TABUK CITY, Kalinga– The chairman of the House Committee on National Cultural Minorities and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) criticized a member of the National Electrification Administration – Board of Administrators (NEA-BOA) for yet another racial slur against the Igorots that was obviously out of the issue during the public hearing that was called for by the House Committee on energy.
During the public hearing that was live streamed in the social media platform of the House of Representatives where the topic being discussed was on which between the board of Directors of electric cooperatives and the NEA-BOA has the right to appoint the general manager of ECs, Agustin Maddatu, one of the NEA -BOA members, suddenly brought out topic on the culture of Igorots where he claimed that Igorots follow the teachings of elders even if the same is wrong.
Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, chairman of the House Committee on National Cultural Minorities and IPs, pointed out that Maddatu’s perception that was simply anchored on hearsay and second hand information is highly condemnable, malicious, misleading, discriminatory, insensitive and a direct affront to the intelligence of Igorots who value doing things right as they continue to adhered to the time-honored practice of ‘inayan’ or a warning for a person not to do bad things due to the consequences of such actions.
He argued that as a senior government official, Maddatu has no right to discriminate the IPs, especially when he has no direct knowledge on the culture and traditions, as the same only shows his ignorance on the state of the IPs in the country who are now empowered and learned since elders have empowered them to achieve their desired higher level of education that will be instrumental in charting their future.
Mangaoang asserted that the Igorots deserve a sincere public apology from Maddatu which must be issued the soonest through various social and mainstream media platforms to teach him a lesson not to undermine the intelligence of the Ips as most of them might be more learned than the NEA-BOA member.
According to him, it seems that there are still people who refuse to learn their lessons from the previous discriminations against Igorots where those who did so were compelled to publicly apologize for their obvious misdeeds in issuing such reckless and irresponsible remarks.
The Kalinga lawmaker claimed that fortunately, members of the House committee chaired by Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Juan Miguel ‘Mayky’ Arroyo and vice chairman Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (PHILRECA) Party-list Rep. Presly de Jesus for being quick to remind Maddatu of his perception that seems to have gone out of bounce and not in conformity with the norms of the society.
On the other hand, Mangaoang also challenged Maddatu to identify officials of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) who have been allegedly involved in questionable transactions where he has a first-hand information and not to generalize things because there are people who are being unduly linked to the said matter based on his sweeping allegations.
The congressman stipulated that it seems that Maddatu has his own personal agenda in issuing such irresponsible remarks against the Igorots amidst knowing the fact that the two applicants for the contested position of Beneco general manager are full bloodied Igorots who are fully aware of the time-honored culture and traditions. By HENT