Organized by the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples provincial office headed by Genesis Quiblado as a culminating activity of the National IP Month in October with the theme “Vital Wisdoms: Learning with the Indigenous Peoples,” the IPMRs discussed their advocacies and plans for their areas.
The IPMRs tackled their plans in preserving their rich heritage, culture and traditions. Abra’s mother tribe is Tigguian and it is composed of 11 sub-tribes namely Adasen, Binongan, Belwang, Muyadan, Mabaca, Inlaod, Maeng, Masadiit, Balatoc, Gobang and Banao. Each tribe has its own beliefs and rituals with only slight variations from other fellow Tingguians.
They committed to lead the IPs in promoting their native dances, rituals, and songs especially during town fiestas or festivals.
Through the School of Living Tradition and Center for Culture and the Arts, the IPMRs assured their inter-generation responsibility to bolster the preservation of their culture and traditions.
Aside from preserving culture, the group also tackled peace and development. Located in the upland areas of the province, the IP communities are likely targets of insurgency.
With Executive Order No. 70 of President Rodrigo Duterte institutionalizing a “whole-of-nation” approach in combating insurgency, the IPMRs laid down their agenda in contributing to the government’s goal in fighting the communists-terrorists groups especially in areas influenced by rebels.
As reported during the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting (PPOC), three municipalities are listed as main priority concerns of the provincial government on insurgency namely Lacub, Tubo and Malibcong.
Lacub IPMR Nathaniel B. Bersamina said that he is leading the IP communities to safeguard their families especially the youth from joining any non-governmental organization that is not accredited by the PPOC. He is in favor of the deployment of more troops in the affected barangays in order to minimize or eliminate the operations and underground movements of the New People’s Army (NPAs).
As most of those being recruited by NPAs are out-of-school youth, Luba IPMR Josefa Duyao stressed the importance of education especially to IP youth. Her approach she said is to persuade OSYs to enroll in Alternative Learning System or to avail trainings offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Tubo IPMR Dizon Biernes claimed that no resident from the municipality has been recruited by the NPAs. He said that rebels roaming around the municipality come from other areas since Tubo is located in the tri-boundary of Kalinga, Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur.
However, Dizon assured that he will continue to protect the ancestral domain of Tubo against terrorist recruitment by inviting more government officers to bring their services to far flung areas of the municipality.
Provincial IPMR Romero Daoaten directed the IPMRs to further collaborate with the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police to reinforce their ties in protecting vulnerable IP communities from rebel groups. (JDP/CAGT – PIA CAR, Abra)