Monday, September 2, 2013

Kalinga inter-agency body adopts ‘Call of a Thousand Gongs’ for Ullalim 2014

TABUK CITY, Kalinga (PIA) - The celebration of the Kalinga’s 19th founding anniversary and Ullalim Festival in February next year may be highlighted with the simultaneous playing of a thousand gongs.

Said proposal, which was adopted in a resolution by the Kapehan sa Kapitolyo body composed of the various provincial government department and national line agency heads, was presented by a civil society group headed by Dr. Amelia Miranda. It aims to put the name of the province in the world map through their unique and beautiful gong playing.

Miranda, who is also known for being an advocate of culture, said the proposed project is called “Awong di gangsa” or “The call of a thousand gong” proposal.

As a cultural community, the people of Kalinga find pride in their gongs which are only played during special occasions, festivities and celebrations. She said that the Kalingas have complete sets of gongs unlike the other cultural communities in the country. Governor Jocel Baac called on the group and the concerned members of the body to look into the mechanics and proper preparations of the event. This he said could also be conceptualized as a possible attempt for a Guinness World Record for the province. **Geraldine G. Dumallig/Guru Press – Aug. 5, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kalinga prepares for its anniversary

Tabuk City – As one of his first official actions on the first day of office of 2013, Governor Jocel C. Baac signed the first Order which signals a busy month for the Kalinga provincial government in preparing for the celebration of its anniversary on February 14-17.

Gov. Baac issued Executive Order No. 2013-01 last January 2 mandating a multi-sectoral “observance and participation to the 18th anniversary of the province of Kalinga and the celebration of the 2013 Ullalim Festival”.

It is expected that the various committees created under this Order will begin a loop of meetings and planning workshops in order to come up immediately a proposed line-up of activities and the corresponding budget. As stated indisputably in the Order, “Kalinga Shines”, which is the mantra of the present dispensation, will be the theme of the celebration”, and all activities should give meaning to it.

Highlights of the anniversary celebration and Ullalim Festival will be the agro-industrial and tourism fair, cultural and tourism events, Miss Kalinga and Laga fashion show, skills fair, variety shows, municipal bands and social dances presentation, and drum and lyre competition.

It is recalled that the then Kalinga-Apayao province was subdivided into two distinct provinces on February 14, 1995 by virtue of R.A. 7878. Since then Kalinga province observes its founding anniversary and afterward institutionalized and integrated into its celebration the Ullalim Festival. **ken atiwag

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Longing for Peace: A message of the KARSA during the peace week celebration

This is the full text of the message of the Kalinga-Apayao Religious Sector Association (KARSA) during the conclusion of the "Peace Week" celebration last December 7, 2012 at the Kalinga Sports Center. 


Two years ago, our very own beloved governor, Jocel C. Baac, said in his Christmas Message to the people of Kalinga, “PEACE IS HERE TO STAY, IF WE LIVE CHRISTMAS DAY FOREVER."

There is no mistake that living out the spirit and imperatives of Christmas is the bedrock of a meaningful and genuine peace, not only among Kalingas but among all people. This is posited within the view that one of the reasons why there is no peace in the world is because we people fail to really understand what peace is all about and its requirements. We fail to discern the truth that peace is of God, and therefore we should seek it from God's own standpoint. Any attempt to seek peace from our own personal standpoint and interpretation can in fact reap more negative dividends than positive ones. In a nutshell, this is what that famous Christmas message tells us, GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND PEACE GOODWILL TO MEN. Meaning, we can only know and understand the meaning of peace when we are at peace with God. For peace is not only about serenity, calmness or the absence of conflict among people, clan, tribe and even nations. It is SHALLOM. And SHALLOM is that Hebrew term for peace that is characterized by a state of wholeness or well being which is the fruit of proper relationship with God, with self and other human beings. Peace therefore begins with a proper relationship with God, that teaches us to have inner peace with ourselves which shall also be the measure of our peace with others and even our environment. Never can we talk about peace on earth goodwill to men, unless we talk about our peace with our God and ourselves. The end result of this SHALLOM in our individual and social life is prosperity, contentment and security. And in the words of Isaiah such a condition is founded on truth and justice, "everywhere in the land, righteousness and justice will be done. Because everyone will do what is right, there will be peace and security forever." (Isa. 32:16-17)

It is God's sovereign will that human beings shall live in harmony with each other in peaceful habitations. Therefore, while it is true that conflict is natural among human beings, being part of their fallen nature, violence and war as means of settling conflicts are scandals to the sovereign will of the God of Peace. Thus, one of the concrete requirements of peace is the absence of violence and war as means of settling conflicts. And so speaking within the backdrop of the realities of violence and war in the world, the Prophets Isaiah and Micah were as fierce in declaring that in the fullness of time a PRINCE OF PEACE will come and, "he will teach us what he wants us to do...he will settle disputes among great nations. They will hammer their swords into plows and their spears to pruning knives. And nations will learn war no more." (Isa. 2 & Micah 4)

