April 16, 2024

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Cordillera initiated a project that seeks to set guidelines on the use of Cordillera indigenous cultural attire.

NCIP-Cordillera Technical Management and Services Division Chief Michael Umaming said the project aims to contextualize sensitivity on the misuse of cultural attire, and dispel misinformation or disinformation about Igorots.

“One of the triggers of this project was the discussions on attire that went viral sometime last year – “The Man of the World” pageant, and the women in a bahag during a theatrical performance. Any misuse of attire is a sensitive matter as far as Cordillera people are concerned,” Umaming said during the recent meeting of the Committee on Indigenous Peoples Concerns (CIPC).

Umaming said the project aims to come up with images or narratives of how the attire of the different Cordillera indigenous peoples groups are used, and disseminate this through social media. He said they already conducted a workshop on how Cordillera cultural attire are worn. They have also done the demo or picture taking on how these are used, and the narratives of the photographs. The validation and posting on social media are expected to be completed in June 2024.

It also aims to encourage ancestral domain-level discussions that would come up with policies to regulate the use of attire, particularly in beauty pageants, pose-for-pay, festivals, and performing groups.

The project team will formulate points for discussion for IP mandatory representatives (IPMR), conduct group discussions for the possible passage of resolutions at the municipal or regional levels, and enrich images of narratives on how cultural attire are  worn. The target completion date is December 2024.

“We encourage ancestral domain level discussions for policy recommendations particularly on beauty pageants.”

The project’s goal is also to come up with brochures or books on the proper use of attire by the different IP groups. They target to complete this in the first quarter of 2025 once everything is finalized and validated.

NCIP-Cordillera Director Roland Calde said after the consultations with the IPMRs and local government units, they will also seek the assistance of state universities and colleges, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The NCIP plans to engage with LGUs for them to come up with ordinances setting guidelines on the use of indigenous attire. “We want to engage with our LGUs to come up with an ordinance limiting or allowing the use of those specific attire to be used on several occasions,” Calde said.

The CIPC expressed support for the project, subject to some recommendations and input from the committee members. – Debbie E. Gasingan