By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
Tomorrow is the day about a hundred years ago that the Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes of the US of A, Supreme Court brought down the historical decision that the Ibaloi Mateo of Baguio City owned and had native title over his ancestral land. That decision is now better known as the Carino Doctrine or the Doctrine of Native Title. The titled land that was contested was that where the Camp John Hay is located.
The Doctrine and a law that has and continues to pass discrediting and watering down actions by the different administrations of the Philippine government. Even with the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) that government representatives, both sincere and insincere, recognize as an off-shoot of the Doctrine of Native title and a local version of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that protect the Indigenous peoples’ (including the Ygorotes) rights to their ancestral lands and domains, and the right to self-determination. The Doctrine and the Act that should have facilitated the rendering of Justice to a scandalously wronged victim like Mateo. It is 100 years hence and justice has not yet been served Justice to the man or even to his memory.
For the indigenous peoples today; if justice has to wait another 100 years, then there is no order that law can bring only disrespect. The government body that is supposed to implement and monitor the IPRA loses its reason to be.
February 23 will go by to count another year to the burden of exploitation, oppression and violation of the IP rights and human rights by a government led for the present dispensation that lied and was disloyal to the IP populations as well as to the wider Filipino peoples.
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The ovearbearing garbage pile of Baguio City is concrete solid proof that the carrying capacity of this mountain City has already been over loaded. The simpleton understanding of that person in that mall who insists that the ability of the Luneta Hill to carry the building of the mall is what defines a places carrying capacity is sinfully disastrous.
Even if it is only measured in the volume of garbage piled everyday in this city or SM alone many scientists in the know have unrelentingly warned people they believe can do something about it that the carrying capacity for this area has overshot the safety scale.
So besides thinking of the money to be set aside for the hauling-out of the garbage from Baguio. And the money they can scrape from its bottom.
Maybe the people on top the hill at city hall should start worrying about the over-development they encourage with all those so-called festivals and Panagbenga’s, that includes 2000 rooms for guests, which can translate to some 1000s matured pine trees felled, tens of thousand gallons less from the residents already meager daily supply of clean water; eons of carbon monoxide and lead expelled into the cool Baguio atmosphere everyday and the micro organisms mutating all around the children all day long.
Let us be proud of keeping our environment and ourselves naturally strong and healthy and not just how much we raise and can spend to pay doctors to declare us ‘alright’. # email: email@example.com