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A Review of Research on History, Governance, Resources, Institutions and Living Traditions
A Review of Research on
History, Governance, Resources,
Institutions and Living Traditions
A Review of Research on History, Governance, Resources, Institutions and Living Traditions

A Review of Research on History, Governance, Resources, Institutions and Living Traditions

A Review of Research on History, Governance, Resources, Institutions and Living Traditions

First Printing

September 2001

© Cordillera Studies Center, 2001

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieva1 system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Copy Editors:

Victoria Rico-Costina and Marion-Loida S. Difuntorum

Design & Layout:

Angeli C. Picazo and Giovannie R. Rualo

Typeface: Arial, Baskerville Old Face, Book Antiqua, Times New Roman

Typeset: Microsoft Word 2000®

FOREWORDFOREWORD

The First National Conference on Cordillera Researches was held in Baguio City on November 9-11, 2000. Hosted by the Cordillera Studies Center to mark its 20 th year, the conference gathered together researchers and scholars who have done work on Cordillera concerns and issues. At that time, it seemed very natural to mark 20 years of existence by taking stock of what has been done in the way of discovering and generating knowledge on the Cordillera. The gathering of researchers on the Cordillera provided the opportunity to assess the state of Cordillera research, as the conference became an occasion to chart directions for future research and to forge linkages among those with intersecting interests.

The papers included in the three volumes of conference proceedings follow the themes of the conference panel discussions:

Local Histories, Governance and Public Policy; Local Institutions; Indigenous Knowledge, World Views and Philosophy; Environment and Resources; Living Traditions; Arts, Literature, Language and Communication; and Women and Gender Issues. It is a rich and varied mix of subjects and issues, with tools of analysis coming from the entire range of disciplines—from literature, to philosophy, to mathematics, biology, chemistry and geology, not to mention the disciplines in the social sciences. Judging from the work that has been done both by CSC affiliated researchers and other scholars interested in the Cordillera, much more can be learned and discovered by doing research in the area of Cordillera studies.

This conference proceedings will provide the reader—whether scholar, researcher, student, policy maker—a view of Cordillera research. More than indicating what has been done, the compilation should help lead to those problems and issues in the Cordillera which need to be studied and explored further. Moreover, the research results must give the policy-maker and the ordinary citizen the appropriate bases for informed decision-making. It is our hope at the University of the Philippines – Baguio that the publication of these proceedings will fulfill the above-mentioned objectives.

Priscilla Supnet-Macansantos, Ph. D. Dean UP College Baguio

iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This three-volume publication entitled “Towards Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera: A Review of Research on

History, Governance, Resources, Institutions and Living Traditions”

First

National Conference on Cordillera Research held 9-11 November 2000 at Teachers’ Camp, Baguio City. It results from the collaborative effort of several institutions and many individuals. Through their unselfish and enthusiastic contribution of time, ideas and resources, the Cordillera Studies Center, UP College Baguio, successfully hosted the conference and completed this publication project.

contains papers, posters, commentaries and discussions of the

We are deeply grateful to:

The plenary speakers: Albert Bacdayan, a resident of the USA,

who

conference, and Gilda Rivero.

graciously

accepted

our

invitation

that

he

addresses

this

Lourdes Cardenas whose paper could not be included here as it forms part of a book entitled “Inventory of Medicinal Plants of Mount Pulag, Benguet, Philippines” which was already in press at the time of the conference in November 2000.

The Moderators: Zenaida Baoanan, Rowena Reyes-Boquiren, Carol Brady, Eduardo Callueng III, Arellano Colongon, Jr., Gladys Cruz, Alejandro Ciencia, Victoria Diaz, Ofelia DLC Giron, Thelma Leal, Erlinda Palaganas, Tala Aurora Ramos, Charita delos Reyes, Sherlyn Tipayno, and Natalie Rose Yabes.

The

Paper

Reactors:

Michael

Bengwayan,

Victoria

Corpuz,

Morr Tadeo Pungayan, Elena Regpala, Edna Tabanda, and Leo Viray.

The Conference Secretariat: Luisito Alimurung, Ramon Bag- eo, Denny Balindan, Rouena Besana, Beverly Biang, Jacqueline Calsiman, Marian Carbonell, Arlene Cid, Johanna Marie dela Cruz, Marion-Loida Difuntorum, Maritess Ferreras, Alicia Follosco, Abegail Matib, Herbert Nalupa, Angeli Picazo, Gloria Rodriguera, and Giovannie Rualo.

Manuel Soliven II and the UPCB Fine Arts students; Mark Barros, the conference’s master of ceremonies; Arvin Villalon and the

v

Education Assistance Program (EAP) students for their musical presentations; George Addawe, Antonio Alambra, Annie Bawayan, and Freddie Gonzales.

The editorial team: Victoria Rico-Costina and Marion-Loida Difuntorum.

The University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UPCIDS) and the Asia-Pacific Mountain Network (APMN), who provided the grants for both the conference and the publication of papers, and the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) for a supplemental grant for publication.

In preparing for the National Conference, the Center hosted six round table discussions in 1999-2000 under the able leadership of the

following convenors: Pia Arboleda for Art, Literature, Language and Communication; June Prill-Brett and Ma. Nela Florendo for Local History

and

Issues;

Lorelei Mendoza for Environment and Resources:Social Science Issues; Julius Mendoza and Teofina Rapanut for Indigenous Knowledge, World

Women and Gender

Studies. These convenors planned and designed the sessions of the conference. Without them, there could not have been the First National Conference on Cordillera Research.

Views and Philosophy; and Erlinda Palaganas for

Ofelia

for Governance and Public Policy;

Institutions;

Giron

for

Alejandro

Ciencia

and

Environment

Resources:

Natural

Science

We sincerely dedicate this publication to the communities and peoples of the Cordillera Region.

Lorelei Crisologo-Mendoza Convenor First National Conference on Cordillera Research 28 September 2001

vi

TABLETABLE OFOF CONTENTSCONTENTS

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Foreword

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Acknowledgement

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Table of Contents

 

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Ambivalence Toward the Igorots: An Interpretive Discussion of a Colonial Legacy Albert Bacdayan

 

1

CORDILLERA AUTONOMY AND LOCAL GOVERNANCE

 

The Failure of Autonomy for the Cordillera Region, Northern Luzon, Philippines Athena Lydia Casambre

 

17

Indigenous Institutions for Governance in the Cordillera and Beyond: Requiem or Reappraisal? Gerard Finin

 

28

Preliminary Report on the State of Decentralization in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR),

 

Northern Luzon

. Arellano Colongon, Jr.

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40

LOCAL HISTORIES OF THE CORDILLERA

Beyond Orientalism: Alternative Writings on

 

Cordillera History Ma. Nela Florendo

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Prospects, Perspectives and Problems of Chinese Studies in the Cordillera Anavic Bagamaspad

 

81

Mankayan Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology:

 

Insights from an Exploratory Leah Enkiwe-Abayao

 

93

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Page

LOCAL INSTITUTIONS

Notions of Justice in the Cordillera Alejandro Ciencia, Jr.

103

Rape and Death Penalty: Twin Cultural Traits Jules De Raedt

129

Economic Transaction Flows in a Typical Cordillera Village Bienvenido Tapang, Jr.

146

Strategies of Survival for a Community of Traditional Small-Scale Miners Evelyn Caballero

171

Apfu-ab-chi Chokoh: Mayoyao’s Ethnomedicine in a Changing Cultural Context Leah Abayao-Enkiwe

182

From Artifact to Art: Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera Delfin Tolentino, Jr.

198

Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Jimmy Fong

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Say What? II: Insights Into Baguio-Benguet at the Turn of the Last Century Through the Process of Dramatic Linda Grace Cariño

226

COMMENTARIES

Reaction on the Autonomy Issue Edna Tabanda

239

Reaction on Local Institutions:

Common Grounds in Diversity Elena Regpala

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viii

Page

MODERATOR'S REPORT

On

. Alejandro Ciencia, Jr.

Governance .

