Michael Umaming of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP – CAR) outlined during the Dagyaw 2020: Open Government Virtual Townhall meeting on Thursday, that values and indigenous practices that have been passed through generations proved the Cordillerans’ strong sense of unity and caring for each other especially in times of calamities or emergencies.
Umaming shared that the spirit of “Bayanihan” or “Binnadang” in local dialect is also inherent in Cordillera culture, as well as the respect and strict adherence to the “elders”, which occupy a special place or role in Cordillera society.
There are also indigenous traits, values and practices in Cordillera that have been helpful in this trying time, among of which are the ”Inayan” (being righteous and having good conscience) and Laya that defines the customary things that one should not do in a community.
There are also rituals such as “Obaya” or “Tengao”, where community leaders or elders call for respite from continuous work or a localized lockdown during occurrence of emergency or calamity, as well as to ward off illnesses or disease, he added.
Ignacio Pangket, executive assistant of Sadanga, Mountain Province Mayor Gabino Ganggangan, in sharing the town’s good practices highlighted their indigenous cultural practices as the main driver of community resiliency and their being COVID – free. The municipality of Sadanga along with Barlig are the only two towns of the province that remain COVID- free to date.
Pangket shared that through the leadership of Ganggangan, the municipality implemented an interface of government and cultural mechanisms to address the effect of the pandemic.
Sadanga has a traditional practice called ‘Far-in’ where community leaders or elders call for respite from work and no visitors are allowed to enter the community for some days during occurrence of emergency or calamity as well as to ward off illnesses or disease.
During the enhanced community quarantine, the mayor issued an executive order for an extended far in where people are required to stay home and for strict regulation on the movement of people coming out and going in the municipality, Pangket shared.
To ensure food sufficiency, they also have the “Shapah” wherein the Kadangyan or rich families in the municipality have the obligation to take care or share resources to their relatives who are in need.
Aside from NCIP and Sadanga LGU, the City Government of Baguio represented by City Planning chief Arch. Donna Tabangin also shared Baguio’s best practices in coping with the COVID pandemic.
DILG also gave an orientation on their “Disiplina Muna” campaign while DOH – CAR provided an update on COVID – 19 situation in Cordillera. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)
By Carlito C. Dar