Issue of August 29, 2010
Mt. Province
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Mateo Cariño monument to rise in Burnham Park
by Leia Castro


The open portion of uneven land between the Children’s Park and Orchidarium at Burnham Park will soon be the site of the Mateo Cariño monument and Ibaloi Heritage Garden.

This, as the city council in their regular session last Aug. 16, passed Resolution 182, s. 2010 which designated the idle land area for the establishment of the monument honoring Mateo Cariño and the Ibaloi community.

The resolution states that “After 101 years, on Sept. 1, 2010, it is but fitting to allocate a portion of that parcel of land that Mateo Cariño’s family once owned in recognition of his important role in the history of Baguio City and in honor of is heroic deeds, parallel to that area allocated for him at the Gallery of Philippine National Heroes at the Luneta Park, and in recognition of the Ibaloi tribe of Baguio City to which he belong.”

Cariño was designated as the Baguio representative to the chief executive of the American Insular Government when a US civil government was established here in 1901.

The resolution also recognized that the City of Baguio sits on the “Rancheria known as Kafagway,” which was home to the Cariño family and the Ibaloi community in general until it was taken over by Spanish and American colonizers.

Mateo Cariño fought the American Insular government for the return of his land based on prior vested rights and the “native title” in a time when the terms ancestral land and ancestral domain were not yet coined. He won his case in the United States Supreme Court which issued the landmark ruling known as “The Mateo Cariño Doctrine” which recognized the inherent rights of indigenous settlers over their lands.  For this, he became a symbol of indigenous people’s struggles worldwide.

The resolution adds that among the tribes using the Mateo Cariño Doctrine in their pursuit of land ownership claims are the Indian tribes of Canada and the United States and the Maoris of New Zealand.

In choosing the area between the Children’s Park and Orchidarium, the council said the land has not been included in the proposed Burnham Park Master Development Plan crafted by the University of the Cordilleras.

The same area has been used by the Ibaloi community earlier this year to celebrate the first ever Ibaloi Day in Baguio City.

The resolution was approved by city mayor Mauricio Domogan last Monday.

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