GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 Jan) – A prominent B’laan tribal leader formally assumed on Tuesday as the city’s new Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) to the city council.
Fulong Lucio Cawayan took over the post following the issuance of a certification from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples affirming his selection as the city’s fourth IPMR since 2014.
“He is a fine addition to the brilliant and dynamic 18th Sangguniang Panlungsod. His presence is anticipated to add more energy to the already vigorous members,” said Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles.
She said Cawayan’s selection and assumption as IMPR mainly realizes the city government’s vision to maximize the participation of the city’s IP communities in local legislation and governance.
Cawayan took his oath of office before city officials late last month after being chosen by fellow tribal leaders to replace the late IPMR Fulong Benjamin Talon, who died May last year after barely three months in office.
The city’s first two IPMRs – Fulongs Mario Empal and Juanito Kindat – died in office due to heart-related ailments.
Before being chosen for the post, Cawayan served as the tribal chieftain of Barangay Batomelong and a member of the city’s tribal council.
In a privilege speech, he vowed to pursue more opportunities for their tribe to participate in various aspects of local governance.
He said he will use his post as a platform to establish genuine leadership for the city’s tribal communities.
Cawayan said he will continue the programs and projects started by the previous IPMRs, among them the establishment of a tribal or Kasfala hall.
He said his office will pursue the long-delayed census of B’laan residents in the city’s 14 barangays.
“We will also expand the scholarship programs and seek more livelihood opportunities for our poor tribal residents,” Cawayan added. (MindaNews)