Guv inducts officers of Tuba indigenous group-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A promise of good luck and governance was imparted by Governor Nestor Fongwan Tuesday morning to newly elected officers of the embattled the Indigenous Peoples Organization of Alang, Pokis, Sabian, Sta. Fe, Olibba and Loakan (IPO-APSSOL).
Speaking before the newly elected officers, Fongwan said: “There are great challenges set before you, and I hope you will find a way to overcome them.”
Sitting as new president for the group is Minda Bantasan with vice president Baoanan Waguis, secretary Rolanda Oplas, treasurer Augusto Batang, auditor Johnny Montino and public relations officer Julio Galbay.
Elections of the officers were set June 12 after members sought the impeachment of their leaders over differences in transparency.
Over 800 members were present during the elections at Camp 3; all deciding to end the leadership of former officers Adam Ventura, Felimon Aliado, Constancia Fernandez, Raymundo Tindaan, and Saturnino C. Donongan as council of elders.
Complaints allege millions in royalties given by Philex Mining Corporation were not properly audited since 2008 and only benefitted six of the 15 sitios.
During induction ceremonies at the Provincial Capitol, Fongwan likewise formalized the leadership of over 30 community members comprising the new set of council of elders he dubbed as “ama and ina” of the IPO-APSSOL.
The new council of elders represent all 15 sitios of the area comprising of cultural communities of Alapang /Calipton, Alang/Bal-ao, Aguing/Torre, Bastian/ligay, Kimmabab, Camait, Binal-aw/Clifton, Agpay, Cabanosan, Camaring/Loakan, Pokis, Kedit/Sabian/Olibba, Mansumang/gabsoab/Don-oy, Balayan, Peril and Liyang-Sta. Fe.
Fomgwan said: “There will be people questioning you. You have to inform them of the decision of the members, due process has to be observed.”
After the June 12 elections, there are now three other groups bidding to represent the Itogon communities, which are beneficiaries of over P60 million worth of royalties from Philex Mining Corporation.
To date, it is only IPO–APSSOL that is recognized by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) as the legitimate group to receive the royalties.
“I hope all of you will listen to the issues and concerns of each and hopefully come up with a win-win solution for all,” Fongwan said.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 20, 2012.