THE Mankayan Ancestral Domain Indigenous Peoples Organization (MADIPO) is seeking restoration of a damaged stone burial tomb considered as an indigenous peoples' heritage site at Panat, Suyoc, Mankayan Benguet.
A resolution forwarded to the provincial board detailed the destruction of the ancient stone burial chamber 'Gongo' at Sitio Panat said to be defaced by the contractor of the Guinaoang-Gambang Provincial Road.
According to the organization, the old stone burial tomb was present even before the Spanish occupation and was recognized by the Suyoc Consolidated Mining Company of Marsman wherein no tunneling and leveling beneath the heritage site was made in the early times.
MADIPO manifested that Republic Act 8271 also known as the right to religious cultural sites and ceremonies mandates "The state shall take effective measures, in cooperation with the ICC/IPs concerned to ensure that indigenous sacred places, including burial sites be preserved, respected and protected. To achieve this purposes; it shall be unlawful to deface, remove or otherwise destroy artifacts which are great importance to the ICCs/IPs for the preservation of cultural heritage."
The organization presented that no prior consultation nor was Free Prior Informed Consent conducted for the government project, depriving the stakeholder’s rights to due process in the name of progress.
IP representatives have agreed to sign and support the restoration of the historical heritage.
Benguet Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Sario Copas he had given 'strong support to immediate restoration of the stone burial tomb.
MADIPO is waiting for Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso’s instructions to the contractor for rehabilitation of the damaged site.