BAGUIO CITY – An influential indigenous peoples (IP) group that previously supported the congressional aspiration of incumbent Rep. Mark Go, withdraw their support to the first-term lawmaker for his re-election bid because of his alleged position on various local issues that tend to affect the rights of the IPs over their ancestral domain.
Sonny Bugnosen, one of the convenors of the IGOrotak movement that was used to convince Cordillerans to shift their support to Go’s previous congressional bid in the May 2016 national and local elections, explained that during the first days when the lawmaker was already in his position, they already saw his anti-IP stand because he allegedly failed to establish the recommended IP desk in his office to cater to the issues and concerns of IPs who were instrumental in bringing him to where he is now.
“We simply requested Mr. Go to put up an IP desk in his office to cater to the concerns of the indigenous peoples but we were disappointed on his response that his office is not only for a single group which was not the purpose of the request,” Bugnosen stressed.
He clarified that Go’s IP supporters were not asking for an IP office but instead it was supposed to be a mere IP desk that was supposed to cater to the issues and concerns of IPs with a respected IP elder who was supposed to look over the proposed desk.
According to him, another issue that compelled the group to withdraw their support to his re-election bid is his proposed bills on the granting of another validation period of the unvalidated 211 titles which could result to the massive displacement of IPs who are now occupying lots covered by unvalidated 211 titles considering that it will be the moneyed real estate developers who were able to purchase the unvalidated 211 titles who will lord over the lands in the city that will result to the eventual displacement of the IPs.
Further, Bugnosen explained that Go’s bill on the creation of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay Development Authority (BLISTTDA) which was substituted in the Senate to Greater Baguio-Benguet Development Authority (GBBDA) infringes on the rights of IPs on their ancestral domain and deprives the IPs of the required free prior informed consent (FPIC) before the implementation of any development projects in their midst considering that it is vested with powers that undermines the local autonomy of local governments which will be very dangerous as it will be again the interest of the businessmen which will be the primordial consideration.
The son of former Mayor Jaime R. Bugnosen claimed that Baguio City is a melting pot of different cultures wherein a good number of resident trace their roots to the different tribes in the country, thus, it is important for aspiring elected officials to give priority to the issues and concerns of the IPs and not to totally disregard the same in lieu of the interests of few moneyed individuals who want to introduce the put up of high rise buildings in the city that will surely affect the city’s state of the environment and contribute to the existing solid waste, garbage and traffic woes of the city.
He asserted that IP elders who supported Go’s previous congressional bid shifted their support to the congressional bid of incumbent Mayor Mauricio G.. Domogan because of his pro-IP position being a full-bloodied IP himself.