TABUK CITY, Kalinga – National Commission on Peoples (NCIP) Chairperson Jennifer Pia Sibug-las was adopted daughter of the province during the 2023 Indigenous Peoples Month and 26th Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) Commemoration held at the Kalinga Sports Center on Monday, October 23.
Sibug-las, a Manobo princess, was given the adopted name: “Dinayaw”, which means “beautiful”, “generous,” and “hospitable” in Kalinga. She was formally adopted as a daughter of the province through the conduct of the “Gammid”, a Kalinga traditional rite done by the community for someone recognized to be considered family.
According to Kalinga customary practices, personalities like Sibug-las, who have given remarkable services to the people, are recognized appropriately and suitably in accordance with Kalinga customary norms.
Sibug-las was recognized by the province for her dedication in leading the agency’s Oplan Bayanihan and in bringing home thousands of indigenous people stranded in Manila and other areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She is also recognized for her commitment to the government in attaining and implementing policies, plans, and programs for the promotion and protection of the rights and well-being of the indigenous people.
As an adopted daughter of the province, Sibug-las is granted all the privileges of a Kalinga daughter, including her protection under the umbrella of the Bodong justice system.
IP month, a call to action
In her message, Sibug-las emphasized that IP Month is not just a celebration but a crucial call to action, highlighting the importance of preserving indigenous knowledge, practices, and languages and protecting indigenous people’s rights.
“We must confront the challenges that indigenous people continue to face, such as land rights, social equality, and cultural preservation. Together, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable future where every individual is respected and valued,” she said.
Sibug-las said while NCIP is mandated to protect IP rights, they need support from partners and stakeholders to advance and further the promotion, protection, recognition, and respect of the indigenous peoples.
She acknowledged the indigenous peoples of Kalinga, who have been the stewards of their land for generations, passing down their wisdom and reverence for the environment to their descendants. “We owe (you) the debt of gratitude for preserving the natural beauty that surrounds us today,” she said.
Attendance at the event included several dignitaries from the NCIP, including NCIP Regional Director Atty. Anatacio Addog, NCIP Commissioner Gaspar Cayat, and Commissioner Pinky Grace Pareja, along with local officials such as Congressman Allen Jesse Mangoang, who also delivered their messages.
Progress for Kalinga
Governor James Edduba used the occasion to ask for the NCIP’s support for the development of renewable energy sources in the province, which, he said, is necessary to catch up with the rest of the Philippines in terms of development.
He also urged the agency not to create unnecessary obstacles in its processes.
“Huwag niyo [naman] kaming pahirapan, like, for example, on what happened to our renewable energy requests, paulit-ulit niyo na lang binabalik ang papel dito sa probinsya,” Edduba said.
Commissioner Cayat said they are reviewing the processes to expedite and streamline the NCIP procedures.
“We are trying to review the existing guidelines of the FPIC in order to fast track, if possible, and streamline, as per the request of our president, the bureaucracies in the government in order to address the complaints of the people,” Cayat said.
Development of renewable natural resources is one of the priorities of the Marcos administration to source out clean energy and alleviate the effects of climate change. By Rod Asurin