June 24, 2024

The absence of an indigenous peoples’ representative (IPMR) to the city council is preventing Baguio City from qualifying for the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), an award and incentive program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
This is why the city council was asked to create a committee to tackle IP concerns, a move seen to increase the city government’s chances of being conferred the SGLG award.
Antonette Anaban, the city government’s focal person for the SGLG, told members of the city council last week there is a need to create a committee on IP concerns in the meantime that there is no IPMR sitting in the city council.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier wrote the council to create the committee, which can be chaired by any of the members.
Anaban said a review of the documents to determine why Baguio has not been qualifying for the SGLG, which was institutionalized in 2019 showed the city failed in the social protection and sensitivity governance criteria, under which the installation of an IPMR falls.
She said the creation of committee on IP concerns will address the gap in the meantime that an IPMR is yet to be installed at the city council.
Under the social protection and sensitivity criteria, a local government must have an IPMR seated at the local council, receiving compensation and benefits, and attending the sessions of the local legislative body.
The city council is working on the creation of the committee, including defining the exact functions that it will take on.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said there is a need to define the specific functions of the committee so it will not overlap with the functions of the existing committees that are already handling matters relating to the IPs.
Tabanda said the city council has not been negligent in addressing the concerns of IPs in the city and there are various committees that are handling their concerns.
Anaban said while there are committees handling various IP concerns at the city council, the SGLG explicitly requires there must be an IPMR and since the city does not have one, a committee specifically identified for IP concerns will suffice in the meantime.
She said the installation of an IPMR will take time, since the creation of an office for one would need funds.
Aside from the absence of an IPMR, Baguio is also struggling to meet the criteria on financial administration or the low use of its development funds, disaster preparedness for the low use of the 70 percent Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, sustainable education, and safety and peace and order. – Jane B. Cadalig