Benguet indigenes take oath as provincial officers

NINE officers took their seat as leaders of the Indigenous Peoples Organization in the province.

Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso led the oathtaking on Monday following the elections on February 9.

The Benguet Ancestral Domains Indigenous Peoples Organization serves as a conglomeration of all the representatives of the ancestral domains of the province of Benguet.

"This was formed to enable to come together and make plans for the betterment of this organization and how we would be able to help them as inhabitants of the domains," Pacalso said.

As an organization, the group can come up with their own plans and represent themselves in many government offices that will be able to help our ancestral domains, the governor added.

Newly elected President Recto Alawas said they will be looking into the concerns of all the Indigenous Peoples in Benguet such as ancestral domain titles and IP mandatory representatives.

"We form ourselves for the common good of all the IPs within the domain. We intend to help and mediate and apply the practice of ‘tongtongan’," said Alawas.

The new set of officers include Pancho Esnara (vice president), Thaddues Bernardo (secretary), Gary Batanes (assistant secretary), Delia Bacate (treasurer), Andres Ligligan (auditor), Agosto Salic-o (public relations officer), Simon Guinid and Mario Morales (business managers).

They will closely work with Benguet IP mandatory representative Sario Copas, he said.

Some 39 Indigenous Peoples organization’s formed in the province with three IPO's in every munnicipality mostly comprised of tribes of Calanguyas, Ibaloy's, Kankana-eys, Carao and Iowak.

Alawas said IP's in the province are dominated by the Ibaloy's (Southern part of the province) and Kankana-eys (Northern part).

A total of 12 ancestral domain titles were already issued out of the 15 ancestral domain claims.