Sagada elder baptizes NCIP Chairperson as ‘Gayagay’

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Baguio City – Jaime “Lakay Tigan-o” Dugao, a known Sagada elder and the current Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of the municipality of Sagada, performed ‘Gubbaw’ an indigenous practice of baptism to current National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Chairperson, Allen Capuyan before the conduct of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) Hour dialogue at the historic BIMAAK/BIBAK Hall located at Harrison Road.

By tradition, the Gubbaw is usually performed by the IPs of Cordillera to a new born baby wherein the family will wait until the umbilical cord, that once connected the mother and the child, is detached from the child. This serves as a sign that the child can be given his/her name or “Maigubbawan”.

The ‘Gubbaw’ to Capuyan according to ‘Lakay Tigan-o’ is without prejudice to the IP tradition and was conducted merely as a gesture of welcoming the NCIP Chairperson in Cordillera. Chairperson Capuyan who was born and raised in the Southern part of the Philippines, has openly been stating before the public that his father’s side of the family traces their roots from the mountain region of the North – Cordillera.

“We welcome Allen Capuyan to his home soil by giving him a name that is based from the names of his Cordilleran ancestors. May he mirror his ancestor’s selfless services to the IPs of Cordillera while ever-mindful with our indigenous values as he serves as the Chairperson of NCIP”, said Dugao.

The elder chose ‘Gayagay’ as the name for the NCIP Chairperson for the reason that the Capuyan families in Sagada traces their genealogy to ‘Gayagay’ – a known early inhabitant of Sagada, Mountain Province.

Capuyan, during the ‘Gubbaw’ ceremony, was given the following; an indigenous garment called as the ‘Kawes’ to remind him of the indigenous colors of Cordillera, an indigenous necklace called the ‘Buaya’ worn by IPs during celebrations, an indigenous bracelet worn by warriors and men of integrity, and an indigenous headgear called the ‘falaka’ worn by the ‘pangats’ or men of wisdom.

Capuyan along with the six (6) commissioners of NCIP chose Baguio as the venue for this year’s NCIP 7th Commission En Banc (CEB). Apart from the IP Hour dialogue, the Commissioners as a collegiate body, deliberated on issues and policies affecting IPs in the Cordillera. The discussed, among others, issues on land titles and IPMR concerns of Baguio.

The Commission just recently approved the new guidelines in the issuance of Certificate of Confirmation (COC). The COC is the main requirement in order to avail of the height waiver from PNP, BFP, AFP and other similar government agencies.

By Rocky Ngalob

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