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247

 

DISCUSSION

 

Cordillera Autonomy Organic Act for an Autonomous Cordillera Region Local vs. Regional Autonomy Cordillera Regional Autonomy and Federalism Autonomy from the Point of View of the Community

 

251

Governance

. Local Governance Intergovernmental Relations Tax and Boundary Issues Decentralization of Education

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258

Local Histories of the Cordillera Colonialism and the Word “Igorot” Language in Research The Cordillera Culture in Popular Art Form The Cordillera Artist Attitudes Toward Land

 

261

Local

Institutions

. Guilt and Punishment Customary and National Laws Resource Management

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269

ix

AmbivalenceAmbivalence TowardToward TheThe IgorotsIgorots::

AnAn InterpretiveInterpretive DiscussionDiscussion ofof aa ColonialColonial LegacyLegacy

Albert S. Bacdayan

IntroductionIntroduction

It is incredible to contemplate that the indigenous ethno- linguistic inhabitants of the northern Luzon highlands, hereafter referred to collectively as the Igorots, received so much attention from the two most powerful and longest lasting colonizers of the country- Spain and the United States. For a combined three hundred fifty one years, these colonizers were driven to effect drastic changes in the lives of the mountain peoples aimed at their incorporation into the national society. Despite these efforts, or perhaps because of them, the Igorots remain culturally distinct from the rest of Philippine society at large, facing a serious negative image problem that appears to be squarely and solidly anchored in the stereotype that they are ignorant, undisciplined and uncouth dirty savages who even have tails. Thus set apart, the Igorots, “[a] strong, virile, hard working, worthy mountain

people” according to L. L. Wilson 1 , are generally considered among lowlander Filipinos to be not only different but also inferior. A major cultural minority bloc second in numbers only to the Moslems of Mindanao and Sulu, Igorots and their interactions with elements of the national mainstream are often clouded by stereotyping.

In my experience a negative image and ambivalent attitude toward the Igorots are widespread among lowlanders generally but not individually. A bus driver in the lowlands was heard by

acquaintances to say to his noisy and disorderly passengers, “Be quiet, this is not a Dangwa bus.” The clients of Dangwa bus are, of course, predominantly Igorot as those familiar with the Cordillera or Mountain Provinces would know. An otherwise thoughtful and sensitive fair- minded California labor leader and writer friend of mine from Lapug, Ilocos Sur told an interviewer in California, referring to his early childhood, that after a day of playing in the fields they would return

to

their

homes

“dirty

as

Igorots.”

Still

another

acquaintance,

a

prominent

Filipino

community

leader

in

the

Central

Valley

of

California, told me in a discussion of the anti-Filipino discrimination on the West Coast before the Second World War, that “the whites thought we are as ignorant and primitive as those poor Igorots they

1 See his The Skyland of the Philippines, 2 nd ed., 1956, p.79. Laurence L. Wilson was a so-called Baguio old-timer who wrote on the peoples of the Mountain Provinces and for the Baguio Midland Courier for years.

2

An Interpretive Discussion of Colonial Legacy

saw in St. Louis,” referring to the exhibition of Igorots at the St. Louis, Missouri exposition in 1904, to be discussed later on. He said this with a straight face, despite the fact that before the interview I told him about my background and Igorot ethnicity!

Experiencing ambivalence and skepticism by lowlanders towards one’s Igorot identity, as well as experiencing the fall out from the negative Igorot image is discomfiting, embarrassing and exhilarating all at once. Tell an audience of lowlanders that you are an Igorot and you will be sure that they will take special notice. You might even be approached afterwards and asked if you are really one. A great many self-identifying Igorots have been told, “You cannot be an Igorot,” or “Why do you say you are an Igorot?It implies that one should be ashamed of his Igorot identity and should be quiet about it. The sad fact is that some, indeed, do just that. But the vast majority are proud witnesses of their mountain identity as clearly demonstrated for instance in the recently held Third International Igorot Consultation

and the Cordillera Cultural Festival held in Baguio in April 2000 2 .

This paper is an attempt to explain the origins, development and persistence of this pernicious negative image of the Igorots in Philippine society. Perspective and insights into this ugly problem are enhanced by the findings of researchers delving into the history of the Igorots- a field that has been receiving scholarly attention in recent decades. Toward the end of the paper some thoughts about approaches to correct the situation are offered. This is a worthwhile endeavor, given the more than one million indigenous inhabitants of the Cordilleras that are affected and the desirability of a strong national foundation knitting the elements of the nation together into a social system in which everyone counts and is appreciated for what he or she is.

It is my contention that the negative stereotyping of the Igorot which is at the root of the ambivalence toward him in Philippine society at large, is a legacy of colonialism, particularly Spanish colonialism. Records of early colonial Filipino society do not reveal any ill-will and radical cultural separation between lowlanders and highlanders. There apparently was free and easy movement through trade between the two groups relating as equals. There were cultural similarities: head taking, family organization, animism, and use of the

2 Among the most interesting sessions during the Third Igorot International Consultation held at the Green Valley Hotel and Resort in Baguio City from April 26-29, 2000 was when the title Igorot International Consultation was affirmed as the name of the meeting, defeating the motion to change or modify the title to include the wo rd Cordillera. Igorot rather than Cordillera was the overwhelming preference of the people at the Consultation.

Bacdayan

3

breechclout or G-string. Highlanders making extensive contacts with lowlanders today, especially in the rural areas, are often amazed by the similarities of some superstitious and magical folk beliefs the two groups share. And why not, especially if Keesing’s ethnohistorical

hypothesis

inhabitants of the Cordillera from the lowlanders is a phenomenon of

the Spanish era 3 .

This rich common cultural ground was largely forgotten as the negative stereotype developed. It grew out of the frustrating inability of the Spaniards, helped wittingly or unwittingly by their Hispanized lowlander allies, to impose their will, their religion and their law, on the technologically and politically simple indigenous societies of the Gran Cordillera Central. The stereotype was well entrenched in the conventional wisdom and mind-set of the lowland Christian population by the end of Spanish rule in 1898, surviving into the period of American colonial rule and on to this day. While this may be due in part to the tenacity of stereotypes, it can be argued that the American colonial period which was marked by the intense American involvement in the affairs of the Philippine non-Christian groups including the Igorots, exacerbated the negative feelings of the mainstream Filipino society toward these northern Luzon highlanders. In this sense, there is historical continuity connecting the colonial careers of Spain and the United States in the Philippines in the matter of the negative Igorot image in the eyes of lowland society.

indigenous

is

correct,

that

the

separation

between

the

TheThe SpaniardsSpaniards inin thethe CordilleraCordillera

The colonial career of Spain in the Gran Cordillera Central has been graphically portrayed in William H. Scott’s noteworthy book, The Discovery of the Igorots 4 . It lasted for 326 years from the supposed entry into the area of Juan Salcedo in 1572 in search of the fabled Igorot gold to 1898 when Spanish power in the Philippines collapsed. During this time the Spaniards unsuccessfully tried to make vassals and

3 In his well-received posthumously published work called The Ethnohistory of Northern Luzon, Felix M, Keesing offered the stunning hypothesis that the Cordillera mountains were settled by refugees from Spanish pressure in the surrounding lowlands. If so, then, the separation of the Igorots from the lowlanders was a fairly recent occurrence. Up till then the accepted view was that the mountains were settled by groups who migrated earlier to the Philippines from somewhere in mainland Asia and who were pushed out of the lowlands and up the mountains by later migrants also from Asia. 4 This is a ground-breaking publication on Igorot history. Carefully researched in archives in the Philippines, Spain and the United States, it is an authoritative work that has been a major resource for this article as it pertains to the Spanish colonial career in the Cordillera mountains.

4

An Interpretive Discussion of Colonial Legacy

Christians of the Igorots and meld them with the Hispanicized Filipino society in the lowlands. There were more than a hundred so-called punitive expeditions to punish the Igorots for various transgressions such as the killing of missionaries and converts and the growing and selling of tobacco which crippled the lucrative tobacco monopoly. Although there was an intent to use a soft and gentle approach (a policy of attraction) especially on the part of the missionaries, it was an essentially coercive career involving the use of as many as 3000 men in one expedition alone, open confrontations resulting in loss of lives on both sides, the burning of houses and villages, the collection of tribute and forced labor without pay.

The Igorots for their part reacted to this long sustained pressure with a multiplicity of tactics such as feigning to accept Christianity and then abandoning it when the situation was deemed right, and even killing the priest as well as converts. They paid tribute only to appease and lull the authorities so as not to become vassals; they let expeditions run out of food, attacked these, and then negotiated to temporize and to buy time. A long-lasting highly charged situation like this was apt to breed frustration, anger and charges on both sides but especially on the part of the Spaniards who assumed a right to the obedience of the people. This was the breeding ground for the formation of the negative image or stereotype of the Igorot. The more they resisted Spanish aims by force and pseudo-diplomacy, the more they were vilified as treacherous, recalcitrant, and bloodthirsty heathen.

