BAGUIO CITY – Indigenous Peoples in the city, mainly the Ibaloys, deserve government’s admission of its errors unto them through the years, a Baguio City local legislator in a privilege speech Monday during the Baguio City council’s regular session said. Stressing that the national laws had been continuously
discriminating against ancestral land owners and the City Government itself had been profiting by selling their lands, Baguio Councilor Jose Mencio Molintas, himself an Ibaloy, appealed that the city government to issue a formal apology to the Baguio IPs.

He said that such should be done in a fitting occassion like August 9, 2023 or the International Day of the World IPs. Molintas, who had become also a United Nation’s Expert on Indigenous Peoples, lamented
that the representative of Baguio City despite the passage of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in
1997 did not fight for the respect of ancestral lands or native titles.

IPRA was passed, supposedly guarding and protecting the rights of the IPs on their lands and domains.
But Molintas said past and present district representatives were ironically for the exclusion of Baguio from IPRA. He also claimed that since Baguio was chartered in 1909, the government was already selling Ibaloy lands through Townsite Sales Application (TSA), Commercial Sales Application (CSA) and Miscellaneous Sales Application (MSA). “In short, Baguio had been making money out of the ancestral lands.”

Molintas also said that the IPRA provided for the appointment of an Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) in all levels of policy making but to date, Baguio City had none. He said some past officials in fact encouraged infighting among the Ibaloy themselves and they even wrongly declared that there is no need to have one in the council.

He also bemoaned that despite the presence of a Council Ordinance for the institutionalization of every 9th day of August of ever year International Day of the World’s IPs in the City of Baguio, there was actually no celebration ever made because there was no committee created and no funds allocated for such.

Molintas urged that aside from the formal apology to the IPs, there should be a creation for the August 9
celebration of the International Day of the World’s IPs and there should be IPs that will seat in the said
committee. He also urged Baguio lawmaker Mark Go propose to the House of Representatives to consider recommending to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to issue a public apology to the IPs of the Philippines who lost their lands due to discriminatory laws.

Artemio A. Dumlao/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon