Davao City’s new IP rep from Bagobo-Klata tribe

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines – — Davao City has a new Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) after members of the Bagobo-Klata tribe chose their representative to the city council.

The 31-year-old registered nurse Bae Cherry Ann Ortiz-Codilla was selected by the majority of her tribe to represent the IP sector in the city council.

Codilla bested her other four competitors Bae Jane Lopez-Banzon, Datu Rosalito Anog, Datu Camilo Bancas and Datu Marcelino Betil after she garnered an overwhelming 241 votes from 431 members of Talaukom or the tribe’s Council of Elders, who participated in the selection process held at the Almacen Compound in Catalunan Pequeño on Thursday afternoon.

Codilla was followed by Banzon with 86 votes, Bancas with 71, Anog 33, and Betil 5.

The selection process was done through their customary law where members of Talaukom placed their sticks on each of the Lob-bha (basket) bearing the pictures of the candidates.

In an interview, Codilla said she was overwhelmed by the support of the majority of the tribe and she accepted the challenge to serve all the IP tribes in the city.

“I hope that God will help me so that I can serve our IP tribes here in Davao City,” she said.

The program that she is set to push in the city council includes the lowering of the standard of the scholarship program for IPs and providing boarding house allowance so that that the tribes can really avail of free education.

“Our present scholarship program has standards and some IPs could not avail of it, so I would push to lower it a bit so that many members of the tribe can qualify. Our office will do its best to allocate funds for the free boarding house that will be given to the IPs who will study college in the city so that there will be no hindrance for them to finish their college degree,” she said.

Codilla also wants to push for a health care assistance for IPs in the city. She said despite the many government health programs for IPs, there is still a lack of manpower to assist them.

“We lacked people who can guide them especially at the (Southern Philippines Medical Center) we will establish an IP desk there where there are liaison officers who will assist the patients and their watchers on how to avail of the government’s health programs,” she said.

Codilla will also provide seminars and workshops to IPs who are assisting in community health centers in their respective barangays.

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Davao City head Cristito Ingay said his office will fast-track the processing of Codilla’s documents to prevent a vacuum in the position vacated by outgoing IPMR Halila Sudagar, who bid farewell to the city council last Tuesday.

“The NCIP will do its best to complete the documents as early as we can, to prevent a vacuum in the city council,” she said.

Ingay said that as soon as the documents are ready, they will be submitted to their regional office for the immediate issuance of a certificate of affirmation.-Armando Fenequito Jr/PNA

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