The first statement of the Spanish anti-Igorot view was occasioned by the effort of the governor general to legitimize the launching of the first major expedition in 1618 to search for the mines from whence the Igorots got their gold. The Spaniards got wind of these gold mines shortly after establishing Spanish authority at Cebu in 1565. Since the return of Juan Salcedo to Manila in 1572 from his expedition to the Ilocos which established the existence of these gold mines, Igorot gold had come to be seen by the crown as a lucrative source of revenue. Thus, when the royal treasury was depleted by the Thirty Years War, the King sent a Royal Order on December 19, 1618 to the governor general in Manila commanding him to go after the Igorot gold with all due speed and by whatever means he thought best, including offering economic incentives to participants in the effort and enlisting the help of the religious orders. An expedition to expropriate Igorot gold was in order!

Appreciating that the Igorots would resist such an undertaking and perhaps feeling awkward about striking the first blow, the

Bacdayan

5

governor general convened a conclave of theologians to consider and decide whether or not a war against the Igorots was a “just war.” The charges against the Igorots were that they were “highwaymen, bandits,

and murderers who killed for purposes of revenge, robbery, intimidation or extortion and mutilated the bodies of their victims.”

from

becoming

pagans and gave refuge to ex-convicts, lawbreakers and delinquents. Worst of all they prevented innocent passage to Spanish vassals from one area under Spanish jurisdiction to another.” The conclusion reached regarding the question of the justness of the war about to be launched against the Igorots was that even if the only charge was the

one of preventing passage, the war would be a “just war.” 5

Thanks to the exercise of justifying the expedition, an extant list has surfaced on what the Spaniards thought of the Igorots up to that time. Most likely reflecting their experience with the Igorots in the foothills of the Cordillera such as in northern Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, rather than in the Cordillera proper, the image portrayed is interesting in being already so negative so early. The Spanish authorities were of course looking for a way to justify appropriation by force if necessary. In any event, the list may have been considered validated and added to by the experiences of the three or four gold-seeking expeditions that followed. The first one lost the heads of two lowlanders who wandered off from camp at Boa, and the commander was laughed at when he started to ask the people to become vassals of the King and to accept Christianity. The second expedition was tricked into thinking that the Igorots wanted peace, only to be attacked when supplies ran low, necessitating that the expedition’s survivors run for dear life. The third one managed to find some mines but failed to get gold because the people working them ran away, staying beyond musket range, shouting at and deriding the expedition. In any event, the ores tested were of poor quality. So the disheartened force withdrew. In his report the leader of this last expedition expressed the view that Igorots are dumb and stupid and are wont to be treacherous. The final gold-seeking expedition also did not get any cooperation from the people at the mines. The garrison of sick soldiers was attacked by people who had pretended friendship. While many paid tribute they never considered themselves vassals of the Spanish king.

Further,

it

was

charged

that

“they

prevented

other

Filipinos

Christians, kidnapped baptized children to be raised as

5 See W. H. Scott, The Discovery of the Igorots, pp.26-28 for a detailed discussion of the issue of a “just war” against the Igorots.

6

An Interpretive Discussion of Colonial Legacy

These attributes were to be further reinforced in the course of the subsequent efforts of the Spaniards to induce the highlanders to join the Hispanized society that was rapidly evolving and solidifying in the lowlands through what is called reduccion and through outright conquest with the strongest force necessary.

Reduccion involved not only conversion to Christianity but settling in a civil social context such as a town where there would be religious instruction and supervision and where town life would be guided by rules and duly constituted authorities 6 . This meant the relocation of converts in towns or settlements. In this sense then, conversion meant a radical break from one’s former society and culture. It is not surprising that converts became the enemies of those who remained true to the original animistic faith and culture. Attacks on the towns of the “reduced” were not uncommon. Apostasy or reversion to animism with the apostates turning on and killing those who remained faithful Christians was experienced in Kalinga, Ifugao, in the Magat area, in Aritao and elsewhere. Igorots also feigned conversion and willingness to pay tribute to put off the invaders and then reverted to the old ways when conditions turned favorable. Overall, reduccion did not have the effect among the Igorots that it had among the lowlanders, with the notable exception of the bago or new Christian communities in the western foothills of the Cordillera in the Ilocos provinces (La Union and Ilocos Sur). Otherwise, the groups in the Cordillera fastnesses clung to their indigenous ways of life and there were no religious, social and cultural transformations.

The campaign of conquest through the use of force which was resorted to during the 19 th century did not produce any fundamental cultural and social changes among the mountain folks either. Although there was destruction of villages by burning, forcible collection of tributes, confiscation of livestock and foodstuffs and frequent punitive expeditions (44 in the span of ten years from 1826 to 1836), in the end the Igorots essentially retained their cultural and political independence. As in the case of reduccion, the Igorots blunted the campaign of outright conquest by strategic submission and payment of tribute, feigned friendship, and outright resistance whenever possible. But the price of independence was heavy, especially in regard to the negative stereotyping of the Igorots.

6 For a discussion of the reduccion of lowland Filipinos, consult John L. Phelan’s

noteworthy book, The Hispanization of the Philippines, Madison: Wisconsin University Press,

1959.

Bacdayan

7

The attempted reduccion and the conquest of the Country of the Igorots (Pais del Igorrotes) during the 19 th century resoundingly reinforced the earliest negative characterizations of the Igorots. As the Spanish colonial career wound down, finally ending in 1898, the stereotyping of the Igorot that had been developing under Spain took hold as deep-seated conventional wisdom in lowland Filipino society. It is arguable that the lowland Filipino had a more deep-seated visceral or emotional response to the Igorots than did the Spaniards. Although the incredible resistance of the Igorots to religious and political

subjugation hurt Spanish pride as well as cost them some lives 7 , it was

lowland

society

that

bore

the brunt

of

the

Igorot

resistance.

The

Spanish

forces

consisted

mostly

of

soldiers

and

civilian

auxiliary

personnel recruited from the ranks of Hispanized lowland Filipino

groups -Pangasinanes, Ilocanoes, Pampangoes and Tagalogs 8 . Quite naturally most of the casualties of the long and protracted anti-Igorot campaigns would have been from these groups. Therefore, the families - wives, children and relatives- that suffered the anguish of the loss of loved ones at the hands of the Igorots for centuries were mostly lowland Filipino families especially from the aforementioned groups. Given the lowlanders’ expectation that the Igorot should be subject to Spanish authority as they were, and should surrender his territory, his religion and way of life to the invaders, it was logical for them to blame Igorot bloodthirstiness, recalcitrance and unreasonableness for their losses rather than their Spanish governors. Most likely no thought was ever given to the perspective that to the Igorots the invasion of their homes and villages was a life and death situation. The negative beliefs and attitudes toward the Igorots, forged and nurtured throughout the long years of conflict, eventually became a deeply imprinted mind-set among the lowlanders. Subsequent developments starting with the American period which resulted in ever-widening avenues of contact between the lowlanders and the mountaineers by and large failed to shake those attitudes. In fact, as has been noted earlier, the onset of the American colonial period briefly exacerbated the problem.

7 Among the Spanish governors-general to be shocked and scandalized by Igorot independence had been Primo de Rivera in 1880. He found out the extent of this independence when he went to northern Luzon on an inspection trip in December 1880. The day after his return he filed a letter to the Overseas Minister in Madrid stating that the situation is “humiliating” for Spain.

8 I have not come across any mention of Visayan troop involvement in the Cordillera mountains which is probably because of the distance involved. But it is curious that in my association with Filipino agricultural workers in California, it was among the Visayans that it did not matter at all that I am Igorot. This may be due to the fact that there has been no tradition among them of loss and suffering attributed to the Igorots.

8

An Interpretive Discussion of Colonial Legacy

TheThe AmericansAmericans inin thethe CordilleraCordillera

Two initiatives led to the involvement of the Americans in the

Cordillera and thus with the Igorots. One was the policy giving exclusive responsibility for governing the non-Christian tribes in the

Philippines

to

the

Americans

rather

than

the

Filipinos.

