We are in full agreement with fellow Ibaloy and currently the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) to the Baguio city councilMaximo Edwin, Jr., who pointed out during the flag-raising rites that the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 gives Baguio’s IPs –
Ibaloy, Kalanguya, Kankana-ey, and all other ethnolinguistic groups residing in the Summer Capital – a voice in the local legislature and a fresh start.
He cited Section 16 of the IPRA that states: “Indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) have the right to participate fully, if they so choose, at all levels of decision-making in matters which may affect their rights, lives and destinies through procedures determined by them as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous political structures.
Consequently, the State shall ensure that the ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils.”
Edwin said: “We IPs are a people historically differentiated, a people who developed in relative isolation from the mainstream, our life ways and world view are different from that of the dominant majority as shown in our use and treatment of nature, land and resources, and our belief in the cosmos and one’s place in it including our observance of ritual and Divinity.”
This writer also supports Edwin’s call for IP migrant communities of Baguio to organize themselves according to their ethnic affiliations “that each Cordilleran ethnic group be given due recognition for the distinct identification of each group’s uniqueness. This will set forth the record that, indeed, Baguio City is the melting pot of the North.”
Ibaloys are the first settlers of Baguio then originally known as ‘Kafagway’.
Meanwhile, Mayor Benjamin Magalong was one of the speakers during the Annual Investment Meeting Global 2023, May 7 to 10, in the United Arab Emirates where he presented the Baguio Smart City Digital Platform and its current capabilities before world leaders and visionaries.
The prestigious international event is the Middle East’s leading investment platform that aspires to ignite positive transformation through the creation of investment opportunities and developing economic relations among nations.
The mayor said the city aims to achieve Smart City status in five years with the help of international partners, especially the World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGo), a sustainability organization that is based in South Korea.
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.