BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) leadership decided to inhibit from continuously hearing the controversy on the selection of the city’s Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) and referred the matter to the central office for immediate resolution amidst the brewing conflict among the involved parties.
NCIP-CAR Regional Director Roland Calde said the decision was an offshoot of the regional review committee and other related bodies that were created by the agency to try to settle the differences of the involved IPs to allow the selected IPMR to be issued the required certificate of confirmation for him to occupy a seat in the local legislative body.
Aside from the failure of the NCIP-CAR regional office to settle the conflict among the involved IPs, Calde cited one of the major reasons for the referral of the matter to the central office is the issue on the alleged disqualification of the involved aspirant for the position and the exclusion of the various IP groups in the city from the selection process, considering that the selection of the city’s IPMR was confined only to the Ibaloi tribe. This is contrary to existing guidelines that all IPs in a certain geographical unit must be involved in the prescribed selection process pursuant to customary laws.
The NCIP-CAR official also revealed that it was recommended to the central office that it convene a final general assembly among all IPs in the city for them to select among themselves the deserving IPMR who will represent them regardless of whichever tribe he or she will come from, considering that what is important is for them to undergo the stringent selection process prescribed under existing laws, rules and regulations.
It can be recalled that while there are some factions in the Ibaloi tribe that support the selection of Roger Sinot as the city’s IPMR, there are also some factions in the same tribe who are against Sinot’s selection apart from the fact that some other tribes have expressed their objection to his selection, raising doubts on his qualification to become a member of the local legislative body plus the fact that other tribes were excluded from the earlier selection process.
Earlier, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan underscored that the local government supports the existence of an IP representative to the local legislative body provided that the IP groups are united in the selection of the said representative, and that the city must be informed of the need to allocate the required funds to pay his or her salaries, maintenance, and other operating expenses of the office as well as the salaries of staff, among other allowable expenses.
He added there is a need for the IPs to effectively and efficiently address issues being raised by some sectors in the city, such as that an IP representative in the LGU will add up to 8 local legislators who trace their roots to the IPs of Benguet and Mountain Province and allegedly could result to the discrimination of non-IPs, and why the selection is confined to only a single tribe and does not involve other tribes in the city.
By Dexter A. See