This

was

founded

on

the

assumption

that

the

Christian

majority

could

not

govern

fairly

and

justly

those

against

whom

they

were

strongly

prejudiced 9 . The other consideration was the search for a summer capital and site for a sanatorium for the personnel of the emergent

American colonial government 10 . Unaccustomed to living in the tropics and fearful of the dire effects of tropical conditions on health, this matter of a summer capital and sanatorium was of paramount importance to the new colonial power. The policy met with strong opposition from the Filipino politicians who rightly saw it as denying them a hand in governing their own people and as an instance of divide and rule. Opposition was also strong to the development of a summer capital and sanatorium and related projects like the construction of the Kennon Road. These were seen as expensive undertakings in Igorot country solely for the interest and use of the new colonial masters. The government debates and journalistic discussion of these two matters, I believe, directed the attention of the country to the Igorots, reminding the nation of and keeping alive the collective stereotype against them which was built up by three centuries of failed initiatives to bring them under Spanish control.

the

Louis

lowland

Exposition in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1904 and the use (implicit and

explicit) of the undeveloped status of the non-Christian groups, including the Igorots, in the anti-Philippine independence campaign by the Republicans in the United States. The Igorots and their village in fact captivated the Exposition and were visited by large crowds of people to the chagrin of the lowland Filipinos both at the fair and at home here in the Philippines. There was concern that the Igorots would

giving

be seen by the American

independence to the Philippines. What should be taken into

Further

reinforcing

was

the

the

negative

stereotype

at

among

Saint

Filipinos

Igorot

exhibition

the

people

as

a

reason

for

not

9 For statement and discussion of this policy see William Cameron Forbes, The Philippine Islands, Boston and New York: Houghton & Mifflin, 1928; also Dean C. Worcester, The Philippines Past and Present, 2 nd edition, New York: The MacMillan Company, 1930.

10 Robert R. Reed, City of Pines: The Origins of Baguio as a Colonial Hill Station and Regional Capital, Baguio City: A-Seven Publishing, 1999 is a well-documented and very readable account of the founding of Baguio. Forbes and Worcester in their respective works already cited first-hand accounts of the establishment of the city.

Bacdayan

9

consideration, of course, is the fact that they were only a fraction of the total Philippine exhibit. There were other representative groups of the Philippine population included. The Americans who were against the independence movement considered that the non-Christian would not receive proper attention and consideration from the Christian majority. Dire warnings from such Americans focused more attention on the Igorots, and by extension their separateness from the mainstream. It should be said that in the Mountain Province, the Filipino officials who took over from the Americans served the people just as fairly and as well as their American predecessors.

The Americans officially arrived in the Cordillera scene in 1900 when two members of the Taft Commission and a party consisting of a meteorologist, two military doctors, an engineer railroad executive, and a military escort came to look at Baguio as a possible site of a summer capital and sanatorium for the emergent American Colonial rule in the Philippines. This was a pressing issue because there was so much concern within American colonial officialdom about the healthfulness of Manila as a year-round residence and as a place to regain ones health when sick. Worcester, a member of the Commission and the leader of the trip heard about Benguet and Baguio from a Spanish officer whom he met in Mindoro earlier during the waning days of the Spanish regime when Worcester came to the Philippines for zoological fieldwork. Worcester was then a young member of the zoology faculty at the University of Michigan. Impressed by Baguio’s temperate climate, location and beauty, he and Wright recommended its immediate development as a summer capital.

The

construction

of

what

is

now

Kennon

Road

was

a

particularly

hotly

debated

issue

both

inside

and

outside

the

government. The Americans were eager to build the road to have an easy access to Baguio. Composed mostly of Americans, the Philippine Commission was then the legislature of the Philippines. It freely and speedily appropriated money for the project. Construction started in January 1901 and after two engineers failed it was completed in 1905 by a third, Major L. W. V. Kennon, at the staggering cost of $2,000,000. It was originally thought to cost only some $75,000. The enormous expense in building the road was severely criticized by the Filipino nationalistic press which saw it as a case of the government being stingy toward the people and lavish toward itself. The project was further viewed as benefiting the Americans at the expense of the Filipino people.

But the development of Baguio was not the only interest of the Americans in the northern Luzon highlands. Since they had sole

10

An Interpretive Discussion of Colonial Legacy

responsibility for the administration of the non-Christian tribes and the Igorots were predominantly non-Christians, the Americans were soon busy extending government to these tribes and laying the groundwork for their social, economic and political development guided by a policy of attraction and friendship. Moved perhaps by the romance of the noble savage, the observed American characteristic of siding with the underdog and a desire to do well by tribal groups to atone for the destruction of the American Indians, the Americans worked hard to win the allegiance, if not the friendship of the Igorots. They reversed the policies of the Spaniards that so alienated the Igorots. Instead of unpaid forced labor, the Americans paid all who worked. Taxation was imposed slowly only after the people appreciated the uses of tax money; taxation was in the form of road or trail work, ten days a year

for every able-bodied male.

Lines of communication between districts

were opened by the frenetic construction of trails, many of which were undertaken with the view of developing them into roads in the future. The local personnel, provincial governors and lieutenant governors were selected for their firmness, fairness and strong sense of justice. Corporal or any form of coercive punishment was to be administered only if the subject clearly understood why he was being punished and then only after he had been warned and yet still disregarded the warning. Headhunting or head taking was firmly but justly dealt with and the officials encouraged the use of native institutions like the bodong or peace pact in the process.

Schools were opened and ways of improving the economy were explored. Above all, the work of the government was carefully and strictly supervised so that erring officials could be corrected or fired. The Secretary of the Interior who was in-charge did a yearly inspection tour for this purpose during which big feasts were given by the government. Large numbers of people from different districts who were often warring or feuding enemies were invited. Maybe the people wearied of headhunting and the Americans were lucky their policy appealed to the mountain peoples. Or perhaps the Spaniards broke the headhunting habit. In any case, headhunting stopped and soon the American government was firmly established among the once

obdurate and uncontrollable Igorots. It should be noted in this connection that the Americans had the distinct advantage of being able

grounds because

to

Christianization was not a government agenda under them. The American policy emphasized allegiance to the state and its laws. This left the Igorots to decide for themselves on what to do with the religious question confronting them, whether or not to become Christians. This was appreciated by the mountain peoples who were

avoid

Igorot

resistance

on

religious

Bacdayan

11

deeply committed and for the most part, still are, to their age-old animistic and ancestor-worship beliefs and practices.

While

the

exclusion

of

lowland

Filipinos

from

Igorot

administration

was

a

sore

point,

it

was

the

establishment

of

the

Mountain Province in 1908 that caused much concern among the lowland Filipinos. Together with the development of Baguio, it looked suspiciously like divide and rule 11 . Initially the Americans had organized the different ethno-linguistic groups into provinces or subprovinces, some of which were attached to adjacent lowland provinces (for instance Apayao with Cagayan and Ifugao with Nueva Vizcaya ). In 1908 all the ethno-linguistic groups were put together as one political unit, the old or former Mountain Province, in the interest

of better coordination and supervision of their administration. It was a huge and elongated province which included portions that are now

part of La Union and Ilocos Sur

Tagudin and a northernmost boundary in Apayao, not very far from the sea. With the stroke of a pen, the Igorots were all together in one political unit which to some may have looked like a rather formidable ethnic and territorial grouping as well as a blatant instance of divide and rule. Although this was reminiscent of the former Spanish designation of the highlands as El Pais del Igorrotes with its own Commandante del Igorrotes during the early part of the 19 th century, the birth of the Mountain Province under the Americans was regarded with dire suspicion of American ulterior motives. Ultimately the boundaries were adjusted starting in 19l7. Tagudin and the mixed Igorot portions were taken from La Union and Ilocos Sur and restored to their neighboring lowland provinces. Also, control of the non- Christians including the Igorots, Baguio and the Mountain Province eventually passed on to the Filipinos who continued the development begun by the Americans - roads and bridges, schools, and agricultural and economic initiatives.

with a sea outlet in the port of

ConclusionConclusion

Colonialism created a cultural chasm between the lowlanders and the highlanders and set the conditions for the destructive stereotyping experienced even today. It seems clear that the origin and persistence of the stereotypical lowlander view of the Igorot grew out of the resistance of the Igorots to the pressures of the Spaniards and the

11 Consult Howard T. Fry’s worthy book, A History of the Mountain Province, Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1983. An entire chapter is devoted to the establishment of the Mountain Province. Worcester, op. cit., also contains first -hand information on his, Worcester’s, own role in the process.

12

An Interpretive Discussion of Colonial Legacy

Hispanized Filipinos. It has endured in part because of the durability of stereotypes and in part because of the close attention the Igorots received from the American successors of the Spaniards. One wonders what the highland-lowland social geography would be like had it not been for colonial rule.

The development of the old Mountain Province, though smacking of separatism or divide and rule, resulted in the cessation of headhunting and a good measure of economic and social development for the Igorots. More importantly, it paved the way for the Igorots to enter the mainstream of Filipino society by means of the education obtained in the schools and the increasing contact between Igorots and lowlanders at work, in the market, in the government service and in the schools themselves. But all along, there has been this damper in the burgeoning highlander-lowlander interactions: the negative image of the Igorots in the eyes of the members of lowland society.

