AC celebrates IP Day

AC celebrates IP Day

To commemorate Indigenous Peoples (IP) Day, members of various Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICC) and local leaders led by Governor Carlos M. Padilla converged on October 14, 2022 at the gymnasium of the Alfonso Castañeda National High School (ACNHS) located in the southernmost town of Nueva Vizcaya.

In her State of the Municipality Address (SOMA), Bugkalot Chieftain Anabel L. Flores, Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) to the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Alfonso Castañeda, presented her major accomplishments as ex officio SB member, which include the implementation of various health and education projects, and the improvement and opening of access roads in far-flung communities through the earnest coordination of her office with concerned agencies.

She lauded the Municipal Government for funding her legislative position, which she said had helped much in catalyzing more programs, projects, and activities that advanced the interests and welfare of her fellow IPs.

She also expressed her appreciation and gratitude for the support of the provincial and municipal governments to their stand vis-à-vis the management and operations of the mammoth Casecnan Dam in their ancestral domain, and funding of their Watershed Management efforts.

The other municipal government officials then present, led by Vice Mayor Evelinda DP. Huerta and Municipal Administrator Elizaldy T. Rios who represented Mayor Wilson M. Capia-ao, were all one in calling for the regular celebration of IP Day in the LGU, as they also signified their intent to fully and continually support their constituent IP/ICC through appropriate legislative and executive interventions that focus on their four (4) bundles of rights guaranteed under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).

They challenged the ICC leaders and elders to be at the forefront and take up the cudgels for the preservation and promotion of their rich cultural heritage.

The message of Governor Padilla, who graced the occasion as its guest speaker and administered the Oath of the Bugkalot Ancestral Domain officers, revolved around the significance of the IP/ICC event and a brief narration of the history of the municipality and its people.

Governor Padilla, who authored about 45 high schools in the province, including the host educational institution, ACNHS, said that although the area used to be primarily inhabited in the distant past by the Bugkalots, it has now become a place of an amalgam of several ethnolinguistic groups, which explains the presence in the day’s celebration of members of at least 10 different ICC.

In that regard and citing the extant Casecnan Dam controversy that is troubling the IP/ICC in the place, he stressed the need for sobriety, solidarity, and unity of action in advancing their shared goals and concerns, citing the proverbial Pilipino saying, “Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay sakit ng buong katawan”.

He ended by saying, “Ikaw man ay IP, Ilokano, o Tagalog, sama-sama at magkaisa tayo. Iisa lang ang ating bayan, iisa lang ang ating probinsya, at iisa lang ang ating bansa. Lahat tayo ay Pilipino at mga anak ng ating panginoon”.

The municipal celebration embraced the theme, “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge”, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for this year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. It “takes cognizance of the centuries-old marginalization and different vulnerabilities which expose IPs, especially Indigenous women, and the intersecting levels of discrimination that they suffer on the basis of gender, class, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status despite the crucial roles they are taking as breadwinners, caretakers, knowledge keepers, leaders, and human rights defenders”.

Mandated by the UNGA to be observed on August 9 every year, “This international event marks the day of the first meeting in 1982 of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations. It aims to advance the rights of the world’s IP/ICC, and to recognize their achievements and contributions to world issues and concerns, such as environmental protection.”

The UNGA has also declared the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages “to draw attention to the critical status of many Indigenous languages across the world and encourage action for their preservation, revitalization, and promotion”.

Incidentally, Nueva Vizcaya’s first and only Bantáyog-Wika that pays tribute to the language and culture of the Gaddang ethnolinguistic group was unveiled by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) only last February 21 at the former Provincial Capitol in Bayombong. The Bantáyog-Wika project of the KWF, in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), monumentalizes the native languages of the Philippines through physical structures that symbolize the value of indigenous languages as a treasure trove of indigenous knowledge, values, practices, traditions, and history of the Pilipinos. It honors a great national heritage that plays an important role in the formation and strengthening of national identity, and aims to inflame the Pilipinos’ patronage and appreciation of the wealth embedded in their native languages and cultures.

The Philippines celebrates IP Month (i.e., October) annually by virtue of Proclamation No. 1906-s2009, which also mandates the commemoration of the signing of the IPRA on October 29, 1997. The enactment of this law made the Philippines the first country in Asia to give recognition to the plight of IP/ICC through legislation.

Celebrations and monuments indeed serve as powerful advocacy tools to educate the public on issues of concern, mobilize political will and resources to address local and global problems, and celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity at large. (Ref:

VIDEOS and more PHOTOS here:

  1. GCMP delivering his inspirational message…
  2. Grand Solidarity March…
  3. Tribesmen playing their traditional tug-of-war game…
  4. Bugkalot tribal chieftains doing their “Padong” (war dance ritual)…
  5. Dumagat ethnolinguistic group members singing their native song…
  6. Government officials and Indigenous peoples dance to the tune of “Sissiwit”…
  7. AC celebrates IP Day…
  8. ICC leaders confer with GCMP…
  9. PNP, IP leaders address dam issues…

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