BAGUIO CITY – Anchoring on the property rights of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) over Cordillera weaving fabrics and designs and acting on the request of Congressman Maximo Dalog Jr., National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR), Regional Director Atty. Marlon Bosantog issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) to seller 5 CENTS UP for selling machine printed Cordillera textiles to the public.
The said issuance of CDO sprouted from the letter of Avelyn Lomas-e Calag, an indigenous entrepreneur from Cordillera, to lawmaker Dalog which the latter brought to the attention of NCIP, hich, in turn, right away issued a CDO.
Dalog underscored the sacredness of the Cordillera weaving. According to him, “imitation and selling of […] machine-printed textiles is truly insulting and has desecrated and exploited the unique weaving heritage of the Cordillera which was passed on […] by our forebears as a previous heirloom.”
“These imitators and copycats do not understand the underlying meanings of our indigenous woven fabrics within the context of our culture”, added Dalog.
In the CDO, NCIP – CAR reminded 5 CENTS UP and other similar establishment selling machine printed Cordillera textiles that the production of the same violates the property rights of the Indigenous Cultural Communities / IPs’ intellectual property rights. The commission added that the production of machine printed textiles of indigenous weaving patterns requires the consent of the IPs before it will be reproduced in such form.
“In order to avoid any legal actions that may be brought against you by the IPs [as owners of the intellectual property] on account of the commercial sale of the machine printed textiles, we advise your establishment/s to pull and to cease and desist from selling the same to the public” said the COD of NCIP – CAR to 5 CENTS UP.
It has been a long argued by NCIP – CAR that Indigenous Knowledge System and Practices (IKSPs) like the Cordillera weaving patterns are collective properties lodged to the IPs and are inherent part of their cultural patrimony. These IKSPs, not limited to the Cordillera weaving patterns, according to NCIP – CAR are systems, institutions, mechanisms, and technologies comprising a unique body of knowledge evolved through time that embody patterns of relationships between and among peoples and between peoples, their lands and resource environment, including such spheres of relationships which may include social, political, cultural, economic, religious spheres, and which are the direct outcome of the indigenous peoples, responses to certain needs consisting of adaptive mechanisms which have allowed indigenous peoples to survive and thrive within their given socio-cultural and biophysical conditions.
The Cease and Desist Order was issued to the Management of 5 CENTS UP in Baguio Center Mall.
Apart from the adverse effects it may cause towards the weaving IP communities in CAR, NCIP – CAR underscored that manufacturing of these machine printed Cordilleran textiles will strip the soul off of the Cordilleran textiles reducing the same into a mere brand.
NCIP – CAR added that the unique and intricate Cordillera weaving pattern is akin to the history and well-being of IPs dwelling in the region. Patterns and designs of the Cordillera were woven and designed beyond memory can recall. It is part of the IPs’ identity that withstood centuries of injustices. To reduce the IPs’ identity into a mere brand would mean gradual yet painful ethnocide to our IPs.
By Rocky Ngalob