February 26, 2024

Here’s a case of two groups representing indigenous peoples from one province asking the city council to help them settle their differences.

Two organizations representing the Ifugaos living in Baguio City have sought the council’s intervention so they could settle their differences on who should lead the Ifugao Day celebration in the city on April 29.

The council invited the Federation of Ifugao Brethren (FIB) headed by David Dumangeng and the Intermingling of Ifugao Body and Brotherhood Association (IIBBA) led by Raul Ballogan, to clarify why the two groups are separately celebrating the Ifugao Day celebration.

Dumangeng said it is unfortunate and shameful for them to be asking the council’s help on a trivial matter, but they were hoping it was the best way to settle their differences.

The celebration on April 29 is by virtue of a 2019 city council resolution that designated the second Saturday of April as Ifugao Day celebration in Baguio to be held at the Ibaloy Heritage Garden at Burnham Park.

Both organizations have requested the use of the Ibaloy Garden, but Ballogan, in a letter, said his group, the IIBBA found another venue where they could hold the program separately from the FIB.

Dumangeng told the council they have met several times to hopefully resolve their differences and agree on having only one celebration in one venue, to no avail.

“It may be a shame on us, elders, but it is our hope that with your help, the all the Ifugaos in Baguio will come together and celebrate the Ifugao Day as one,” Dumangeng said.

The councilors said the best people who could settle the matter are the members of the two groups themselves.

CouncilorsVladimir Cayabas and Arthur Allad-iw said the council could only advise them to resolve their differences.

“Remember that you are privileged to have been designated a day where you can celebrate here in Baguio. Not all groups from the different provinces living in the city are given a day to showcase their culture,” Cayabas said.

Councilor Peter Fianza said it is unfortunate the Ifugao groups that helped resolved the issues of the Ibaloys on who should be the rightful indigenous peoples mandatory representative are now the ones being divided.

“Settle this matter among yourself. If you were able to do it for the Ibaloys, why not do it for yourselves,” Fianza told the FIB and IIBBA representatives.

Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. asked the groups if they were amenable to move the celebration of the Ifugao Day instead to Sept. 2 to coincide with the celebration of the Victory Day that commemorates the victory of Filipino soldiers that fought along the Americans to liberate the country from the Japanese.

Cosalan said this would give time for the two groups to resolve their issues, but the groups said they wish to pursue the April 29 celebration this year and consider the suggestion later on.

The city council committee on indigenous peoples chaired by Councilor Maximo Hilario Edwin, Jr., was tasked to sit down with the groups and help them resolve their differences. – Jane B. Cadalig