BOKOD, Benguet – Indigenous peoples of the municipality and nearby Itogon hailed the efforts of former regional director lawyer Marlon Bosantog of the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) for successfully spearheading the ongoing free and prior informed consent (FPIC) between the said groups and the SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP) Benguet which will pave the way for better benefits for the ancestral domain owners and the host and neighboring communities.
The Shakilan ni Ekulos of Bokod and the Tinongdan Indigenous Peoples Organization (TINPO) of Itogon are grateful for the initiatives undertaken by the former NCIP-CAR regional director, who is now the second nominee of the IPEACE Epanaw Party-list, that paved the way for the conduct of the FPIC process leading to the ongoing negotiations between the IP organizations and the power generation company on the appropriate benefits due to them and the host and neighboring communities from the operation of both the 126-megawatt Binga and 105-megawattt Ambuclao hydroelectric power plants.
Most of the members of the Council of Elders of both organizations stated that Bosantog was very instrumental in opening the opportunities for the power generation company to secure the consent of the IPs within its host and neighboring communities so that the IPs will benefit from the exploitation, utilization and development of the State’s resources that are within their ancestral domain pursuant to the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples rights Act (IPRA).
According to them, the projected increase in benefits that the ancestral domain owners and the host local governments stand to get from the ongoing negotiations primarily because of the efforts of the IPEACE Epanaw Party-list nominee will definitely translate to greater opportunities for growth and development in their respective ancestral domains as the same had been left out in the past.
IPEACE Epanaw is listed as No. 171 in the official ballot of the Commission on elections among the party-list groups that had been allowed to run for the May 9, 2022 synchronized national and local elections.
With barely less than a year as NCIP-CAR regional director, Bosantog, who was a former employee of the Office of the Solicitor-General, gave up the said position to aspire for a seat in the House of Representatives under the IPEACE Epanaw for him to continue advancing the cause of the indigenous peoples in their quest for equality in the present bureaucracy.
He is a proud product of the government’s basic education system before graduating from the Catholic-run St. Louis University (SLU) in his baccalaureate and law studies.
Bosantog’s parents hail from Bauko, Mountain Province and Buguias, Benguet and that he was able to continue carrying his identity as a proud Cordilleran throughout his career in the various government agencies where he served over the past several years prior to his decision to seek an elected post through the prevailing party-list system.
Bosantog was also instrumental in facilitating the negotiations between the Bakun Indigenous Peoples and the Aboitiz-owned HEDCOR Benguet that commenced into the signing of a memorandum of agreement between both parties.