Issue of November 3, 2019
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NCIP pushes for enhanced documentation of IP customs
by Ofelia C. Empian

INDIGENOUS PRAYER -- A mambunong (spiritual priest) signals the start of the observance of the 22nd passing into law of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act led by National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Benguet Officer-in-Charge Harriet Abyadang and NCIP Commissioner for Region I and Cordillera Gaspar Cayat and local officials last Oct. 29 at the Benguet Capitol after offering a prayer to Kabunian. Cayat called on proper documentation of the rich traditions in the region. -- Ofelia Empian

To further strengthen the culture and tradition of various indigenous cultural communities, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples has mandated its personnel to properly document these remaining traditions.

NCIP Commissioner for Region 1 and Cordillera Gaspar Cayat said proper documentation is needed in order to maintain the identity of each indigenous communities.

During Benguet province’s observance of the 22nd year since the passing into law of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, Cayat cited the importance of identifying the proper color combinations when it comes to the native attire of each ethnolinguistic groups of the Cordillera.

Cayat said each color must be properly represented as it embodies the identity of each indigenous communities, adding the identification of colors must be properly documented as it represents different meanings and symbols.

“The NCIP is pushing for that and we are going to work closely with National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Department of Education particularly on their Indigenous Peoples Education program and the local government units for us to properly document the color combinations of each IP group,” Cayat said.

He said it will now be up to the LGUs to adopt ordinances that will make sure that the community will observe the proper usage of their own native attires and include penal provisions as well. 

The commissioner said each NCIP personnel were also instructed to monitor the proper way of using the indigenous attires.

Halimbawa, the g-string or bahag, you cannot just use it for decoration because that is bahag. So may mga proper uses and use of these attires of the indigenous peoples,” he said. 
He added the documentation will not only be limited to cultural attires but also include other indigenous knowledge systems and practices.

“Documentation covers the customs and traditions akma din doon sa documentation ng indigenous political structures, ito iyong documentation ng tongtong system, tabtabal system, iyong mga existing institutions po natin sa mga communities,” he said.

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