By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
The Hydra in Greek mythology was one of Hercules’ labors given by the evil King Eurystheus and Greek goddess Hera. It is said to be a monstrous serpent with eight or nine heads that guards the gates of the mythical under world, of hell or a representation of what is bad. The story says Hercules and his cousin vanquished the monster that pillaged and terrorized the countryside.
In Baguio, legend says that some years ago in the city hall there was a talk of a “city hall mafia” (or syndicate) that took charge of transactions, documentations and contracts needed to raise income, and they also held the bag for the “jueteng” share and whatever monies culled from (illegal) transactions made in city hall. Nobody saw or knows who these were except for shadows that haunt the hall of the city government. We did wonder too who these people were until recently.
So the powers that be in the shadows of the city hall mafia swore in whispers that never will they allow the legendary warriors of Kagfagway stand up and move away from the clutches of national oppression. Although there is almost nothing left of their identity, these Kafagway warriors still dream of the great feats of their ancestors protecting their domains and territories, the sustenance that kept them a free self determining people. So that these shadows were so scared of any scratch or noise for fear these were made by enemies out to get their power and accumulated wealth. So they did anything to prevent any suspicious move or sound against them and they kept close to the shadows. Until one day one of their minions dropped the light to the floor and lo and behold, they were exposed… opportunists and bigots in their silk and shiny sequins.
Again on the IPMR.
Baguio city politicians said that there was no need for an Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) in the City council, even if (in layman’s language) the Country’s Constituion and by laws (IPRA), international instruments and treatieses have recognized and require such. They insist so because as they try to mislead the people by saying that majority of them in the City officialdom, particularly in the executive and legislative branches, are themselves indigenous peoples.
With the treatment and conduct of official functions in relation to the affirmation of the IPMR for Baguio City, these politicians are no Igorot at all with their regard to the recognition, and respect of indigenous peoples rights to their ancestral domains, land and right to self-determination. While the State through its basic Law means to correct the historical injustice it has for centuries done against the country’s national minorities and indigenous peoples (against the Igorots, the Ibaloi, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kankanaey, etc. as peoples), in their indigenous and ancestral territories. These politicians have stretched and crumpled the law to fit their attempts to preserve the status quo to perpetuate that historical injustice.
It is scandalous too to have seen ignorance of the basic provisions of the law with regards to indigenous peoples rights among lawyers and workers in the justice system in a territory that is the ancestral domain of IPs better known as igorots. Or were they just pretending not to know the law and when it fits their interest they claim to be native Igorots. May their ancestors strike such shameless display of denying the people of their rights.
It is now up to the citizens of Baguio to correct this blatant disrespect of their right to representation.# nordis.net