June 20, 2024

Ibaloys were urged anew to unite in choosing an indigenous peoples mandatory representative (IPMR) from their ranks.
Councilor Jose Molintas has reminded his fellow Ibaloys during the closing program of the month-long Ibaloy Festival to put their acts together and decide to have one representative to the city council. 
“It takes us some more sacrifice so that what we have strived for will be achieved. So, if we don’t sacrifice and we keep on wanting everybody to be in, I think the three years would again pass and we don’t have an IPMR yet,” Molintas said. 
An IP representation to the local council is mandated by National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Administrative Order 2021-01, which amended NCIP AO 2018-03 or the Revised National Guidelines for the Mandatory Representation of Indigenous Peoples in Local Councils and Policy-making Bodies. The term of office of an IPMR is three years.
Molintas said other IPs could join the advisory councils of the various agencies such as the board of directors of Baguio Water District and Benguet Electric Cooperative.  
Section 16 of the IPRA states, “The State shall ensure that the ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other local legislative councils.”
Molintas said it is the advantage of the Ibaloy Festival, especially with its tonton activity (tracing of roots) to strengthen the ties of the Ibaloys.
Also, it is high time to give the spot to the younger Ibaloys who are qualified to craft laws and be the spokesperson of the indigenous peoples to the city council.
The selection of Roger Sinot, Sr. as an IPMR to the city council in 2016 was met with complaints resulting in the filing of a disqualification case against him. The case is pending in court.
Sinot Sr., who took his oath in 2018, never assumed as an IPMR when the court issued an injunction order preventing him from sitting as ex-officio member of the city council. 
The DILG earlier ordered all local government units to follow the law that guarantees a seat for indigenous peoples from the provincial legislative councils down to the barangay level. – Ofelia C. Empian