The curious thing about this is the fact that the cultural and social realities of the Igorot past which helped to engender the negative stereotype have changed: there is no more headhunting (the current so-called tribal war notwithstanding); the people are now Christians for the most part; the ordinary daily wear is now shirts, pants, skirts and blouses; Igorots know how to use soap and groom themselves; they have proven their industriousness and intelligence by their educational competitiveness and achievements. And, for the most part, Igorots are circumspect and honorable in their interactions with lowlanders, at the least not reinforcing the stereotype and at best belying it. About the only thing that has not changed about the Igorots is their pride in being people of the mountains whether this is expressed by answering to the generic name Igorot or to the specific ethno-linguistic labels as Ifugao, Kalinga and Bontoc.

But the ambivalence of lowlanders to the Igorots and the negative stereotyping persists. In a curious way, they may have endured also because of the increased contacts between the two groups arising from the acculturative forces laid out by the work of the Americans in the Cordillera highlands. It may be that rather than making for closer understanding, these contacts between the sides of the social divide have provided the self-proclaimed superior group an opportunity to assert its superiority over the presumed inferior group, through contempt. Or the contact situation may have raised the need to maintain social distance from a group regarded as inferior lest the false veil of superiority be lifted and exposed for what it is. This is given credence since the negative stereotype persists in spite of the narrowing of the cultural gaps between the Igorots and the lowlanders

Bacdayan

13

and the myriad avenues of contact -political, educational, social and economic- between the two groups.

While all this may be evidence of the durability of stereotypes,

as an anthropologist I see the stereotyping as a cultural matter, a learned set of beliefs and attitudes. If culture and by extension

stereotypes are learned, then the stereotypes can be

“unlearned.” I believe this should be part of the mission of the social sciences in our schools from the elementary grades to the university level, especially here in the Cordillera region. The curriculum should include not only the teaching of cultural content as regards the Igorot groups but the history of the contacts and relationships between Igorots and foreigners and lowland Filipinos with the aim of establishing common ground. There should be a unit on the cultural similarities of the lowlanders and the highlanders and also between the highland groups themselves. I believe this would be an effective step toward curing the amnesia that has led the nation to forget that in

cultural practices, dress, religion and family organization there is much similarity between the lowlanders and highlanders. A pro-active approach through the educational system is indeed logical and

promising.

acknowledge and convert the negative stereotype to a badge of honor symbolizing their ancestors’ resistance to foreign rule and the preservation of their cultural traditions. Put differently, it offers the tantalizing probability that Igorots as a whole would embrace the label “Igorot” and, to echo the sentiment and hope eloquently put forth by Bishop Francisco Claver during the Third Igorot International Consultation held in Baguio, turn it from a “name of shame” to a

“name of pride.” 12

modified or even

At the very least, it ought to give reason to the Igorots to

At the very least, it ought to give reason to the Igorots to 1 2 Bishop

12 Bishop Francisco Claver addressed the Consultation on April 28, 2000. See the proceedings of the conference compiled by the Philippine Task Force of the Third Igorot International Consultation, Baguio, 2000.

14

An Interpretive Discussion of Colonial Legacy

Author’s Name: ALBERT BACDAYAN Address: 46 Sterling Hill Road Lyme, Connecticut 06371 USA E-mail Address: Bacdayan@aol.com Telephone No.: 860-434-929

CORDILLERACORDILLERA

AUTONOMYAUTONOMY

ANDAND

LOCALLOCAL

GOVERNANCEGOVERNANCE

AUTONOMYAUTONOMY ANDAND LOCALLOCAL GOVERNANCEGOVERNANCE “The Failure of Autonomy for the Cordillera Region,

“The Failure of Autonomy for the Cordillera Region, Northern Luzon, Philippines” traces the repeated rejection by plebiscite of proposed legislation for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera. A perusal of the proposed Organic Act (R.A. 6766) provides illustrations of the ill-focused articulations of an autonomous Cordillera region. Until the texts defining Cordillera autonomy are revised; until an authentic discourse is pursued – one that is “anthropologically” rather than ideologically or bureaucratic-legalistically determined, or politically driven, the project of Cordillera autonomy will remain frustrated.

“Indigenous Institutions for Governance in the Cordillera and Beyond: Requiem or Reappraisal?,” analyzes recent attempts to adapt indigenous social institutions for purposes of governance in the Cordillera by

comparing and contrasting some contemporary experiences with traditional institutions of governance in Pacific Island nations.

The paper, “The State of Decentralization in the Philippines:

Preliminary Report from the Cordillera Administrative Region, Northern Philippines,” is an integration of the regional reports on the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in

Northern Philippines for the years 1996, 1997, and 1999 generated as part of the

Rapid

Associates in Rural Development (ARD) – Governance and Local Democracy Project. It makes a preliminary report on the status of decentralization in the Cordillera Administrative Region as implemented thus far by selected cases of LGUs.

the

Field

Appraisals

done

for

in the Cordillera Administrative Region as implemented thus far by selected cases of LGUs. the Field

TheThe FailureFailure ofof AutonomyAutonomy forfor thethe CordilleraCordillera Region,Region, NorthernNorthern Luzon,Luzon, PhilippinesPhilippines

Athena Lydia Casambre

My paper this morning reprises, reviews and integrates two

papers on the topic of Cordillera autonomy that I have written and

delivered, the first in May 1990 and the second in July 2000.

span of ten years we do not seem to have drawn significantly closer to regional autonomy, the Cordillera Administrative Region [CAR] notwithstanding. As indicated in the print media coverage of the “winding up” of the affairs of CAR, the “Cordillera bodies cease[d] operations” pursuant to Executive Order 270, its staff reduced to a skeletal force numbering six (division chief, technical staff, administrative officer, accountant, bookkeeper, and cashier). [BMC,

Oct.

Cordillera

wrangling

Executive Board [CEB] members earlier in the year, in attempts to extend the life of CAR, the end occurred without ceremony or further remark.

Ten years ago, in my first paper, I suggested that disjuncture—

In the

1,

2000]

Despite

the

by,

and

among,

the failure to meet point-to-point-- characterized the debate on Cordillera autonomy, and no wonder that the proposed Organic Act

was soundly rejected in the referendum in January 1990.

ago, in my second paper, I pointed out the frustration of the dialogue on Cordillera autonomy, as evidenced in the literal failure of the Second Consultation attempted in November 1999. Why did the attempt to establish an autonomous Cordillera region fail, and what is required for it to come into being?

The framework and method of my studies of the issue of

Cordillera regional autonomy is hermeneutics or interpretation.

central object in hermeneutics is the text.

rather than as merely a record of facts, the text is interpreted in order to

The application of

hermeneutics to the study of social subjects is done in two ways: first, in the study of texts—written material—pertaining to the subject; and second, the treatment of the social subject as a text, that is, a meaningfully constructed narrative or essay. Thus, for instance, the question of the failure of Cordillera autonomy is likened to the failure of a text to achieve a unity of meaning; or conversely, the failure of discourse or debate on Cordillera autonomy essentially and vitally accounts for the failure of the project itself. Taken seriously, hermeneutics is capable of producing a sensitivity to language— written and acted out—its syntax, grammar, composition. Reading and

appropriate (or get at) the meaning conveyed by it.

Four months

The

Regarded as the fact itself,

18

Failure of Autonomy

listening to texts and to action-as-text construction become habits of social life.

We begin by underlining the observation that it is not an

insignificant accident of history that the narrative of the failed attempt in the past decade and a half to establish an autonomous Cordillera region is inexorably tied to the dramatic turn in Philippine national history, the EDSA revolt of 1986. On one hand, the change in administration from the martial rule of Marcos to the liberal democratic politics of Cory Aquino provided the impetus for the progressive groups in Cordillera civil society, principally the Cordillera People’s Alliance, to push their political agenda further, not losing the momentum of the mobilization in the 1980s against the Chico River dam project of the Marcos regime. The lobbying by CPA, taking advantage of the democratic space opened up after the EDSA revolt, was largely responsible for the inclusion of the constitutional provision for autonomous regions in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao in the

On the other hand, the same liberal politics of

new 1986 Constitution.

Cory Aquino’s presidency and the euphoria of the post-EDSA moment was the context of the Cory government’s peace negotiations with Father Conrado Balweg’s group, CPLA, resulting in the sipat of September 1986. The outcome of these peace negotiations between the government and CPLA was Executive Order 220 [E.O. 220], establishing a special Cordillera Administrative Region tasked to prepare the region for autonomy. In short, the EDSA revolt and the democratic politics immediately following upon it unquestionably hastened the coming to the fore of the issue of Cordillera autonomy; sadly, from the hindsight of close to 15 years, prematurely.

