IPs push for Roger Sinot's City Council seat

INDIGENOUS people groups in Baguio City are pushing for the assumption of Roger Sinot as sector representative.

Representatives from the Aspulan ni Ivadoy, Ivadoy ni Bagiw (I-Bagiw), Metro-Baguio Tribal Elders and Leaders Assembly (MBTELA), Association of Tinguians in Baguio, Tongtongan ti Umili, Dap-ayan ti Kultura ti Kordilyera, Inabuyog and Alliance of IP Women Groups in the Cordillera signed a manifesto, requesting Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, members of the City Council, and Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan to recognize the duly selected indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR) and invite him to participate in the regular meetings and activities of the City Council.

Led by Bong Suello, Geraldine Cacho and Labio Calingayan, a dialog with the City Council transpired Monday, August 19, as they lobbied for Sinot to take his seat in the August body.

The group asked for officials to recognize the selection process and the right of IPs in Baguio to have a mandatory representation in the City Council following the provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.

"The petitions filed in court against the duly selected IPMR do not have any connection with the consensus reached by the assembly of IP groups on August 10, 2019, as the said IP meeting was in consonance with their customary practices to address their concerns as in a 'tavtaval' for Ibaloys or 'tongtongan' for other Cordillera tribes," the group said.

The City Council referred the matter to the committee on laws led by Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, who advised the group to wait for the court ruling on Sinot.

Sinot won in 2016 and took oath as IPMR but failed to assume office as he was besieged with legal impediments and a complaint filed by fellow indigenous peoples on his win.

"No inferior court of the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against the NCIP or any of its duly authorized or designated offices in any case, dispute or controversy arising from, necessary to, or interpretation of this Act and other pertinent laws relating to ICCs/IPs and ancestral domains," the group added.

The group added that the assembly agreed to uphold the selection process held three years ago on November 4, 2016 as a legitimate process that was based on the NCIP national guidelines and consensus-building on the selection of IPMRs, and said the petitions filed in court against the duly selected IPMR do not have any connection with the consensus reached by the assembly of IP groups on August 10.


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