by Jimmy K. Laking
The La Trinidad Council of Elders and Leaders (COEL) will select by election on March 7 their final choice as the worthiest leader to sit as the indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR) to the municipal council with officials of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples as facilitators.
“This will settle once and for all the rightful choice of the council of elders and leaders as the municipal IPMR,” said Councilor Teddy Quintos.
He said the candidates will be nominated openly and the results to be determined by voting.
Vice Mayor Romeo K. Salda had clarified earlier that the municipal council has allowed Marcelo Abela to sit as observer and not as an ex-officio member of the legislative body.
Quintos said he will nominate Abela as IPMR but it would be up to the assembly to decide on who will represent them.
The council of elders announced last week the finalization of the guidelines for the selection of an IPMR.
The March 7 assembly will comprise of five COEL representatives each from the 16 barangays of La Trinidad.
Rep. Ronald Cosalan told the COEL that it was proper authority to select who should sit as IPMR in the spirit of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.
NCIP Provincial Legal Officer Severino Manuel Lumiqued said any solution fashioned out by the COEL to resolve a conflict is deemed final.
Armed with a certificate of affirmation from the NCIP, Abela took his oath as the town’s IPMR last year but the COEL said his selection did not follow due process.
The NCIP’s Abilene Cirilo told the COEL in a meeting that the guidelines for the selection process that nominated Abela as IPMR was not ratified by the general assembly.
Quintos called on members of the COELs to show up in full force on March 7 “so that the most deserving will be chosen as IPMR.”