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Lumad first to sit in council

/ 12:57 AM July 17, 2011

KIDAPAWAN CITY—A tribal leader from the Tinananon Menuvo tribe in Arakan, North Cotabato, last week became the first lumad to sit in a local legislative body in central Mindanao.

Datu Viloso Suhat, also known as Datu Lipatuan, was sworn in as a member of the Arakan town council by Eric Raz, chief of the National Commission on  Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in North Cotabato.

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The occasion, officials said, was so important to the province’s tribal communities that tribal chieftains came in droves to witness the hour-long ceremony at the Arakan municipal hall.

North Cotabato Representative Nancy Catamco, one of the main authors of House Resolution No. 916, which calls for mandatory representation of indigenous communities in local legislative bodies, said Suhat would not be receiving a salary for the meantime because of lack of funds.

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But the Department of Interior and Local Government has already directed all local government units to appropriate funds for IP representatives to their decision-making bodies, she said.

“This is just temporary. Eventually his position as IP mandatory representative will be funded by the LGU,” Catamco said.

For Suhat, the pay does not matter.

“What is important to me is I can now bring out all IP concerns before the Sangguniang Bayan,” he said.  Carlo Agamon, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Central Mindanao, Datu Lipatuan, Datu Viloso Suhat, Indigenous people, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, North Cotabato, Tinananon Menuvo
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