Issue of March 26, 2017
     
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Conflict among IPs stalls entry of Baguio IP council representative

The city council has urged the John Hay Management Corporation to allow entry of vehicles carrying construction materials, which shall be used exclusively for livelihood and household projects in the barangays within the Camp John Hay reservation.

The action was made after officers of Barangay Segregation from Camp John Hay Reservation Movement (BSCJHRM) complained about harassment committed by security guards of JHMC.

Together with their constituents, the barangays leaders who compose the BSCJHRM informed the city council that security guards of JHMC are preventing vehicles loaded with construction materials from entering barangays like Country Club Village, Happy Hallow, Loakan-Apugan and Scout Barrio.

They cited an incident wherein a truck loaded with cement and steel for a farm to market road project at Country Club Village was held from leaving the checkpoint installed along the circumferential road by the security guards, which nearly resulted to a commotion between the latter and the residents.

The residents claimed the guards refused to listen to their appeal even in the presence of the police.

The city council will meet with the chairman and president of Bases Conversion Development Authority, the chairman and president of JHMC, the director of the Baguio City Police Office, and the Department of Public Works and Highways and the representative of BSCJHRM in its session on April 3.

The meeting would also tackle the 19 conditions imposed by former Baguio officials as contained in Resolution 362, s. 1994 paving the way for the formulation of the master development plan for Club John Hay by the BCDA, particularly on the segregation of the 13 barangays within the reservation.

Meantime, the city council has requested BCPO OIC City Director Ramil Saculles to investigate and arrest the people harassing or preventing any person from using highways as a result of the implementation of the anti-obstruction policy.

Meanwhile, Atty. Ronald Calde, regional director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, has apprised the council of the status of the indigenous peoples mandatory representative for Baguio.

Calde said his office is precluded from affirming the selection of Roger Sinot as the IPMR of Baguio because of a complaint that ethnic groups have been excluded in the selection process.

Calde said in case of conflict in the selection of IPMR, the rules state the matter has to be resolved by all members of the indigenous peoples, not by the NCIP.

Calde said the task force tasked to review the documentary requirements or the legal issues surrounding the selection process relative to the protest against Sinot as IPMR of Baguio opted not to resolve the issues surrounding allegations of exclusion of participation in the process by other ethnic groups.

Instead, the task force recommended for the issuance of a certificate of affirmation of the selection of Sinot as the IPMR to the sangguniang panlungsod of Baguio.

Calde said the NCIP has referred the matter to the NCIP-Baguio, which will soon task the IP community to resolve the issue and to come up with a single resolution either by endorsing Sinot as the IPMR or choose another IPMR.

NCIP has been consistent in returning legal issues to the elders of concerned IP communities for resolution of their own conflicts like cases from La Trinidad, one in Apayao, one in Paracelis, and also the Kalinga provincial IPMR where there was an allegation of exclusion of other ethnic groups.

Calde said the protest is not only on the exclusion during the selection, but the also on the alleged exclusion during the formulation of guidelines contrary to the main purpose of IPMR selection, which is to have a collective representation of IPs in decision making and if there are other indigenous cultural communities that assert they were excluded of the right of representation then there is a need to bring it back to the community for them to decide and discuss the issues that matter to them.

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