By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Members of the council of elders of Ibaloy ancestral land claimants in Baguio asserts that there is no need for the conduct of yet another assembly for the selection of an indigenous people’s mandatory represenatative (IPMR) to the city council and called on the the National Commision on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) regional director to affirm the IPMR they have selected.
In a press conference on October 6, Ibaloy elders with a representative of the citywide organization of elders of other IP groups in the city criticized the NCIP for organizing an assembly on October 7 in relation to the city’s IPMR.
Reynaldo Suello said that there is no need for an assembly because they already selected an IPMR to repesent all IPs in the city council.
“What the NCIP needs to do is to issue a certificate of affirmation for Roger Sinot, the duly selected IPMR,” he said.
Suello said that the selection process started in October 2016 in response to the resolution of the Corillera Elders Alliance (CEA) urging the NCIP to begin the process of IPMR selection. He said that the first information education campaign on the IPMR selection started on October 24, 2016 held at the Ibaloy Heritage Park. He added that the drafting of the guidelines for the IPMR started right after the IEC on the same day.
“We have fullfilled all requirements and went through all the process according to the guidelines of the NCIP and selected our IPMR, the NCIP and the city government should respect the process and the people’s decision,” Isabelo Cosalan, Sr. said.
Cosalan said called the October 7 assembly bogus. He said that the NCIP undermined the people’s decision by not recognizing the result of the IPMR process that their office had participated in.
“The NCIP’s indecisiveness and non-issuance of a certificate of affirmation is causing divisiveness among the IPs,” Cosalan said.
Director Ronald Calde of the NCIP Cordillera, in a text message confirmed that his office called for the October 7 assembly to address a petition filed against the IPMR selection process and the selected IPMR.
Calde said he cannot issue a certificate of affirmation unless the petition is addressed.
“There are petitions questioning the legality, and disqualification protest against the selection, hence in accordance with our guidelines, the same must be referred back to the field for resolution of issues in accordance with customary laws and to come up with a consensus or resolution,” Calde said in his text message.
The petitions were filed in November and December 2016 with addendums last January.
A special regional review body was created in January for the selection process.
In its report received at the NCIP regional office on February 6, the review body concluded that the protesters “have no personality to file the protest and its addendum” and recommended the issuance of a certificate of affirmation for the selected IPMR.
“In the light of the foregoing, this body respectfully recommends that the selection of Mr. Roger Sinot Sr. as the IPMR to the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Baguio City be affirmed through the issuance of a Certificale of Affirmation,” the review body’s recommendation read.
According to the report, the protesters were not among the losing candidates.
The review body also stated in its report that it should be the NCIP Baguio City Community Service who should address the protests granted that the protesters are the losing IPMR nominees. # nordis.net