BAGUIO CITY — The new commissioner for the Cordillera region and Region 1 of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) instructed the elders from Licuan-Baay, Abra, their lawyers; and NCIP personnel to give her the full carpetas on their case against the opening of mines in their areas.
Commissioner Zenaida Brigitte Hamada Pawid, giving her reaction to the issues raised in a press conference called by the Northern Luzon Coalition for Good Governance (NLCGG) on the filing of a class suit against a mining application in Licuan-Baay, requested the Abra and Tublay elders, who were also present, to be patient with her.
Better known as Manang Briggs, Pawid explained that she has only been on her seat for two weeks now as commissioner and “there is still plenty for me to learn yet.”
She revealed to the audience that her appointment in the commission was not something she had asked for, or applied for, and her appointment was issued on October 31 but she only came to know of it on November 17 to which she gave hard thought about before formally accepting the position.
With cases like the class suit now filed with the NCIP, though she has yet to be officially informed of it, she said she is now going through a baptism by fire. She has yet to join a briefing for the commission under the new dispensation this coming week.
She also said that she expects Atty. Roque Agton the chair, commissioner Langley Segundo of Nueva Vizcaya, and Atty. Noel Felongco who are all on hold over status in the commission from the last administration, and like her, the newly appointed Ms. Dionesia Banua representing the island groups including Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon, Panay and the rest of Visayas to be there.
In the two weeks as commissioner she has met with the President. She has been invited by the Region 1 office and CAR office has invited her to meet with them on the 20th of this month.
Taking off from the President Noynoy Aquino’s satement that the Filipino people is his boss, and with the mandate of the NCIP for the indigenous peoples, Pawid, said, “So, What is the role of the Commission?”
“Know that it is a commission, the commissioners sit as equals and decide en banc. Six commissioners plus one commissioner who is the chair. The commission is also the quasi-judicial body. The chairman is the chief operations officer. The legal desk is under the executive director and the chair.”
“That done today, (referring to the conference on the class suit) we (NCIP) need datos, oral tradition cannot work here.” she said.
To give emphasis she said, “The devil is in the details, I have to read everything before I can make a decision.” And, “the ancestral domain crosses over several boundaries.
“If this is what the people want (referring to the removal of the mines)”, the commissioner said to those present, Today, “I can only promise to monitor the process.”
To lighten thought of the weight of the task ahead, she shared a Baguio quote from the owner of the once favorite Rice Bowl restaurant, “Slow by slow in the long of time, we will success. Only the strong, consistent, and the brave will bring us the victory,” she concluded.
Banua is the executive director of Nagkakaisang mga Tribu ng Palawan (NATRIPAL) or the United Tribes of Palawan, a federation of 57 local associations. Pawid, on the other hand, is a member of the Northern Luzon Coalition for Good Governance.
Pawid was also meeting with the elders of Tublay who are against the entry of mining operations too and with the local NCIP. # nordis.net