There is no question, that indeed, God abhors violence. However, violence is real in our world today because it is the end result of human corruption. Nonetheless, it shall be stressed that the human hunger and thirst for peace is unquenchable because by nature we are created by a God of Peace that we should be in harmony and at peace with each other. Hence, since time immemorial human beings had been in constant search for peace and had in fact built institutions of peace such as peace covenants, alliances and treaties with hopes that such institutions would bring about meaningful peace. To Kalingas, our cultural tradition of BODONG as an institution of peace is a living testament to the natural human quest for meaningful peace and our abhorrence of violence.

How can we image an ideal society that bears and enjoys SHALLOM? Isaiah pictures to us an ideal society that enjoys SHALLOM, saying, "He will rule his people with justice and integrity. Wolves and sheep will live together in peace and Leopards will lie down with young goats. Calves and lions will feed together, and little children will take care of them, cows and bears will eat together, and their calves and cubs will lie down in peace. Lions will eat straw as cattle do. Even a baby will not be harmed if it plays near a poisonous snake. On Zion, God's holy hill there will be nothing harmful or evil. The land will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of waters." (Isa. 11:5-9)

We shall note that in this ideal society that justice and peace are inseparable. Peace is always the result of justice, hence, the saying, "there is no peace without justice." In concrete terms, a peaceful society is anchored on a relationship of CO-EXISTENCE: Where no one prejudiced, underprivileged, exploited and oppressed on account of their powerless, race, color, creed and status in life because justice is made supreme. Is it possible for the rich and influential to co-exist with the poor and powerless as Lions and calves do, or wolves and sheep do?

Indeed, this image of an ideal society of SHALLOM shakes the very foundation of a society that is exclusive, unjust, prejudicial and violent. Coincidentally, it is from this perspective of CO-EXISTENCE based on justice that the United Nations defines peace as, "a state of harmony and communion where people eat, speak, play, dance, live and work together. If this natural state is disturbed, be it by arguments, outside influence and/or manipulations, greed or fear -violence and wars can be the results."

And so, what is our longing for peace in Kalinga? What kind of a society that we should build for ourselves and our children? None can be more valuable in the heart of every Kalinga than to see a Kalinga that is freed from any form of violence. How nice and wonderful really it is that we can see our children play with each other as brothers and sisters in spite of our vast differences in culture, tradition, political convictions and even creed. How nice it would be if we could sleep soundly at night, walk the streets unafraid, trustful that our lands are safe from squatters. How really nice would it be if there are no hired killers and masterminds of killings, and that tribal wars are now things of the past. How nice really could it be, if there are no people amongst us who think that they are above the law or are the law themselves. And yes, how nice would it be if justice is made to blossom and "flow like a stream, and righteousness like a living river." (Amos 5:24).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kalinga ‘kalan’ makers go on mass production

TABUK CITY, Kalinga, Mar. 5 (PIA) - - A group of poor families assisted by government has turned earth stoves made from termite mounds their livelihood to sustain their daily needs.

The Kalinga Clay Molders Association (KCMA) composed of meager income earners organized themselves to commercialize the manufacture of the environment-friendly stoves preferred by households because of its practical and economical use.

This kind of stove is molded into different designs. Molders gather termite mounds from termite colonies and grind them to further refine the clay.

Johnny Langnga, KCMA President said during the start of their livelihood project, it was difficult to build a stove since everything is processed manually and their products were prone to cracks.

He said after organizing themselves, their group requested assistance from the Office of the Congressman which was readily approved. The project was tied-up  with the Kalinga-Apayao State College Institute of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship (KASC-IBAE) that further trained KCMA members on innovative design with the use of mechanized grinding.

Langnga said the clay grinder provided by Representative Manuel Agyao sped up their production. During their training, they  produced and  were able to sell 100 units of clay stoves to as far as Manila and 80 are ready for disposal.

Raquel Dulliyao of KASC-IBAE said aside from being “healthier” compared with the traditional tripod stove, the cooking vessel is sootless from the use of the termite mound-made stove; cooking area is clean, secure and safe.

Dulliyao said this clay stove product made of termite mounds won in the Regional Inventors’ Contest cum Exhibit conducted by the Department  of Science and Technology -Cordillera on September 27-29, 2011  at  La Trinidad, Benguet. She said it is also  CAR’s  entry to the July National Inventors’ Contest  under the Creative Research category.

Now on mass production, she said the livelihood project generates employment  and used as example for KASC-IBAE students to learn about product planning, marketing, opportunities and development. **Peter A. Balocnit

Migratory birds in Talaca, TabukCity

REFRESHING AND RARE SIGHT--  Each night fall or day break, local nature lovers and the merely curious now go to Pacak, Agbannawag, Tabuk City to view the thousands of egrets which spend the night on trees below the national road. Tabuk residents say  they could not remember any recent instance when so many birds converged in one spot (See the column Notes from the North on page 6). Photo by Arnel Tallongon

Credit: ZigZag Weekly

Autonomy consultations to go on

BAGUIO CITY, March 09 – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said autonomy grassroots consultations is the responsibility of everyone who understands the real essence of self-governance and that it should not be made an excuse to derail the passage of the enabling law in Congress.

“House Bill 5595 which is authored by five Cordillera lawmakers and had hurdled the committee level in the House of Representatives should serve as the basis of grassroots consultations to be conducted in the different parts of the region by responsible local officials and interest groups. Its passage into law should not be derailed by the interest of a few who are obviously against autonomy because of patriarchal concerns,” he stressed, adding that results of consultations could be incorporated in the measure anytime in order to satisfy the wishes of concerned sectors.

According to him, the contents of HB 5595 were culled from the inputs of a series of provincial, city and municipal consultations done region-wide by responsible and dedicated local officials and volunteers who painstakingly participated in numerous sessions conducted by the drafting committee to come out with a consolidated version acceptable to almost all sectors.

Domogan cited the bill will serve as a basis of the consultations to be conducted in the different provinces, municipalities and barangays and the results will also serve as the basis on what are the amendments to be introduced in order to help satisfy the clamor of the greater majority of Cordillerans for autonomy.

The chairman of the Third Autonomy Drafting Committee (TADC) said it is unfair for some officials to allege that there was no proper consultations done before the finalizing the contents of the pending bill considering that there were sufficient consultations done as shown by the records of the TADC and the Regional Development Council (RDC).

“Instead of insisting on our parochial interests, let us continue performing our duties to consult our people on autonomy and not to sabotage our efforts to achieve regional autonomy,” he said, citing active involvement and participation should be mandatory among local officials to avoid sowing confusion among people that will affect the renewed quest for self-governance.

Earlier, the House committee on local governments approved at the committee level HB 5595 which seeks to create the Cordillera Autonomous Region pursuant to the provision of the 1987 Constitution that mandates the creation of autonomous regions in the Cordillera and in Muslim Mindanao.

“If some provinces like Mountain Province, Kalinga, Ifugao and Baguio City were able to conduct consultations relative to the renewed quest for regional autonomy, why can’t other provinces do the same so that their conscience will be clear that they have done their part to listen to the plight of their constituents,” Domogan said, citing that achieving autonomy will not benefit the present generation but instead will benefit of “our children and our children’s children.”

Domogan challenged concerned sectors to emulate the initiatives undertaken by the private sector to do their own consultation with their respective sectors and come out with valid issues and concerns that must be addressed by the autonomy bill.

In a related development, some expressed fear of the possible regionwide rejection of the third attempt to establish an autonomous region for the Cordillera is feared following the recent approval of the third autonomy draft that was approved in toto in “no less than five minutes” by the committee on local government in congress last month.

This recent development caused Benguet leaders led by Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan and Governor Nestor B. Fongwan, together with members of the provincial board, municipal mayors and other concerned citizens to meet last week and strategize massive grassroots consultations to avert possible rejection.

Cosalan said he has written the committee in congress to reconsider its move saying “the committee can not just simply give five minutes to a bill that will affect the future life of hundreds of thousands of Cordillerans.”

A meeting was scheduled in congress where amendments to HB 5595, the Cordillera Autonomy Act, may be inserted by Cosalan and Abra Rep. Joy Bernos before plenary discussions and final approval on the floor.

“Rep. Bernos and I stressed that we are not against autonomy or against the bill but we want to introduce amendments before any plenary discussion,” Cosalan added.

The Benguet Capitol meeting chaired by Vice Governor Crescencio C. Pacalso was attended by autonomy advocates Dr. Gil Bautista, co-chair of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC), and former Vice Governor Edna C. Tabanda, RDC private sector representative.

Fongwan said he was thinking all along that the bill will be discussed in the committee level but was also surprised why it was approved in toto.

“Just like Congressman Cosalan, I also fear that the bill might be rejected again that is why I agree with him that we should put provisions advantageous to Benguet, consult the grassroots and not only a few, before it is put to a plebiscite,” Fongwan said.

For the provincial board members, they expressed the common observation that two past plebiscites overwhelmingly rejected the autonomy bills simply because the people have not read the provisions.

Some Benguet provincial and municipal officials in the meeting also gave a parallel personal observation that based on their limited survey, if no widespread public consultation will be conducted, the bill will be rejected in Baguio City, Mtn. Province, Abra, and even in Kalinga.

Asked about what would happen to the provinces that would not opt to join an autonomous region, Cosalan said, Section 163b that says the provinces that will vote unfavorably in the plebiscite will revert back to their mother regions, “serves as a threat to Cordillerans more than a uniting force.”

“I will introduce an amendment to that provision so that those who will not opt for autonomy can constitute a regular region. If that provision can not be amended, I will file another bill to that effect to give a choice to Cordillerans,” Cosalan explained.

On the other hand, RDC co-chair Dr. Bautista who agreed that more grassroots consultations should be conducted said, the RDC chose regional autonomy as the more positive move that would boost development in the region because the Cordillera always received the smallest budget share from the national government.

“Budget allocation for the regions was always based on population. In addition, our priorities in the region were not being followed (by the national government),” Bautista informed the body, explaining further that development would be faster in a regional autonomous set up.

He clarified that the budgetary provision for a P10 billion annual budget for the first five years and P5 billion annual budget allocation for the next five years were “not picked out of the blue.”

Cosalan meanwhile said, other regions would be affected and would surely complain if a big chunk of money will be cut from the national budget

But Bautista explained, “these are the same amounts allocated to the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). If Mindanao deserves P10billion annually from the national government, why don’t we deserve it?” **By Dexter See and March Fianza

Tribe formalizes support for hydro project

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Through the signatures of their chosen representatives, the four indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) in the vicinity of the proposed Upper Tabuk Hydropower Project (UTHP) all of which belong to the Nanong tribe have formalized their endorsement of the project.

Thirty-two members of the 40-man Nanong Governing Council who were present during the organizational meeting of the council on March 6 have signed a manifesto expressing their support for the project.

The tribal group known as Nanong is composed of the ICCs of the Nanong, Malbong, Dallac and Minanga who inhabit the barangays of Naneng, Lucog, Dupag and Bagumbayan in Upper Tabuk.

The manifesto also named the Minanga ICC in whose ancestral domain in barangay Dupag the UTHP is located as the host ICC thereby formally ending a bitter dissension in the Nanong tribe on the question of who should be the host ICC.

For months, groups within and outside the Nanong tribe have questioned the status of the Minanga as the host ICC claiming among others that it only lately sought recognition as a sub-tribe under the Kalinga ethnic group to skirt the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) process of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA).

Using its recognition from the Tabuk City LGU and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) obtained on January 9, 2009 and through the Kalinga Hydropower, Inc. which it formed as the entity to pursue the project, the Minangas obtained the hydro project requirements from government.

The oppositors in and ouside the Nanong tribe alleged that what the Minangas did was a circumvention of the IPRA insisting that under the law, it should be the whole Nanong tribe which will give the go signal to the project and also stand as host ICC.

The conflict within the tribe over the question of which ICC to host the project became so bitter it threatened the pursuit of the project but this was resolved during a tribal general assembly in Naneng on January 22 when the participants decided to name Minanga as the host ICC and for the formation of the 40-man council which will decide on the project in behalf of the tribe.

In the manifesto, the council also endorsed the KHI as partner and developer of the project.

The council members of which were formally chosen by the barangay councils of the four ICCs also declared that the manifesto was the result of the consensus of the Nanong tribe and had asked all parties to respect the decision.

The council includes the four barangay captains of the Nanong territory namely Samuel Suma-al of Dupag, Villamor Sannadan of Lucog, Edmund Daodaoen of Bagumbayan and Rommel Balunggay of Naneng.

Heriberto Barila, the council’s interim secretary general, told the media that the manifesto which will be sent to government agencies concerned with hydropower projects and prospective investors to prove that the people in the host community and not just a few members welcome the project.

“We also want to disprove the allegation of some parties that majority of the members of the four ICCs are not informed and do not support the project. With the manifesto, we want to assure prospective investors that the tribe supports the project,” Barila said.

Barila said that the council is the body that will enter into contract with the investor as well as answer questions that may be levelled against the project.

He said that they are presently formulating the by-laws of the governing council in preparation for registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The other interim officers of the council are the following: Balunggay – president; Suma-al – vice president for internal affairs; Sixto Obal – vice president for external affairs; Miguel Barila – treasurer; Edward Alimani – auditor; Jerome Tabanganay – PRO; Camilo Degay and Tina Batak – business managers. **By Estanislao Albano, Jr.