Tribe pushes own rep to Davao City’s council

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 Feb) – The Klata/Guiangan tribe has endorsed its own representative to the city council as the indigenous people’s mandatory representative (IPMR), absent a Kagan IPMR chosen by the tribal elders.

The city council on Tuesday approved on first reading the request of the officers and members of the Davao City Federation of Bagobo Klata/Guiangan tribal councils, Inc. to allow lawyer Dennis Ampon to represent them “as an alternative to the present circumstances,” according to a copy of the agenda for its regular session.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples has been given a deadline of February 20 to install Halila Sudagar as the Kagan IPMR.

Sudagar has been facing the disapproval of Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, who said Sudagar, who had already served as a councilor representing the youth sector in the city, “already had her chance.”

According to majority floor leader Bernard Al-ag, the council will be installing Sudagar to the seat if no one files a complaint at the NCIP on or before February 20, based on the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and the Department of Interior and Local Government guidelines.

Sudagar was chosen by the Kagan council of elders in two sessions held at the Davao City Sports Center in January.

Earlier, committee on human rights chair Karlo Bello said the council was considering reinstating former IP representative Berino Mambo-o at a holdover capacity until the council decides on Sudagar’s fate.

Mambo-o ended his term last month as the first IP representative from among 10 indigenous groups.

In an interesting note, the joint resolution of the tribal deputy mayors that recommends Mambo-o’s reinstatement was also passed on first reading at this week’s session.

Both items at first reading were consolidated and assigned to the committee on human rights, Al-ag said.

“We will have to wait until February 20,” Al-ag said.

According to Kagan tribal customs, only members of the Baragwa or Council of Elders can cast their vote for the IPMR.

Sudagar, the only female candidate from the Kagan tribe, garnered 147 votes out of 373 voting members of the tribe’s Council of Elders, besting five other candidates: former barangay captain Lito Lapitan (50 votes), Macabayao Apadan (97 votes), Janor Balo (2 votes), Joel Bustamante (28 votes), Larry Cabaguio (49 votes).

The 22-year-old Sudagar was the Sangguniang Kabataan representative at the city council from 2007 to 2010.