Issue of June 28, 2015

Courier Anniversary Issue
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Mexican stand–off on LT IPMR; Itogon’s anti–drug bid taking off

Tublay, not La Trinidad, is the run-away choice in the municipal level as one of this region’s winners for good governance, sources revealed last week.

Tublay Mayor Ruben Paoad, who does organic farming and who raises free-range chicken in his backyard himself, said he was informed by the DILG about this although it has not yet been officially announced.

This must have been quite a letdown to those rooting for the capital town, especially after a municipal publication adverted to it in news form, without citing its basis. You see, readers can be presumed to be stupid at times especially if the intention is not to inform but to merely deodorize one administration.

Accordingly, one reason why La Trinidad lost out was because of its unresolved indigenous people’s mandatory representative (IPMR) issue.

It began 10 months ago when IP elder Marcelo Abela acquired confirmation from the NCIP as La Trinidad IPMR. With the confirmation, he took his oath, presented himself to the municipal council, took his seat, participated in the deliberations, and signed documents as the IP sectoral representative.

Yet nine months into office, the council was hesitant to recommend payment for his services. Last week, several councilors indicated they would welcome any legal remedy he would seek to resolve the matter once and for all.

Other towns had seated their IPMRs following due process. Abela’s case is an exception. The La Trinidad Indigenous People’s Organization claimed due process was violated in his selection. Then it petitioned the NCIP to revoke his confirmation. The NCIP has been mum so far probably still deciphering the petition. The municipal council indicated the ball is in the NCIP’s court.

In the meantime, Abela was getting no pay. Was he himself to blame for failure to get LTIPO backing?

Says IP elder Teddy Quintos who represents the Association of Barangay Captains in the council: “It is comical because while we sit across each other, we do not communicate with each other. Nor do we see eye to eye. In my case at least, I receive my pay. He does not.”

It is a Mexican stand-off that is unfortunate as it is amusing at times considering the body language that emanates from members of the municipal council itself.

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Itogon’s determined bid to rid itself of illegal drugs appeared to be gaining headway with the growing number of people who expressed desire to be rehabilitated.

Last week, Mayor Victorio Palangdan said the number of people who were seeking rehab rose to six, apart from one already committed to a rehab center in Dagupan City.

The town has allocated P500,000 for this year as assistance to those seeking rehab.

The town has also not let up on its information and education campaign to discourage people from patronizing a habit that destroys its victims and affects their families as well as their environment.

In fact, the rape case filed by a single mother against several individuals, including two members of the Baguio City police force, is believed to be tied up to drug abuse or to a drug deal gone sour.

Determined as Itogon officials are in making their town drug-free, it has remained quite a mystery why its neighboring LGUs have not taken up a similar crusade despite their claims towards good governance.

It is a tough row to hoe because as pointed out several times by Davao City’s Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, “we could still expect drugs to be brought in because the neighboring areas are not as vigilant.”

Duterte views the spread of illegal drugs and the influence of drug syndicates as major national threats, adding that illegal drugs have become a national menace that nearly all government units have difficulty in dealing with.

He said illegal drugs shape up as a “real and present danger” that can pull down the country and prevent progress.

He also stressed that once children are into drugs, parents will lose them forever.

Duterte said shabu has proliferated because it is easy to manufacture that it has already contaminated nine of 10 villages in Metro Manila.

Itogon faces a daunting task but with an aware and involved citizenry, it may have hit upon a doable and sustainable approach in confronting the drug menace.

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Congratulations to Keren Joy Tuban Compelio for placing no. 6 among Benguet State University’s Nursing board passers.

She is the daughter of my cousin, Augustina Laking Tuban and husband Nerio Compelio of Barangay Amgaleyguey, Buguias. Keep up the good work.

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