BUTUAN CITY – 8/29/19

Manobo elders during the discussion proper

Prompted by Regional Director Francis Cesar Bringas’ plan to incorporate Manobo arts and designs in the official uniform of regional employees, Dr. Isidro M. Biol, Jr., CLMD chief, with the assistance of Regional IPEd Coordinator Mrs. Elizabeth M. Ysulan, called for a consultative meeting with Manobo elders on August 28, 2019 at RNEAP-Caraga, Butuan City.

According to Dr. Biol, the regional office acknowledged the sacrosanct significance the Manobo communities have ascribed to such designs and that the meeting aimed to formally ask permission from them in regard to RD Bringas’ plan.

Samuel B. Behing aka “Datu Lumad” from Padiay, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, affirmed that indigenous arts are part of their intellectual property rights and such may not be used indiscriminately. He quickly commended the regional office’s show of respect and initiative for being the first government agency to do so.

Similarly, Elder Tannie I. Quillano of Carmen, Surigao del Sur expressed the same sentiment as he urged the body to come up with a mechanism on how to expedite the process of granting permission considering that their respective local communities also need to be consulted on the matter.

According to Ysulan, the consultation meeting was in line with the “Free and Prior Informed Consent” (FPIC) adopted by the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 as a means of giving indigenous peoples an active participation in matters that affect them. She added that DepEd Order 51, s. 2014 emphasized that the use of materials involving aspects of indigenous cultures requires permission from the IP communities, although its implementing processes and regulations are yet to be crafted and formally approved by a proper body.

Moreover, due to the urgency of the request and the goodwill of the regional office, the 11 elders nonetheless agreed in principle to grant the permission pending the consent of their respective local communities.

Ysulan expected that following the communities’ final approval on or before September 18, the body would come up with specific steps to process similar requests in the future. She also hoped that such a mechanism would serve as a model for all regions with IP communities.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was represented by Dr. Randy D. Rosas who provided insights during the discussion presided by elder Bae Lingganay Helen G. Pojaras.

The rest of the participants were: Datu Makalipay Ireneo Rico and Bae Lucy Luciana P. Rico of San Toribio, Ezperanza, Agusan del Sur; Datu Katipunan Catalino Unlad and Datu Makatunaw Alberto Kusong of Bayugan City; Datu Alipayon Jose Pendon of La Paz, Agusan del Sur; Javier S. Abasolo of Liangga, Surigao del Sur and Bae Nene Leonida Caples Rebollo of Cabadbaran City.

END

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