DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Bagobo Klata/Guiangan Tribal Councils recently named a new Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) to sit in the upcoming 19th Council of the city government of Davao.
Members of the tribal councils announced that Datu Demetrio Bolo would be the new IPMR of Davao City for the 19th Council
In an interview, National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Provincial Officer Cristito Ingay told Davao Today that Talaukoms (elders) chose Bolo to represent their tribe in the city council.
The IPMR in Davao City is still represented by Councilor Halila Sudagar after the pending petition filed by Cherry Ann Ortiz-Codilla.
Ingay said they are now finishing all the needed documents before they will report it to the regional office for evaluation and eventually the release of Bolo’s Certificate of Affirmation (CoA) before he can sit in the council this coming June.
“Once the documentation will be completed, we will endorse it to the regional office. So hopefully as soon as possible a new representative will soon be representing the minorities of Davao City,” Ingay said.
On Codilla’s appeal
It was in June last year that the NCIP refused to release the CoA for Codilla’s seat due to lack of mandatory genealogical qualification.
NCIP’s findings to Codilla’s evaluation indicated that she has non-indigenous blood of 75 percent and did not pass the requirement.
She also failed to have a five-year track record to show any active engagement with the indigenous communities expect that she was included as a member of the Talaukoms before she ran for IPMR.
Codilla then filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to contest the decision of the NCIP XI on her disqualification.
In a statement released this month by the City Government of Davao, the local government unit has already abstained from the second selection process due to the pending court appeal of Cordilla.
NCIP-11 regional director Atty. Geroncio Aguio clarified that the selection process can push through despite Codilla’s appeal unless the court will issue an Injunction Order.
Aguio said his office did not receive any order from the court before the second selection process took place.
“Even during a normal election, if there’s no Injunction Order we can still proceed especially if the there’s a confirmation from the Comelec (Commission on Elections). So the next IPMR can sit after its evaluation and confirmation,” Aguio said.
Meanwhile, Davao Today tried to reach Codilla through her phone number yet she does not reply in communication for her side.
Challenge for the IPMR
Outgoing IPMR Councilor Halila Sudagar expressed hopes the next representative will embody as the “true voice” of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and the Moro people of Davao City.
Sudagar served as IPMR for more than three years after the NCIP released its hold-over decision that allowed her to continue representation at the City Council.
As the IPMR, she was able to pass several resolutions and ordinances all aimed for the benefit of the IPs and Moro people of the city.
Among the enacted laws is the IP Attire Ordinance that requires the mandatory conduct of cultural orientation and consultation of proper use of indigenous people’s traditional attire in parades, gatherings, and other public exhibits.
Another milestone during Sudagar’s term is the enactment of the Halal Lane Ordinance that mandates the segregation of halal food from non-halal food in markets for the protection and respect of religious beliefs, customs, and traditions of the Muslim communities in the city.
Sudagar, as the city’s IPMR also received numerous awards, recognition, and citations during her term.
“There are a lot of things that the next representation should do for the people. What’s important is that he should constantly and regularly do consultations to ask for feedback and help,” Sudagar said when asked for the priorities that the upcoming IPMR should look into in the 19th Council.
Sudagar also ran as councilor during the May 13 midterm polls but lost. (davaotoday.com)