IBALOI elders have once again endorsed Roger Sinot to the City Council of Baguio in a bid to assert his selection as Indigenous Peoples Mandated Representative (IPMR).
Sinot’s bid to occupy the IPMR seat in the Council was backed by Isabelo Cosalan Sr. of the Council of Elders of the Baguio Ancestral Land Claimants; Evelyn Miranda, president of the Metro Baguio Tribal Elders and Leaders Assembly [MTBELA], and Bong Suello who implored to allow Sinot to take his place in the august body.
Miranda said MTBEL conducted a general assembly over the weekend and collectively agreed to uphold the 2016 selection of Sinot andbacked his assumption into office.
Miranda said since the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Cordillera did not have a budget to conduct the assembly, MTBELA funded the assembly.
Miranda added the group consulted lawyer Basillo Wandag, NCIP Commissioner for Cordillera and Ilocos regions, and has his permission to go on with the September 23 assembly.
Miranda said NCIP Regional Director Calde has consistently denied the assumption of Sinot into office refusing to sign a certificate of affirmation which upholds the validity of the 2016 assembly which he won.
Cosalan, meanwhile, said they have exhausted all remedies in their bid to have an IPMR representative in the City Council.
The elders said Sinot’s case will be brought to the NCIP en Banc in Manila to finally have a resolution of the impasse as a last effort to uphold the selection.
A case has been filed by Sinot with the Office of the Ombudsman against Calde.
Sinot, in a historic vote last year bested four others in a bid to be the first Ibaloi IPMR.
The gathering was attended by over 300 at the Avong Ibaloi Heritage Garden at Burnham Park where Ibaloi’s from the city converged to ratify guidelines for the IPMR selection after which the selection proceeded via secret ballot, as agreed by the council of elders.
Sinot led the tally with 89 votes followed Jackson Chiday with 53 while Vicky Macay, Basilio Binayan and Philip Canuto trailed, ending the process of selection.
Sinot is a school teacher and Pinsao barangay chairman and the great grandson of Piraso, one of the original Ibaloy settlers of Baguio.
It was Mayor Maurcio Domogan who first voiced his concern over the selection of Sinot saying the process excluded other Indigenous Peoples confining the voting and selection to the Ibaloi group.
The City Council advised the elders to get the certificate of affirmation from the NCIP to finally fill the seat of IPMR for the city after the body declined to swear in Sinot without the papers.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on September 28, 2017.
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