Prior to the first plebiscite on a proposed Organic Act for an

autonomous Cordillera region in January 1990, there was indeed intense debate on the topic. Three or four principal protagonists were

identifiable:

People’s Liberation Army [CPLA]; the middle sectors of Cordillera professionals [BIBAK Professionals Association (BPA), Cordillera Broad Coalition (CBC)], and the National Economic Development Authority [NEDA] regional office. Unfortunately, the debate did not result in the articulation of a clear, comprehensible, and acceptable proposition for supporting an autonomous Cordillera region. Ironically, in fact, the very group which had been principally responsible for getting the project of autonomy on the government’s agenda in 1986—the CPA—had made a 180-degree turn four years later, campaigning for a “No” vote on the proposed Organic Act, not least because what they had won in the form of a constitutional provision had become perverted as soon as the government entered

the Cordillera People’s Alliance [CPA], the Cordillera

Casambre

19

into sipat with the CPLA. Since the CPA and the CPLA had radically different projects in mind, the narrative of Cordillera regional autonomy became severely disjointed at this point. Meanwhile, the middle sectors, led by Cordillera professionals, caught in a choice between two unacceptable projects, found themselves aligning with

others behind the proposal for regionalization without the urgency of

autonomy as espoused by CPA and CPLA.

that this position indicated a reaction to the fiercely ideological positions of the CPA and CPLA.

My reading in 1990 was

I put forward three points regarding the CPA position in 1990.

The

premise of a novel construction of a Cordillera identity, calling it Kaigorotan. As indicated by the CPA’s own retreat from this concept later as the centerpiece of their position on regional autonomy, Kaigorotan was not well-received, running into the fact that Cordillera natives’ self-identity is anchored in their village. There was, and is, no pan-Cordillera identity. While it is true that there is a Cordillera experience that is distinct from that of the majority of lowland Filipinos, it is also true that this distinct common experience is rooted in diverse social realities, particular to different Cordillera villages and areas. Thus, I pointed out in my second paper (Phil Studies Assn Conference July 2000) that “what is common and distinct is not to be seen in the diversity of customary laws and practices, but rather in the fact itself of customary laws and practices.”

initially argued for autonomy on the

first

was

that

the

CPA

Secondly, I pointed out, in regard to the CPA’s concept of Kaigorotan, that they had built this concept by a subtle, albeit

unwarranted inference of a Cordillera “ancestral domain,” that is, the ancestral domain of Kaigorotan, from their premise that there are

Cordillera “ancestral lands.”

that Kaigorotan was a novel construct, and Kaigorotan consciousness

was still to be generated.

Third, it was evident in CPA rhetoric that the project of Cordillera regional autonomy was conceived within the larger politics of national democracy. Even more than the patent fiction of Kaigorotan, the specter of “nat-dem” (national democratic) politics spooked the majority of the Cordillera voters. To this date, notwithstanding the advances they have made in fostering empowered people’s organizations in the region, there will not be enough electoral support for an autonomous Cordillera region that has been principally defined by the CPA for this reason. The CPA will have to engage in “coalition politics” to collaborate in the articulation of a vision of Cordillera autonomy that will have a foreseeable future.

This was a patent fiction, to the extent

20

Failure of Autonomy

The CPLA version of Cordillera regional autonomy was no less alienating to the majority of Cordillera voters, for different reasons. Ideologically premised on the sacredness of land to the Cordillera peoples, the CPLA position tended to romanticize communal land ownership, which is only one of several types of ancestral land rights (Prill-Brett 1988). The audacity of CPA’s claim of Kaigorotan is paralleled by the CPLA’s proposal for the recognition of a “Cordillera Autonomous Socialist State” as well as a “Cordillera Nation,” as indigenous institutions. (Towards the Solution of the Cordillera Problem: A Statement of Position. Distributed in mimeographed and printed form, circa September 1986)

Having romanticized “nationhood” based on “common

indigenous culture binding them together in a single society with a distinct identity,” CPLA ran smack into the reality of diversity in the Cordillera as its specification of bodong as an indigenous political institution met strenuous objection. Although the CPLA clarified their usage of bodong, stating their willingness to recognize “other customary ways of life [for other provinces in the Cordillera] which have not yet been lost,” nonetheless, there were aspects of this usage

Bodong, which, strictly speaking, refers to an

that warranted concern.

inter-village peace pact, is used by the CPLA as an essential indicator

of the right of ownership of the land, thus extending the meaning of the

term for their political purposes.

as used by the CPLA, may be taken as symbolic of indigenous institutions. However, there is a second, more ominous reading of the CPLA’s usage of bodong. In 1990, I had noted in my paper that the CPLA use bodong qua peace pact in which the parties are the national government on one hand, and the “Cordillera nation” on the other. Hence the acceptance of bodong as proposed by CPLA indicated peace, and its rejection would indicate the opposite—implying the constant

threat of a “worst case scenario.”

CAR as established by EO 220 was being discussed, the CPLA (even post-Balweg) still raised the specter of the possible dire implications of repealing EO220 if the CPLA decided to interpret this as a reneging on the sipat of 1986. In practical terms, the apparent privileging of the

Cordillera Bodong Association (later CBAd—Cordillera Bodong Administration) in the Cordillera Administrative Region set up by EO 220 was a sore point that did not aid the CPLA’s popularity, but from the perspective of CPLA, as the party which negotiated peace with the government, it stood to reason that the implementing executive order for this peace pact would give a prominent position to the CBAd as the political representation of the “Cordillera Nation.”

At its most innocuous sense, bodong,

Earlier this year, when the fate of

Casambre

21

On

top

of

these

conceptual

difficulties

which

the

CPLA

position engendered, there was the persona of Conrado Balweg.

As an

Abra native, he was an “outsider” of the conventional BIBAK [Benguet- Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga] delineation of the Cordillera, and remained so throughout the lifetime of CAR. His death in December 1999, allegedly from the hand of the NPA, was unlamented among the Cordillera population. Despite his charismatic appeal, his self-

righteous certainty that his was the correct political position and his ability to justify CPLA killings as consistent with a posture of peace, reconciliation, sacrifice and non-violence stirred deep distrust among

This distrust was definitely a

practically all but the CPLA partisans.

factor in the repeated failure of the passage of an Organic Act for an autonomous Cordillera region.

A third thread of argument in the debate on Cordillera

autonomy was the position on regionalization without the necessity of

autonomy.

river systems predated the push for autonomy, it having been part of development planning in the last decade of the Marcos years. Thus the NEDA was an active participant in the discussions preceding the 1990 plebiscite, frequently moderating the ideologically charged debates between the CPA and CPLA participants in consultation assemblies.

The proposal for regionalization provided a space for different groups and sectors who disagreed with both the CPA and the CPLA, e.g., the Kalinga Bodong Federation, the provincial board of Benguet, BIBAK Professionals Association [BPA], and Cordillera Broad Coalition

[CBC]. Interestingly, despite their efforts to distance themselves from the political solutions offered by CPLA-CBAd, the CBC actually evolved a political position by explaining their support for

regionalization

(or

which combines “regional autonomy” with “local autonomy,”

“autonomy within autonomy”) to give due recognition to cultural differences within the Cordillera. (P. Guyguyon, August 25, 1987; Z.H. Pawid, April 30, 1988)

The proposal for establishing integrated regions defined by

as

consistent

with

a

model

of

“federal

autonomy”

In my second paper in July 2000, I took note of the frustrated

dialogue on Cordillera regional autonomy, taking off from the aborted Second Regional Consultation on EO 220 in November 1999. The utter failure of the exercise was due to two things: on one hand, from the perspective of substance, the unresolved disjuncture in the different positions on Cordillera regional autonomy meant that the project would continue to be stymied; on the other hand, from the perspective of format, the continued domination of the dialogue by bureaucrats and lawyers, not to say anything of politicians, meant that no true

22

Failure of Autonomy

dialogue or consultation would transpire.

attended the consultation to the extremely confining parameters set by

the Mechanics of the Consultation Process and House Rules clearly indicated the persistent failure of the organizers to reach the true constituency of a Cordillera region. The puzzle, for me, has always been, why the proponents of a Cordillera region, paying homage to a distinct Cordillera history and culture, persisted in employing alien forms of dialogue, when among the indigenous institutions of the Cordillera are the forms and venues of political communication like tongtongan, dap-ayan, etc.

