July 14, 2024

The city council has invited an official of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to one of its sessions to explain his “rebuke” not to use the word “Igorot” claiming it is associated with the communist movement.
In a resolution approved by the city council on March 20, Councilors Arthur Allad-iw, Jose Molintas, Peter Fianza, Isabelo Cosalan Jr., Fred Bagbagen, and Maximo Edwin Jr. called on NCIP Commissioner Gaspar Cayat to explain a statement made during a public event in 2021 where he said:
“I want to check the impression that in the Cordillera we are called ‘Igorot’. That is a misnomer. Igorot, to Spaniards, simply means savage, backward and uncivilized people. It is not included in the 101 number of indigenous peoples. Just like in Mindanao, we do not have ‘Lumad’. Lumad is a Visayan term referring to a native of a certain place. Again, it is not included in the 101 number of indigenous peoples in our country. Also, in Visayas, they are using this ‘Tumandok’, a word of collective group of people referring to the people in Visayas. But again, it is not included in the 101 number of indigenous peoples. I want to caution or refrain you ladies and gentlemen that these words: “Igorot”, “Lumad” and “Tumandok”, are the very words being used by the CPP-NPA-NDF or the communist terrorist groups,” (CTG) were the words of Cayat.
The councilors said the statement was circulated throughout the social media where it met numerous negative comments and the same has irked indigenous peoples not only those from Baguio but also those who trace their roots to the Cordillera.
They said aside from the resulting confusion, Cayat’s public pronouncement created a “chilling effect” among the IPs in Cordillera, particularly those using the word Igorot, as possible members of the CTGs.
They said in truth and fact, the word “Igorot” as defined and explained by W.H. Scott, one of the country’s irrefutable historians, in his renowned book “The Discovery of the Igorots”, Igorot is a general term used to refer to people from the Cordilleras including the IP groups Isneg, Kalinga, Bontok, Ayangan, Tuwali, Kalanguya, Kankana-ey, Iwak, Karao, Tinguian or Itneg, Balangao and Ibaloy.
These groups have one thing in common which is historically, they have resisted assimilation into the Spanish Empire, the councilors said.
“In the interest of fairness, the City of Baguio, through the sangguniang panlungsod, moved to invite Gaspar Cayat, to answer whether his pronouncement was the official statement of the NCIP and to further elucidate the statement for the information of the sanggunian in aid of legislation,” the councilors stated in the resolution. – Hanna C. Lacsamana