DAVAO CITY – The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples has been blamed for the failure of the Kagan tribe to present an acceptable representative to the City Council, an NCIP executive said.

This was admitted by Attorney Jose Dumagan, Jr, the NCIP regional hearing officer here when he updated the City Council on the matter.

Dumagan read the NCIP’s memorandum that said it found out that “the matter of selection (secret balloting)…was not done in accordance with the local guidelines of the Kagan tribe”.

The election of Halila Sudagar as the tribal representative to the City Council was turned down by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who said he preferred somebody else to give others a chance to sit in the council.

Sudagar was then the president of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation when she sat down as the representative of the youths here.

Among those who field questions on Dumagan was Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang who said that “I think the failure of the election (was) brought about by no less than the NCIP, correct?”

In which Dumagan answered: “Yes, sir.”

Dayanghirang rephrased the question: “It was the NCIP who made the problem because there are guidelines yet it was not followed?”

Dumagan again replied: “Yes, sir.”

Dayanghirang said he was referring to the election of Sudagar by secret balloting, conducted by the city office of the NCIP on January 21 after being delayed by a week.

During the election, a total of 382 Kagans attended and only 373 casted their votes (District 1-127 voters, District 2-191 voters, District 3-64 voters). Two ballots were declared invalid.

Sudagar got 147 votes, former Waan Barangay Captain Macapayao Apadan got 97, former Tigatto Barangay Captain Lito Lapitan got 50 votes, Datu Larry Cabaguio of Barangay Talomo got 47 votes, Joel Bustamante got 28 votes and Janor  Balo got two votes.

The provincial officer of the NCIP and City Administrator Melchor V. Quitain raised Sudagar’s hands.

However, Dumagan said the NCIP regional director issued a memorandum after the office’s focal person on the mandated IP representative evaluated the documents on the whole selection process that were endorsed by the Davao City NCIP Office to the regional office on February 16. The documents show Sugadar as the winner.

Dumagan said the NCIP regional office found that there was no copy of the voter’s ID or any record to prove that Sudagar was a registered voter. An NCIP guideline requires that a mandated tribal representative must be a registered voter.

The NCIP said that there was no proof that Sudagar was an acknowledged leader of the Kagan Tribe and there was no certification from the NCIP provincial officer on her track record.

It added that the local guidelines attached to the documentation has no signature and that the selection was done through secret balloting, which a Kagan guideline required that members of the Baraguwas or the Council of the 37 respective Jemaah territories would be the ones to hold an exclusive caucus witnessed by the Kagan community and the public.

Dumagan said that the members of the Baraguwas “will agree through a consensus as to who shall be their IPMR (or IP mandate representative) to the Sangguniang Panglunsod here, after reaching a consensus.”

A designated datu would publicly make the official announcement on who was selected.

Dumagan also said that a letter, intended to be a petition, was submitted by the United Royal House of Kagan, Datu of Davao, Inc, to the regional office of their opposition to the inclusion of Sudagar.

“It’s going to be your office that should initiate the necessary steps that a permanent qualified representative is elected to the council,” Dayanghirang told Dumagan.(davaotoday.com)

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