BONTOC, Mountain Province – About a Hundred Indigenous People Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs) from the different towns and villages of Mountain Province attended the Revision and Ratification of the Province Local Guidelines for IPMR for the Provincial Level held in Bontoc at Chico River Breeze Hotel and Restaurant last October 3, 2019.
It has to do with National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Administrative Order No. 3. s. 2018 in lieu of an old Guidelines issued in 2009.
Atty. Wilson K. Kalangeg, NCIP Provincial Officer- Mt. Province with his staff took turns in clarifying via documentation the national guidelines taking into consideration the various suggestions from Municipal/Barangay IPMRS to abide to their own tested-traditional decision-making processes.
Jaime Dagao, Municipal IPMR-Sagada advised that “Tongtongan” is a quality value of our ancestors that should not be tainted by quantitative majority but a consensus building process through dialogue with collective participation of the community to affirm the consensus decisions as far as practicable.”
Ciriaco Filog, a Bontoc elder asserted that “Indigenous knowledge, skills and practices must be within the context based on customs and tradition.”
Jimmy Galingan, Municipal IPMR-Sadanga opined that “All customs, beliefs and identity as peoples are all integrated within Ancestral Domain – a salient point in the decision-making process.”
A participant added to IPMR qualification is to be able to read, write and “comprehend.” Participative deliberations were observed that before lunch time, outputs were summarized, collated and then signed by participants.
Another development was Petition signed by participants to retain Atty. Roland P. Calde as NCIP Regional Director-Car and not to be transferred to another station in as much that as a Cordilleran, Atty. Calde understands the indepth feelings of customary laws and practices in the region without a sense of doubt.
Meanwhile, this October is an Indigenous People Month with the Theme: “Indigenous Peoples as Partners in Attaining Inclusive Peace and Sustainable Development.” Republic Act 8371 (otherwise known as IPRA) is now 22 years old.
By DIONIE CHUNGALAN