February 1, 2023

An open letter to the NCIP commissioner for CAR

As an Igorot, I was shocked by the statement of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Commissioner for Cordillera Gaspar Cayat during an event in Baguio.
At the launching of three coffee table books published by NCIP and photo exhibit during the Indigenous Peoples Month celebration at SM City Baguio recently, the commissioner mentioned the following in his welcome remarks:
“I want to check the impression that in CAR, we are called Igorot. That is a misnomer. Igorot to the Spaniards means savage, backward, and uncivilized people. Just like in Mindanao, we do not have Lumad, we also do not have Tumandok in the Visayas. I would like to caution you that these very words, Igorot, Lumad, and Tumandok, are the very words being used by the CPP/NPA/NDF or the communist terrorist group.”
Recently, the NCIP commission en banc has issued a resolution banning the use of the word Lumad (https://mindanews.com/top-stories/2021/03/the-ip-struggle-continues-as-ncip-red-tags-and-bans-use-of-lumd-the-collective-word-for-mindanao-ips-since-the-late-1970s/) as they are accordingly an invitation of the CPP/NPA/NDF.
I wonder if Tumandok and Igorot will soon be banned, too.
Meantime, I dare Commissioner Cayat: Will he correct the misinformation about the Igorot people that started during the Spanish colonization, or will he add more insult to my people’s identity? — PETER WALES, Baguio City

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