MP designates first Friday of October as IP Day

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BONTOC, Mountain Province – The provincial board approved an ordinance declaring every first Friday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day in the province and mandating the meaningful observance of the same.

Ordinance No. 378, series of 2020 authored by Boardmember Thomas Tawagen, Sr. declared that it will be a declared policy of the provincial government to advance the rights and collective well-being of the indigenous peoples of the province through the annual observance of the Provincial IP Day in the province.

The ordinance stated that the Provincial IP Day in the province shall be observed every first Friday of October and will simultaneously mark the kickoff of the annual Lang-ay festival celebration.

The board tasked the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Mountain Province to promulgate the rules and regulations for the meaningful observance of the Provincial IP Day in recognition of the key role of the Ips in the overall growth and development of their respective communities.

The board stipulated that an annual appropriation of P200,000 will be automatically appropriated from the province’s annual budget for the expenditures on the activities that will be lined up by organizers for the Provincial IP Day and kick off of the annual Lang-ay Festival.

The board underscored that the IP are the vanguards and inheritors of the inherent rights, and dynamic cultures which is tightly inter-woven with their lands, language, spirituality, traditions and artistic expression that highly influence their principles of self-determination and self-governance.

Further, local legislators added that the government now recognizes the significance and rights of the IPs through special measures to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and their future.

According to the ordinance, to further drum up awareness of IPs as the bearers and symbols of the linguistic and cultural diversity, including inherited customs and traditions in the province, there is an urgent need to preserve, revitalize and uphold such irreplaceable heritage through the regular observance of IP Day in the province.

Mountain Province is one of the six provinces in the Cordillera that are dominated by indigenous peoples with distinct culture and traditions that had been passed on to the present generation purposely for preservation among their ranks.

The board said that the concerned offices of the provincial government will coordinate with their counterparts in the NCIP for the appropriate programs, events and activities that will be lined up for the annual celebration for proper dissemination with the concerned stakeholders who will actively participate during the aforesaid celebration.

Among the Ips that inhabit the different parts of Mountain province include the Kankanaeys, Aplais, Bontocs, Balangaos and Gaddangs which are evenly distributed in the 10 municipalities in western and eastern parts of the province.

The approved ordinance was signed by Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. and was posted in conspicuous places around the province as it will take effect 15 days after the same shall have been posted. By Hent

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