The rejection for a second time of a proposed Organic Act for an autonomous Cordillera region was attributed to many things, all of them, at least in part, valid: ignorance, indifference, skepticism, or disagreement with the law. Ignorance is often traced to the failure of

information-education-campaigns, which are, in turn, attributed to lack of funds. In all of the attempts to explain the failure to pass an Organic Act, however, a basic lack has not been addressed; no attention has been given to defining and fleshing out the substance justifying an autonomous region. In view of the unacceptability of a rationale which

situates autonomy within a larger political

democratic politics (CPA) or socialist-cum-federalist politics (CPLA), a

proposal for an autonomous Cordillera region must specify the particular value-added aspect. What, precisely, would justify the establishment of an autonomous region—beyond that of establishing a regular (separate, administrative) region?

The constitutional provision mandating the establishment of an autonomous region in the Cordillera (as well as Muslim Mindanao) honors the claim that in the Cordillera there exist

The response of those who

project such as national

“provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical area sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics.” (Art. X, Sec.

15)

As evidenced in the debates preceding both plebiscites on an Organic Act (1990 and 1998), the reference to “common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage” almost immediately leads to disagreement about the universality of any indigenous social practices among the Cordillera peoples. What is required, in order that the discourse can move forward, is to state clearly that this phrase refers to the fact itself that indigenous practices and customary law exist, not to the existence of a universal set of indigenous social practices, of which there is none. Hence, the rationale for an autonomous region is the

Casambre

23

protection and promotion of indigenous practices and customary law, in whatever particular forms these exist in Cordillera villages.

A second issue on which the discourse immediately bogs down

is the vulnerability of an autonomous region to the dominance of

This fear can be

addressed by keeping the discourse focused on the identification and elaboration of the “distilled” characteristics of a Cordillera region.

Anthropological studies of the Cordillera, principally by June Prill-Brett, suggest three substantive areas defining the particularity of a Cordillera region: (1) land ownership, (2) resource management, and (3) conflict resolution. In the Cordillera, unlike the lowland Filipino regions, there is an indigenous system of land ownership which includes communal, indigenous corporate, and individual land rights. These types of land rights have spawned indigenous resource management practices on one hand, and conflict resolution institutions and practices on the other.

Taken seriously, this discussion of what defines the particularity of a Cordillera region warranting autonomous status would give rise to radically innovative proposals such as one suggested by the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC). The approval of autonomy by a single province in each of the two plebiscites (by Ifugao in 1990; and by Apayao in 1998) underlines the inappropriateness of the conventional delineation of constituent units of an autonomous region. Thus, as I pointed out in my second paper (July 2000), the LRC suggested that the “local constituent political units” [LCPU] “should not mimic existing provincial, municipal, barangay and sitio boundaries, unless that is what the peoples within a given area expressly prefer.” One positive effect of this innovative territorial delineation should be to confound conventional political bailiwicks, thus divorcing the issue of regional autonomy from conventional politicking in the region.

Apart from the redefinition of the terms of debate among protagonists, one important venue for drastic change is in the language

of the proposed Organic Act itself. At a local forum held in August this year, Senators Aquilino Pimentel and Juan Ponce Enrile expressed openness to yet another attempt to draft and pass an Organic Act for an autonomous Cordillera region, but both admonished Cordillerans to

Enrile was

quoted to say, “I want the people to tell me if they want something to

get their act right if there should be a third time around.

political leaders from a particular culture area.

be removed from the proposed bill or they want anything to be included. Then we will take the necessary action.” (BCD, August 13, 2000) This is a suggestion that ought to be taken with great

24

Failure of Autonomy

seriousness, on the premise that a text is itself a significant fact; first, a text is authored, and second, it is structured. An examination of the two proposed Organic Acts (R.A. 6766 and R.A. 8438) as texts demonstrates this point.

A perusal of Organic Act 6766 shows that the thinking and

discourse on Cordillera regional autonomy is shackled by alien conventions, resulting in superficial service to the ideal of regional autonomy. In form and content, the text of R.A. 6766 reflects the preoccupation with the conventional structures and functions of local government, tempered only by special consideration of the Cordillera

cultural features of ancestral lands and customary law.

authored by legislative staffers trained in the conventions of local government bills, but only superficially informed by Cordillera consciousness. Yet, by its nature, an Organic Act for an autonomous region must clearly stem from the recognition of a “common and distinctive heritage.” It is not sufficient to acknowledge this by a nod in the Guiding Principles and Policies (Art. II Secs. 2 and 9), or another nod in Art. XII, Sec. 3, par. (b) on Patrimony, Economy and Development. The Articles addressing the particularities of Cordillera institutions must have a central place in the Organic Act, not relegated to Art. VII (Indigenous and Special Courts) after the articles on the conventional branches of government; and Art. X (Personal, Family, Tribal, and Property Relations), Art. XI (Ancestral Domain and Ancestral Lands), heading the conventional series of articles dealing with Patrimony, Economy and Development; Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Tourism and Cooperatives; Education, Science and Technology, Language, Arts and Culture and Sports; Social Justice and Welfare; Human Rights; and Peace and Order (Arts. XII, XIV-XVIII).

A specific illustration of the perverted recognition of the basis

for Cordillera autonomy is found in Art. XI Sec. 4

It is clearly

“Upon the identification and demarcation of ancestral lands, including those within townsite reservations in the area of autonomy, the appropriate land agency of the Regional Government shall issue titles over ancestral lands to communities or tribes.”

Ironically, the provision introduces an alien legal practice, that is, land titling, in its attempt to recognize the indigenous ancestral

lands.

recognizes the indigenous practice with regard to land rights; hence,

The grant of autonomy based on a distinctive heritage itself

the

provision

on

titling

is

not

only

gratuitous, it is a theoretical

perversion

of

the

very

basis

of

the

grant

of

autonomy.

Another

Casambre

25

“Unless authorized by the Cordillera Assembly, lands of the ancestral domain titled to or owned by an indigenous cultural community shall not be disposed of to non-members.”

This

provision

arrogates

to

the

Organic

Act

the

power

to

declare something which is already the subject of customary law,

which it purports to recognize.

The articles on Patrimony, Economy and Development reflect a

schizophrenic

perspective,

at

times

generically

pro-people,

pro-

environment,

while

at

other

times

paying

heed

to

“indigenous

concepts, processes and institutions as bases of development,” (Art.

XII, Sec. 3-b) often not bothering to examine the interface of these two positions. The numerous provisions purporting to protect the Cordillera patrimony are couched in language that tends to ignore the fact that indigenous resource management practices is a major area

Ultimately, the recognition

of indigenous culture turns out to be a mere nod of acknowledgment, without substance. Art. XII, Sec. 4 delegates “the control and supervision over the exploration, utilization and development of the natural resources of the Autonomous Region … to the Regional Government in accordance with the Constitution and national laws.” What is even more significant than the delegation of authority to the Regional Government, subject to the constitution and national laws (alone) is the final proviso:

defining the distinctive Cordillera heritage.

“Provided, finally, That when the natural resources are located within the ancestral domain, the permit, license, franchise or concession, shall be approved by the Cordillera Assembly after consultation with the cultural community concerned.” [emphasis added]

provision for consent might

inspire more confidence in the declared intent to honor indigenous

culture.

merely another layer of government and laws, presumably to attenuate the exploitative character of direct national development planning; the most basic level of governance in the Cordillera, customary law at the

In sum, it appears that the proposed Regional Government is

A

stronger,

more

categorical

ili level, is ignored. Art. VIII (Local Government) recognizes the ili as one of the “territorial and political subdivisions of the Autonomous Region … where applicable.” However, except for local government

units’

the

resources within their

utilization

respective areas,” and the specification that barangay or ili officials’ term of office “shall be determined by regional law, including customary law,” there are no other substantive provisions in Art. VIII

entitlement

and

“to

an

equitable

of

the

share

in

natural

the

proceeds

of

development

26

Failure of Autonomy

that give particular benefit to indigenous local governance institutions. A striking example of this cavalier treatment is the literacy requirement (“able to read and write”) for membership in the proposed Cordillera Assembly (Art. V, Sec. 7) which is alien to the requirements for leadership of the ili elders, e.g., “lallakay,” which are wisdom and prudence.

Unless the text of an Organic Act is authentically focused on

the rationale of regional autonomy for the Cordillera, it is simply a dressed-up version of local government legislation, or worse, the

unwitting

carrier

of

ultimately

inimical

provisions,

such

as

the

introduction

and

codification

of

practices

previously

honored

in

customary, unwritten law.

Organic Act, R.A. 8438, is precisely a sanitized, rather than a customized autonomy bill. Instead of moving in the direction of focusing on the substantive rationale for an autonomous Cordillera region, this second attempt at an Organic Act moved in exactly the

opposite direction. There is no longer even a mention of the ili as a unit of governance, as there had been in R.A. 6766. The Articles in R.A.

