Ibaloy elected as IPMR in Baguio
Indigenous peoples in Baguio will soon have a representative at the city council with the selection on Jan. 6 of an IP mandatory representative (IPMR).
Maximo H. Edwin, Jr., president of Onjon ni Ivadoy, is the second IPMR of Baguio but the first one who will officially sit as the 15th member of the city council, as the seat of the IPMR representative remained vacant since 2016 when other IP groups protested then IPMR Roger Sinot, Sr.
Edwin, who traces his ancestry to the Avucay clan of La Trinidad, Benguet and Pinsao in Baguio, was selected via secret ballot by elders representing the Ibaloy, Kalanguya, and Kankanan-ey ethnolinguistic groups.
Two others signified interest to become the IPMR but it was Edwin who got the most number of “votes.”
The National Commission on Indi-genous Peoples-Cordillera issued his certificate of affirmation on Feb. 2 and Mayor Benjamin Magalong administered his oath of office on Feb.3.
Edwin told the Baguio Midland Courier his selection was supervised by the NCIP and witnessed by representatives of the local government.
He said these were documented to avoid the issue about the last selection where some IPs complained they were excluded from the selection.
Edwin said his priorities will be to facilitate the titling of ancestral land claims as many fellow IPs could not perfect their claims because of cumbersome process in titling.
IPs in Baguio have long been clamoring for the selection of a new IPMR because of the mounting concerns involving their sector.
Among these concerns are non-recognition by some government entities of their ancestral domain, and filing of cases for the cancellation of duly-issued ancestral land titles or claims.
Selection of an IPMR stalled for years because of an injunctive order issued by a local court.
The prolonged absence of an IPMR also resulted in Baguio failing to qualify in the selection for the Seal of Good Local Governance for failing to meet one of the assessment tools which is on social protection and sensitivity governance, which include absence of an IP representative in the local council. – Rimaliza A. Opiña