done according to NCIP rules and regulations and customs and traditions.
But to date, Calde has not yet issued certificate of affirmation so Sinot could sit as member of city council.
This, despite order from NCIP chairperson Leonor Quintayu to Calde for him to issue the COA during en  banc meeting here morning of March 20.
Instead, Calde sought audience with city council that afternoon which  immediately scheduled in agenda.
Among others, Calde told the city council selection of Sinot “had irregularities,” other indigenous peoples in Baguio were not consulted and he was not a registered voter of Baguio since he was registered in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.
This, despite ruling of the Commission on Elections that “in case of double  registration, the second registration is void and the first one subsists.”
The special regional NCIP review body cited this in its findings and had earlier given Calde copies of its findings saying   Sinot was earlier registered in Baguio. But still, Calde told the city council Sinot was not registered in Baguio.
Sinot furnished the city council Friday through Vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog position paper of NCIP Baguio office lawyer Harriet N. Abyadang and all staff dated March 10, 2017 to Calde regarding Sinot’s selection as IPMR.
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, 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 resolution in favor of Sinot which 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 thus the NCIP special regional review body was created which affirmed the process was “in order” according to laws and indigenous customs and traditions.
This, even if Cuilan reportedly  presided the process.   
But despite this, Calde still refused to issue to the COA so Abyadang and NCIP staff in their letter told the regional director “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.”
The NCIP special regional review body also upheld Sinot’s selection, but still Calde didn’t issue the COA.
The review body was headed by lawyer Manuel G. Lumiqued, Michael Umaming, Gary Roger L. Tumapang and Crislyn H. Zarate.
Calde was urged by the review body in a letter dated Feb. 6, 2017 to issue to COA to Sinot considering all processes were in order. 
The Baguio Ancestral Land Claimants Executive Council of Elders had reiterated to Quintayu the need for Calde to issue the COA to Sinot during the en banc meeting.
Sinot, in a position paper also furnished to Bilog Friday received earlier by the NCIP March 14 cited a “very disturbing observation of Abyadang in their position paper of a “supporting affidavit of Mr. Paul Pasigon and Mr. Gaspar Cayat in support of the appeal protest that was subsequently filed on November 17, 2016, was not furnished the NCIP Baguio CSC,”  and likewise not furnished to the NCIP Baguio CSC were affidavits in support of the protest, from Atty. Manuel Cuilan and Joselito Shontogan,” submitted to the regional office on Dec. 1, 2016 for their office to appropriately comment and/or process so that the concerns raised by the protestants could have been objectively validated.”
Sinot said, “This brings about a very disturbing concern so much so that it questions the motive and objectivity of the regional director in keeping to himself and not routing to its natural course and making the appropriate referrals of the said vital documents containing vital information and accusations that needed clarifications and answers from the concerned individuals and those mentioned in the protest. It infringes on the issue of whether we can still trust judgment and objectivity of the regional (NCIP) director in properly handling this case.”
Sinot urged Calde to issue the COA considering indigenous peoples of Baguio were being deprived of their right to representation in the city council.
This as some sources said Sinot’s affirmation was also being politicized by quarters who don’t want him to assume office as IPMR due to selfish or obvious reasons considering he had been in the forefront in the fight for ancestral land rights not only in the city but in Benguet.
They said an NCIP official could be held liable in some land cases wherein some people like kankanaeys who are not Ibalois have applied or were able to  get certificates of ancestral land claims or domains in Baguio.

This considering historical accounts have documented only Ibalois were the first settlers of Baguio, thus they should only be the ones who could apply and get titles or certificates over ancestral land in the city.    


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