Affirmation of Sinot as Baguio IPMR rep pushed

>> Sunday, July 16, 2017

BAGUIO CITY – A fact-finding team tasked by Unjon Ni Ivadoi, the largest Ibaloi group in Baguio City has found out all allegations against Roger D. Sinot Sr., the indigenous people’s mandatory representative-elect to the city council didn’t have basis and agreed that he should assume the post as soon as possible.     
The group unanimously recommended that Sinot be affirmed as IPMR and demand lawyer Rolando P. Calde, Cordillera regional director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to issue certificate of affirmation to Sinot as IPMR.
Team member and elder Isabelo Cosalan Sr. said if Calde will not issue the certificate after submission of the group report, he will write all Cordillera congressmen on indecisiveness of the regional director to facilitate settlement of the issue.
Cosalan was former Cordillera regional director of National Telecommunications Office.
He said he will also sign a protest against any person made to hold the position other than Sinot Sr. considering that all processes related to Sinot’s election have undergone the right and legal process.
“As legal processes go, Mr. Sinot, the selected IPMR should be allowed to sit or take on the position before any protest or disqualification is considered, just in the case of other elected officials. If a disqualification case is filed, then it can be settled by the proper body. In this case, the Council of Elders selected on Nov. 4, 2016,” the team said in a position paper.
Errol Tagle, president of Unjon Ni Ivadoi, who headed the team, said the report of the group shall be submitted to Calde as an answer to his memorandum.
Calde earlier made a memorandum to NCIP-Baguio to convene a general assembly to settle the problem on the IPMR.
Calde told the media once all indigenous groups in the city have been called by the agency, within the year, all issues will be discussed to solve impasse now faced by the city and Sinot over the seat to the city council.
Until a consensus is reached by indigenous cultural communities groups in the city, Calde said the seat remains open.
Calde added a request has been made to the national office of the agency to fund the gathering of all indigenous groups in the city and its representatives.
Sinot, in a historic vote last year bested four others to become the first IPMR of Baguio.
The gathering was attended by more than 300 at the Avong Ibaloi Heritage Garden in Burnham Park where Ibaloi’s from the city converged to ratify guidelines for the IPMR selection after which the selection proceeded via secret ballot, as agreed by the council of elders.
This, after an agreement was made between elders of the Kankana-ey, Kalanguya, Ibaloi and other tribes in the city that it will be an Ibaloi who will be the city’s first IPMR in recognition of the fact that the Ibalois are the first inhabitants of the city.
The gathering has since been contested, bringing Sinot’s assumption to office in a standstill.
With this, the NCIP created a body purportedly to oversee the new round of talks with Ibaloi, Kalanguya and Kankana-ey groups for discussion and possibly another round of assemblies to decide if they will uphold previous selection of IPMR representative or decide to go through another selection process.
The selection of Sinot had been affirmed by the Cordillera Elders Alliance, Metro-Baguio Tribal Elders Leaders Assembly, Ama-among ti Bontoc, Cordillera People’s Alliance among other groups.
The CPA is the largest group of indigenous tribes and people of the region.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Baguio Station Office had also upheld the legality of the selection process conducted by the city’s indigenous peoples (IPs) in the selection of Sinot as IPMR.
NCIP Baguio headed then by lawyer Harriette Abiadang as station officer-in-charge had also made a position paper  signed by all personnel and officers that the process in the selection of Sinot was in order.
After Sinot’s election, two or three personalities from the Kalanguya and Kankana-ey tribes questioned the process and called for another election.
Abiadang said it was previously agreed by the elders of the Kalanguya, Kankana-ey and Ibaloi tribes that if it will be the turn of the Ibaloi to serve as IPMR, then it will be the Ibalois who will be the ones to select the IPMR and the practice will be done if it will be the turn of the Kankana-ey and Kalanguya tribes.
The Kankana-ey were represented by former Happy Hallow Punong Barangay Joseph Sackley and their adviser lawyer Jingboy Atonen while the Kalanguya tribe was represented by its adviser former Cordillera Executive Board executive director Gaspar Cayat.
Cayat and an Ibaloi lawyer had been present in proceedings but later questioned Sinot’s election. The lawyer had even presided the election.
The selection of Roger Sinot as the city’s first IPMR will still be subject to the certificate of affirmation by the NCIP-CAR regional director.
This, as indigenous groups who participated in the process said what Calde was doing by not affirming Sinot was an affront to their integrity and right and legal manner and process in how he was elected.

Other sources said Calde was not issuing the affirmation for deeper reasons known only to himself. 


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