February 28, 2024

Benguet has launched its own Indigenous Peoples (IP) building in Wangal, La Trinidad in support to its School of Living Tradition (STL) programs and other IP-related activities.

Board Member Robert Namoro said the building was constructed as a learning center especially for the younger generation, which is also part of the efforts to preserve the culture and arts of the province. 

“Previously, we held our SLT programs in different venues. So, for now, we have this building where the SLT and other cultural activities can be conducted,” Namoro said. 

Namoro, chair of the provincial board committee on culture and the arts, said the building was funded by the Anac-IP party-list after the board passed a resolution during the time of the late Gov. Nestor Fongwan, Sr. in 2015.

The Lower House approved P3 million from the original request of P6M. The provincial government released a counterpart of more than P2M and provided the lot where the building stands. 

SLT activities are ongoing, such as loom weaving and etag and tapey-making, but only for limited learners as a safety protocol. 

SLTs are community-managed centers of learning where cultural masters transfer their knowledge and skills on a particular art, craft, and tradition to the young members of the community for their appreciation and learning, with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as a funding agency. 

NCCA has recognized the province as one of the consistent implementers of SLT programs nationwide. 

“The SLT remains as our advocacy in the province. We want these IP practices to be passed down to the next generation in Benguet. As we know, our ancestors did not really teach the young ones because of strict cultural restrictions that’s why some of the elders now don’t know how to play the instruments,” Namoro said. – Ofelia C. Empian