A representative of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the Ilocos Norte Provincial Board is optimistic about the appointments of IP representatives at the municipal and village levels before the end of 2023.
Cheryll B. Tabangay, the first IP Board Member in the Ilocos Norte Sangguninang Panlalawigan, in an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Friday, said installation of the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) in most of Ilocos Region has yet to be realized since they have to convene first the consensus of the IPs through demographic profiling and finalize the election guidelines in consultation with tribal leaders.
She said this will be done partly during the celebration of this year’s IP month and the 26th year anniversary of the signing into law of the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997.
On Friday, thousands of IPs from the region gathered in Nueva Era, Ilocos Norte for the start of the two-day anniversary celebration that includes a symposium on Saturday.
“Part of the symposium also includes discussion on the installation of IP representatives in the local government and the village council to push for legislations advancing the rights and welfare of the IPs,” she said.
Last January, Ilocos Norte welcomed the installation of Tabangay as the first IPMR to the Provincial Board.
According to the National Indigenous Peoples Commission, the selection of IPMR representatives in the provincial, municipal and village levels lies in the hands of IPs themselves as they have to formulate the guidelines.
As suggested in the local guidelines, the nominees must be a bonafide member of the IP community, knows how to speak the dialect of the IP he/she represents, a law-abiding citizen, have no political party affiliation, and not a relative of any incumbent elected official up to the second degree of affinity.
Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc, in his speech during the event, expressed his gratitude to the IPs for their significant contribution to the preservation of culture and economic development of the province.
“Despite our differences, we are so proud to call you our brothers and sisters and our kailian (Ilocano word for compatriot). I know you make our province so much better. You enrich us and contribute greatly to our culture, our heritage and our identity,” he said.
The two-day regional summit also showcased the IP culture and indigenous dances and sports along with the delivery of basic services.
As host to this year’s event, Nueva Era town mayor Aldrin Garvida called on his constituents to show their solidarity in ensuring that all the delegates enjoy their stay. (Leilanie Adriano)
(Source: Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte)