First Isabela City Indigenous People Summit, Held
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City Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, in partnership with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), successfully organized the inaugural Isabela City Indigenous Peoples Summit on October 17 at the Isabela City Civic Center. Vice Mayor Jhul Kifli Salliman, who led the city council in approving the IP Ordinance Day, also graced this historic event as the first-ever IP summit held and organized by the city government.
The Isabela City IP Summit commenced with an introductory presentation by Engr. George Jocutan, covering the summit’s objectives and significance. Subsequently, key figures, which comprised NCIP Chairperson Jennifer Pia Sibug-las, Basilan Province IPMR Ansar Gadja and Deputy Minority Floor Leader and Basilan Lone District Representative Mujiv Hataman joined through a recorded video, voiced their unwavering support for the indigenous communities and their concerns during the summit, further solidifying their shared dedication to the cause.
In her Ulat ng Katutubo, IPMR Mary May Julhari discussed the achievements and initiatives for the betterment of the IP community. She highlighted commitments such as cultural preservation, education, healthcare, social services, and protection of land and natural resources. Notable achievements include the establishment of an ordinance for IP welfare, the formation of Indigenous Political Structures, and support for indigenous women’s groups. She also mentioned the appointment of Barangay Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs), free birth certificate registration for IPs, and school supply initiatives and concludes with a commitment to continue working for the IP community’s well-being and recognition.
During the event, NCIP Chairperson Sibug-Las led the formal induction and recognition of the validated tribal council of the Bangsa Sama Solidarity Council in Isabela City. Additionally, Atty. Pinky Grace Pareja, the NCIP Ethnographic Commissioner for Northern and Western Mindanao, delivered an informative presentation on the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and its four bundles of rights concerning indigenous cultural communities.
The summit also offered a celebration of the city’s rich cultural heritage, featuring noteworthy cultural presentations. Ligaya Abdul’s performances stood out as a highlight of the event.
During the IP summit, they also recognized the achievements of Jairulla Jaitulla, a Filipino Sama swimmer who proudly represented the country at both the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, demonstrating his unwavering dedication to the sport over a remarkable twelve-year span.
The gathering was attended by several distinguished individuals and organizations, including former NCIP Regional Director Ping Kasim, Provincial Administrator Manny Muarip, Municipal Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs) such as Ustadz Hudri Jallaman of Ungkaya Pukan, Mar Ankaan of Tipo-Tipo, Husni Isang of Sumisip, Omar Rirong of Akbar, and Ustadz Husain Yacob of Tuburan. Also present were DepEd-Isabela City Island District Supervisor/Division IPED Focal Person Dr. Murada Danial, government line agencies, NGOs/CSOs, and City Councilors Alan Ritchie Luis Biel, Khaleedsher Asarul, Karel Annjaiza Sakkalahul, and Alha-Zim Akbar, as well as CSWDO OIC Nor-Aina Asmara. (Words by SJ Asakil/Photos by M. Santos, CIO)