June 21, 2024

The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) was passed to protect indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities such as the Ibaloys, who are the original settlers of the old Baguio called Kafagway.
But based on what is happening now, IPs are still marginalized such as the case of Baguio where the Ibaloys continue to be sidelined and suffer injustice in line with the full recognition of their valid ancestral land claims.
Even as settlers increased in the city, IP communities have remained such as in Barangay Happy Hallow.
Section 78 of the IPRA states that Baguio shall remain to be governed by its charter and all lands proclaimed as part of its townsite reservation shall remain as such until otherwise reclassified by appropriate legislation: Provided, That prior land rights and titles recognized and/or acquired through any judicial, administrative or other processes before the effectivity of this Act shall remain valid: Provided, further, That this provision shall not apply to any territory which becomes part of the City of Baguio after the effectivity of this Act.”
It has been established that Happy Hallow barangay is not within the Baguio City townsite. The boundaries were determined and identified by the Department of Natural Resources. It is not also a part of Camp John Hay because the Americans released the said area in 1970. Documents concerning this are available.
Concerned authorities should honor IP rights especially over their ancestral lands. They must respect the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title of Happy Hallow. If they do otherwise, they are going against the law. — ROSE MARIE C. SISON, Baguio City