Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag has directed City Councilor Victorio Advincula Jr. to take over the Committee on Cultural Communities and Muslim Affairs.
For the past eight sessions, there is no representative for the indigenous people at the city council since the term of City Councilor Bai Halila Sudagar as the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) expired on March 30, 2018.
“It is difficult (having no IPMR in the council) as we do not know if the items discussed in the council are against their interest,” Al-ag said.
The vice mayor made the directive as Cherry Ann Ortiz-Codilla, the newly selected IPMR of the city, could not yet take her post at the city council.
The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) reportedly has yet to issue the certificate of affirmation for Codilla following a hereditary controversy. The NCIP is the government agency tasked to validate the IPMR.
Al-ag hoped the NCIP will speed-up the process to determine if Codilla is eligible or not to take the council seat.
“Codilla was already appointed after she won in the selection process,” Al-ag said.
Codilla won over a five-way fight, garnering a vote of 241 from 431 members of Talaukom (the tribe’s Council of Elders) in the election held at Almacen compound in Barangay Catalunan Pequeño on April 12.
Codilla was supposed to take oath last April 27 as the newest member of the City Council.
But the NCIP is still revalidating the qualifications of Codilla.
In its letter sent to Al-ag, the NCIP said that Codilla does not have at least 25% Bagobo-Klata by blood to determine her eligibility.
The genealogy data submitted did not match with the official record of NCIP particularity on her great grandparents, the clans of Pandian and Buisan.
The two names did not appear in the Bagobo-Klata master list of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) claim book.
Pandian appears in the Bagobo-Tagabawa CADT master list while Buisan appears in the Ubo-Manuvo CADT master list.
Codilla, however, clarified that she has 25% Bagobo-Klata blood because her grandfather was a pure Bagobo-Klata.
A representative from Klata is supposed to take the council seat following Sudagar who represented the Kagan. Seat for IPMR is pre-determined through the 11 tribe’s alphabetical order.