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IP rep warms up to new job, to serve all IPs not just Ibaloys

BACKLE DOWN TO WORK for newly installed Indigenous People Mandatory Representative Maximo Edwin Jr., middle with cowboy hat, seen here with fellow Ibaloys during Ibaloy Day last Thursday. Neil Clark Ongchangco

With the 14th Ibaloy Day finished, Indigenous People Mandatory Representative Maximo H. Edwin, Jr. looks forward to undertake an IP mapping per barangay despite the zero funding of his newly created office.

“That is the problem, my office has no funds and I have 10 months to wait for my office to have its funding,” said the Saint Louis Laboratory School and Baguio Colleges Foundation/University of the Cordilleras product.

But help is on the way for the Onjon ni Ivadoy president as his fellow Ibaloys in the City Council are ready to help, even in funding the mapping he needs to identify not just Ibaloys, but also other members of the Cordillera IPs residing in the city.

He is referring to councilors Jose Molintas, Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. and Peter Fianza, who are willing to share their office’s budget to help his planned efforts.

“And there is the fifth Ibaloy,” said the Guisad raised Edwin, whose mother is from Sablan, referring to councilor Art Alad-iw.

“He calls him as such, so I will take advantage,” he said with a smile.

Edwin is hoping that his office could finalize the mapping this year as they buckle down to work and provide what the IPs, not just the Ibaloys, need including land problems.

As the IPMR, Edwin is automatically the IP Committee chair that will tackle concerns, issues and problems of the IP community.

And one of the biggest problem is land where many of IP people, including his fellow Ibaloys, are considered squatters,

“That is why I need to buckle down and work not just for my fellow Ibaloys but also those from other IP groups,” he said.

That is why he wants to become a member of the committee on lands headed by councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr. as he could contribute in settling land issues.

“I ust need to be part of it,” he said as he also seeks membership in the committee on education and culture, chaired by councilor Vladimir Cayabas.

“Culture, ours and that of the other IPs that I need to give my input,” added Edwin who finished his second meeting with the City Council last Monday.

“I still need to adjust,” he added.

Edwin joined the city council on February 13, a pre-valentines day that was colorful with a lady councilor lovingly hugged a bouquet of flowers she saw lying on her desk just before the session started and a regular attendee getting persona non-grata before the session ended.

It took six years for an IP representative to sit at the city council after the first was rejected and never got a chance to assume office. Roger Sinot was barred from assuming office when he was named the IPMR in 2017 thanks to the complaints of then mayor Mauricio Domogan and another Ibaloy which a local court found to have merits.

Edwin was jittery on his first day and took him time to steady his nerves. “Kabado (jittery),” said chief of staff Beauregard Carantes, a member of the famed Ibaloy band Bag-iw, the moss where the city got its name, who was with his boss at the entrance to the city council in front of the legislative offices.

Edwin was sworn in by National Commission on Indigenous People chairman Allen Capuyan early this month and on February 3 by mayor Benjamin Magalong. Pigeon Lobien

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