New Era Co. to undertake FPIC for utilization of Kalinga tattoo

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BAGUIO CITY – Authentic Caps Distribution Inc. the authorized exclusive distributor of the products of New Era Cap Co. Inc., commit to abide with the regulations and policies of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for the purpose of securing due consent for the use of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) particularly on the indigenous and traditional tattoo designs of the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Kalinga.

It will be recalled that said IKSP on traditional tattoos were incorporated by New Era in their products and were later sold at the market. Likewise, New Era had entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Whang-Od. This drew flak from the different IP sub-groups of Kalinga and other neighboring provinces arguing that IKSP on traditional tattoos are community-owned wherein prior consent should have been secured from the rightful owners – the indigenous communities of Kalinga and not Whang-Od alone.

New Era, through its Chief Operating Officer (CEO), Maritess See-Lazaro, along with its Sale and Branch Operations Manager Hector Erive, sought the guidance of the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) relative to the matter for which the office oriented New Era on the prevailing policies and principles covering IKSPs.

They were informed that IKSPs generally are owned by the IPs as their collective property and are an inherent part of their cultural patrimony. Likewise, they were made aware of the nature of IKSPs where the author, composer, inventor, writer, choreographer, arranger, lyricist, owner, first user, or preacher, is not one individual but all the members of the community who belong to the past, present and future generations.

When asked whether or not those tattoo designs, which they used, were traditional IKSPs or original designs conceptualized and crafted by Whang-Od, they admittedly disclosed, that some were traditional IKSPs and that they are not certain with the rest of the designs. After the said disclosure, NCIP – CAR then advised them to undertake the FPIC.

Apart from securing the due consent from the IP community, the FPIC process will also serve as an avenue for IPs to verify and limit tattoo designs to be used by New Era. The same will also give the IPs, if they so chose to consent to the project of New Era, the opportunity to negotiate benefits and due royalties for their community from the revenue which will accrue from the utilization of their IKSP.

The project incorporating traditional tattoo designs, according to New Era, is anchored in the intention that New Era are paying tribute to the oldest, world renowned, legendary mambabatok member of the Butbut tribe, Maria Oggay popularly known as Apo Whang-Od.

New Era will be submitting their application documents for the issuance of Certification Precondition (CP) to NCIP–CAR in order for the FPIC process to commence.

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