FROM UNDER THIS HAT | Our people in November actions



Through this column the Management Committee of the Baguio City Indigenous Peoples Center (BIPC) would like to say thank you very much to the members of the Igorot community in Baguio who have donated tables, chairs, other furniture and fixtures to the Center. We also thank Patricia Okubo Afable for a copy of a most valued reference: “Ibaloy Dictionary Phonology Grammar Morphophonemics” for the Center’s Reading Room, to Dr. Elizabeth Solang and her family for the copy of BS’ “Dap-ay Discourse Uno”, and to others who have brought books too. Thank you for your valued help to build the Center as a functional gathering place for the local indigenous peoples, cultural activities and a reading room for a library of books on indigenous peoples.

BIPC is also inviting others to lend or give the Center other materials needed for its purposes.

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Where Justice continues to be denied.

Some time this week, is the fourteenth year of what farmers call the “Hacienda Luisita massacre”, when on that fateful day farmers fighting for their land and striking workers of the local sugar central mobilized their ranks in solidarity and barricaded at the gates of the sugar mill in the vast 6000 hectares Cojuangco-Aquino sugar plantation to ventilate their rightful demands for the respect of their rights as workers and farmers and as Filipino citizens.

Results of fact-finding missions “gathered by Bulatlat pointed to the fact that military and police forces, acting on orders of the labor department, appeared intent on breaking up the picket of the striking workers days before the Nov. 16 dispersal that claimed the lives of seven strikers and the wounding of at least 200 others. (Other reports said 14 were killed.) … About 5,000 sugar farm workers and 500 sugar mill workers went on strike on Nov. 6 (Saturday) to demand, among others, the reinstatement of 327 workers led by union leaders earlier laid off by the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) management.

The Supreme Court also on April 24, 2012 lowered a decision that ordered the distribution of 4,916 hectares of Hacienda Luisita land to the original 6,296 original farm-worker beneficiaries. To this day, while the workers still have to see justice especially for the families of those killed, the farmers and supposed agrarian reform beneficiaries still struggle to genuinely own and till with true government support the farm lands they were allegedly awarded under the government land reform program then. Justice!

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In another instance, the continued dragging of its feet by a local court of a decision on the status of the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) is a gruff and disrespectful insinuation that the indigenous people’s right to be represented by somebody of their choice from their ranks seen as capable of serving their interests as igorot IPs, continues to be trampled on.

Lifted quotation from Google states, “Justice delayed is justice denied” is a legal maxim meaning that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all.

In this case, Justice for the indigenous peoples of Baguio City.

If the pressure emanates from glorified politicians maybe those in the justice hall who give in to them should join them in their political forays and not pretend to be in the honored position of being a fair and honest member of our courts.#




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