By NORWIN GONZALES
BAGUIO CITY – On the theme, “Boses Ni Karakdan En Onong” (The Voice of the People Is Supreme Law) an assembly of indigenous peoples in the City resolved to strengthen their ranks to fight for their right to representation to the Baguio City Council.
The assembly was a forum on IP rights orgnized to commemorate the anniversary of the passing of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) at the BIBAK Hall, Baguio City on October 27 and 28.
The assembly in a resolution vowed to sustain their collective efforts for the mandatory representation in the City Council. This reaffirms the November 4th 2016 resolution of an IP assembly hailing Roger Sinot as the selected indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR). The resolution also added that the people must strengthen unities in order to prevent those who are sowing division in their ranks from taking over.
The assembly also resolved to conduct an information and education campaign (IEC) to explain the issue of political representation among people in various IP clusters in the city. It cited that an IEC campaign is vital so that the IPs will not be left unaware or voiceless on the issue. This also gives them the power of an informed participation. The IEC will be led by the Ibaloy and other IP groups’ elders/leaders in the city.
The assembly further resolved to unite Ibaloy elders on their stand on the IPMR. This, after a division among the Ibaloy resulted after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – CAR (NCIP-CAR) formed another group of 8 elders that discredited Sinot as the selected IPMR despite the call for the issuance of his affirmation by 3 earlier assigned committees to look into alleged anomalies in the local guidelines, the selection process and in the qualifications of the person selected.
“No discrepancies were apparently found,” by all three committees, of which two were appointed by the NCIP-CAR office and one by the group of 8 elders, noted a Baguio-Bontoc elder.
Finally, the assembly resolved to support the women’s rights defenders who are now being persecuted, maligned and harassed by the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army this past three months. # nordis.net