BAGUIO CITY – Elders of city-based Ivadoys, Kalanguyas and Kankanaeys questioned the selection process done by some indigenous peoples (IP) organizations in the indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR) to the local legislative body, alleging that the process a product of farcical, illegal and serious violation of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
In their protest letter sent to city officials and concerned government agencies, representatives of the Ivadoys, Kalanguyas and Kankanaeys claimed the results, validity, and integrity of the selection process held last November 4, 2016, was not only doubtful but also considered illegal because of issues raised against the process.
The issues raised by the representatives of the IP groups in the city include the fact that the Kalangya and Kankaney groups were illegally and unlawfully excluded in the selection process, there were serious irregularities and anomalies attendant to the selection process, non-observance of the customary consensus rule, and the lack or defective notice on the conduct of the IPMR selection.
The concerned IP group representatives agreed in consensus that because of the blatant defects in the conduct of the selection process, the selection, and its subsequent results should be protested and presented to the general assembly to address and rectify all violations of law, including customary practices and traditions.
The IP group representatives are seeking for the declaration of the results of the November 4, 2016, selection process as invalid.
The IP group representatives called on the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to conduct another selection process to correct the defects of the previous process to guarantee the full representatives of all the city-based IPs. They want to make sure that the selected IPMR shall serve all concerned without any cloud of doubt or distrust and that he or she possess proven integrity, experience, and capability to serve the best interest of the indigenous cultural communities (ICCs), particularly the Kalanguyas, Kankanaeys, and Ivadoys.
The IP group representatives want the local government and concerned government agencies to hold in abeyance any actions that will give effect and due course to the November 14, 2016 IPMR selection, to invalidate or withdraw, if any document was already issued, to take appropriate measures to hold, prevent or avoid the assumption to office of the IPMR who was illegally selected and embrace such other remedies consistent with law and customary practices and traditions.
The IP group representatives believe the selection process done last November 4, 2016 was designed to suit the interest of a single tribe when there are numerous IP groups in the city that also deserve representations during the process for their voices to be heard in the deliberation of issues related to issues affecting the indigenous peoples in the city.
By Dexter A. See