AN ORDINANCE requiring mandatory conduct of cultural consultation or orientation on the proper use of Indigenous Peoples (IP) traditional attire on any public event was passed on third and final reading by the 18th Davao City Council on Tuesday, November 7.

The ordinance requires prior consultation or orientation on the proper use of IP traditional attire during parades, exhibits, gatherings, presentations, and other related public activities relative to the appropriate and correct representation, pursuant to the mandate of the Republic Act 8371, also known as the Indigenous People's Rights Act of 1997.

Section 4 (a) of the ordinance read that the ordinance is limited to any natural and juridical persons involved in the preparation, organization and performers of public events such as parades, exhibits, gatherings, and presentations including but not limited to the choreographers, instructors, managers, models, actors, dancers, singers and other performers, that showcase represent, symbolize and/or claim to showcase, represent symbolize the authentic IP attire and tradition of a particular tribe in Davao City.

Section 4 (b) of the ordinance, however, clarified that the ordinance does not cover public and private events that showcase any form of creativity.

"This ordinance does not apply to public and private events which showcase any form of creativity, using only cultural/native/ethnic-inspired themes that promote innovation in the field of art and ingenuity. However, the organizers and persons behind any cultural/native/ethnic inspired gathering and events are urged to exert earnest effort to be consistent with the traditional IP attire and give due respect to the significance of every color, cut, design of the same in accordance with the IP culture and tradition of the concerned Indigenous Cultural Communities/IP used as inspiration for the theme of the event," it read.

A certification or any document evidencing orientation and consultation issued and signed by the Office of the Cultural and Community Affairs (OCCA) will be required from any person, groups of persons, organization, entity, establishment, whether private or public, who seeks to use IP attire for the purpose of representing/attributing/ exhibiting a recognized IP/Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICC) in Davao City during public activities and other public events.

For Kadayawan and Araw ng Dabaw, the OCCA under the City Mayor's Office shall inform the executive committee designated to supervise the over-all activities of the Kadayawan and Araw ng Dabaw the provisions of the ordinace.

The Occa is tasked to ensure the applicants such as choreographers, instructors, managers, supervisors, performers, and all the parties involved in the promotion and presentation of IP attire during the events shall have undergone cultural orientation, and that the applicants can show evidence of the orientation.

Section B of the Section 7 states that unless otherwise provided, the cultural orientation for Kadayawan and Araw shall be valid to the succeeding Kadayawan and Araw provided that it involves the same IP attire/IP culture and the participating choreographers, instructors, managers, supervisors, and other parties who have undergone orientation are still the same.

In case there is change of persons assigned, new choreographers, instructors, managers, supervisors, and other parties involved in the promotion of IP attire, are required undergo cultural orientation/consultation.

Certificates given after the orientation are valid for any related public activity, organized and sponsored by the applicant, provided that it involves the same IP attire previously sanctioned.

Three prohibited acts of the ordinance provided under Section 9 include: use of IP attire in any public activity without having gone cultural orientation required by the ordinance as evidenced by a certification or any written document issued prior to presention; deviation/alteration/variation of original authentic attire with respect of its color, design, cut and not in accordance with the proper attire agreed during the consultation/orientation conducted by the tribal to the tribal community and the same is purely offensive to the IP community; other cases analogous to the previous two prohibited acts in violation of the provisions of the ordinance.

Penalties for first offense include warning and reprimand, and a required attendance to the cultural consultation seminar; for second offense, a fine of not less than P500 but not more than P1,000 and the discretion of the court, and the violator will also be required to attend the consultation/orientation; third offense, a fine of not less than P1,000 but not more than P2,000 and violators will be required to attend the consultation/orientation.

The proponent of the ordinance Councilor Bai Halila Sudagar, Chair of committe on Cultural Communities and Muslim Affairs, tried to pass an earlier version of the ordinance putting penalties to those who do not wear proper IP attire last August, but the item was reverted back to the committee due to the "protection of freedom of expression" that might be violated by the ordinance. Such recommendations were considered in committee hearings conducted which gave way to the passing of the new and revised ordinance. (KVC)