BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged concerned interest groups to file the required petition for declaratory relief before a local court to put an end to the brewing conflict among the indigenous peoples (IPs) regarding the selection of the city’s Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR).
The local chief executive pointed out if the IPs cannot settle their disagreements on the selection of the city’s IPMR, then it is best for the concerned groups to file the appropriate case in court for an interpretation of the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
“We do not have any objection to the selection of the IPMR but we have to put things in their proper perspective to prevent problems that may become offshoot of these disagreements,” Domogan stressed.
Aside from laying out the rules and regulations and the qualifications of the IPMR, he underscored there should also be a request to the local government to appropriate the necessary funds to pay the salaries and benefits of the IPMR, his or her staff and the equipment and supplies of the office, among others.
He also criticized those sowing intrigues on the failure of the local government to recognize the IPMR was selected by the Ibaloi indigenous peoples as most members of the city council are IPs who belong to other tribes, saying that the matter is outside the issue because of the various resolutions that were handed down by various IP groups that objected to the chosen IPMR.
In the case of the city council, 8 of the 13 members are actually IPs with most of them Kankana-ey who trace their roots to the Mountain Province and one of them is an Ibaloi-Kankana-ey of Benguet.
Domogan also raised the issue on the need for the selection of the IPMR to be part of the local legislative body when it is already dominated by IPs, thus, the need for the court to actually interpret the IPRA provision that mandates the selection of IPMR to seat in the different local legislative bodies in cases where IPs are minorities.
According to him, concerned groups must make sure that there will be no pressing issues that crop up once the IPMR has been already selected not by a single tribe but all the representatives of the tribes in the city for the best interest of the IPs in the city.
He claimed the local government is willing to provide the required budget for the IPMR, his or her staff and the maintenance of the office provided that the selection will be done in a manner pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations to avoid conflicts that may arise if there is discontentment among the IPs who participate in the selection process.
Domogan belied reports that he is against the IPMR in the local legislative body, saying that such report is unfair, unfounded and baseless because what he is proposing is for all IPs in the city to get their acts together and come out with a common stand on the issue and the one who will be selected to be the IPMR of the city for the prescribed term of office.
By Dexter A. See