6766 pertaining to particulars of the Cordillera “common and distinct

heritage,” i.e., on Indigenous and Special Courts, Personal, Family, Tribal and Property Relations, and Ancestral Domain and Ancestral

Lands, are no longer present in R.A. 8438.

6766 has been deleted in R.A. 8438.

In short, until an authentic discourse is pursued—one that is “anthropologically” rather than “ideologically” or “bureaucratic- legalistically” determined, or “politically” driven, the project of Cordillera regional autonomy will remain frustrated.

Unfortunately,

the second proposed

What was diluted in R.A.

of Cordillera regional autonomy will remain frustrated. Unfortunately, the second proposed What was diluted in R.A.

ReferencesReferences

Casambre

27

1990

Casambre, Athena Lydia. “Interpretation of the Debate on Cordillera Autonomy,” Baguio City: Cordillera Studies Center. 60pp.+Bibliography of References cited.

2000

Casambre, Athena Lydia. “The Frustrated Discourse on Regional Autonomy in the Cordillera (Northern Luzon, Philippines) and Notes Toward a Productive Discourse. Paper presented at the 16th International Philippine Studies Conference, Diliman, Quezon City, 11 July 2000. 21pp.+ Bibliography of References.

Republic of the Philippines. Republic Act No. 6766. An Act Providing for An Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region.

Republic of the Philippines. Republic Act No. 8438. An Act to Establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region.

Author’s Name: ATHENA LYDIA CASAMBRE Address: Department of Political Science University of the Philippines

1104 Diliman, Quezon City

Formerly with the Division of Social Sciences University of the Philippines College Baguio

2600 Baguio City, Philippines

IndigenousIndigenous InstitutionsInstitutions forfor GovernanceGovernance inin thethe CordilleraCordillera andand Beyond:Beyond: RequiemRequiem oror Reappraisal?Reappraisal?

Gerard A. Finin

IntroductionIntroduction

When the idea for this conference was first conceived who would have known that fundamental issues of governance would, as

we gathered, be such a prominent feature of the national discourse? As political and constitutional issues loom large in Manila, current debates once again highlight the importance of Cordillera Studies for understanding Philippine society from a different perspective (cf. Scott

the

Cordillera Administrative Region, I believe it is useful to give some attention to the issue of indigenous institutions for governance in the Cordillera and Philippine nation state.

During the 1980s organizations such as the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance stood tall in the face of the Marcos regime by advocating creation of a Cordillera Autonomous Region. As most of us can recall, the idea emerged out of a long and costly struggle to resist implementation of the Cellophil and Chico dams projects. Village-based leaders such as Macli-ing Dulag and hundreds of other rural highlanders with minimal formal education worked in concert with younger highlanders, many of whom had graduated from the finest universities in Baguio and Manila, to successfully defeat the government’s plans.

Subsequently, President Corazon Aquino, early in her term thirteen years ago, signed a rather remarkable document that offered the prospect of allowing the Cordillera to move toward a system of governance which embraced features of traditional institutions similar to those found prior to American colonization and direct rule. Anticipating the creation of a constitutionally authorized Cordillera Autonomous Region, Executive Order 220 established the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). The “new” region largely followed the geographic contours mapped by Dean Worcester as he set up the Mountain Province in the early 1900s (Sullivan, 1992). However, unlike Worcester, who sought to bring highlanders out of what he saw as a backward state by importing new forms of governance from America, President Aquino’s Executive Order envisioned the possibility of innovations that would draw upon “old” institutions of governance indigenous to the Cordillera. Specifically, section 4(h) of EO 220 called for “development of indigenous laws and political institutions,

1985).

It

is

for

this

reason

that,

despite

the

recent

demise

of

Finin

29

particularly those of direct democracy and collective leadership, as well as the promotion of indigenous institutions and conflict resolution and dispute settlement” (see Rood, ed., 1987).

Executive Order 220 created two bodies to give life to this vision, the Cordillera Regional Assembly and the Cordillera Executive Board. The Executive Board was designated as the “development body and implementing arm of the CAR” (Section 10), with membership that included elected officials, representatives of twelve different ethno- linguistic groups, as well as representatives from the Cordillera Bodong Administration and nongovernmental organizations. Interestingly, the Cordillera Regional Assembly was designated as the “policy formulating” body, composed of up to 250 representatives, including one from each municipality and one from each so-called “tribe.”

Assembly

the

Cordillera, those with formal educations and the ability to speak English were privileged over those who possessed indigenous knowledge and an appreciation of indigenous institutions. This privileging continued throughout the post-independence period. Now for the first time, the Cordillera Regional Assembly held out the possibility of a role for individuals who may have possessed little formal Western knowledge, but had the benefit of considerable experience-based wisdom. Perhaps to a greater extent than many people realized, the regional assembly was potentially a pan-Cordillera consensus-based grassroots body that functioned in keeping with the basic principles of deliberation and decision-making followed in hundreds of Cordillera villages. Together with the other elements of CAR such as the Cordillera Executive Board, it was an innovative and exciting experiment in establishing new structures of governance that were not purely replications or imports from abroad. Given the present situation with regard to indigenous institutions for governance both here in the Cordillera and beyond, I believe it is an opportune time to consider the reflections of Professor Jules De Raedt regarding the value of indigenization as so lucidly articulated in his volume entitled Buaya Society (1993).

remarkable

What

made

was

the

idea

ever

of

since

a

Cordillera

American

Regional

that

colonization

of

PreviousPrevious CordilleraCordillera ExperiencesExperiences withwith IndigenousIndigenous InstitutionsInstitutions

Recognition of the value of indigenous institutions, or the idea of harnessing such institutions to benefit the Cordillera, is by no means entirely new. To be sure, the American sub-provincial lieutenant governors, often without informing superiors in Manila, relied heavily

30

Indigenous Institutions for Governance

upon various social institutions to achieve their ends. The transformation of socio-religious feasting into so-called grand cañao to advance American colonial rule during Worcester’s era is just one example in this regard. Other colonial officials such Barton (1919, 1949) and Dosser undoubtedly made use of their knowledge of indigenous institutions in the settlement of disputes. However, this was not an effort aimed at adapting traditional Cordillera institutions to develop some sort of larger federation or central political structure from the diverse, largely closed village-based societies. Rather, the Americans’ use and frequent subversion of indigenous institutions was a means to an end—the imposition of western institutions such as majority rule that had little legitimacy in the eyes of local residents.

TheThe IgorotIgorot AcculturationAcculturation ConferencesConferences

It was not until some two decades after American officials left the Cordillera (during the commonwealth period) that the issue of indigenous institutions for governance in the Cordillera was addressed directly. As ever larger numbers of college-educated highlanders settled in Baguio and Mountain Province’s sub-provincial capitals, some highland residents became concerned that “Igorots” were perhaps adopting lowland values and culture altogether too quickly for their own good. Instead of talking about “civilizing” the Mountain Province, the focus was on how the forces of modernity sweeping the Cordillera might be integrated with what some perceived as an irreversibly fading “Igorot tribal culture.”

In the face of rapid social change, educators and other prominent citizens gathered in Baguio during the mid-1950s to discuss “planned acculturation” in Mountain Province. Hinting that perhaps educated highlanders had in some respects become too uncritically “assimilated,” the organizers instead proposed that adoption of lowland institutions “should be by trial and error, and by amalgamation or blending with local cultural features” (Wilson [ed.],

1956:3).

The idea for an Acculturation Discussion Group originated

of

Baguio who was variously (and accurately) described as a minister, miner, lumberman, journalist, and history buff. Wilson frequently

expressed the view that

wholesale many American and lowland customs and practices without recognizing the value of their own culture. At first his proposal for occasional seminars envisioned a group composed largely of BIBAK students who, based on their experience and observations before

highlanders had unfortunately adopted

with

Laurence

“Larry”

Wilson,

a

long-time

American

resident

Finin

31

coming to Baguio, would take turns discussing highlander culture. Within a short time, however, the group became more formalized, with Wilson chairing a steering committee composed of nine other missionaries and well-educated highlanders. Meeting on a monthly basis in locations such as the Baguio Colleges library, the study group would listen to “one of the foremost native leaders [present] a paper on the cultural phase which the Committee selected as his specialty.” A discussion period would then ensue. According to Wilson, attendance at the weekend meetings grew quickly. “Native leaders were much interested in the discussion and it was made a function of the BIBAK (Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga) student organization” (Wilson [ed.], 1956:1). Soon the Baguio Midland Courier regularly featured reports on what were termed the “Igorot culture meetings.”

To the extent that Wilson and other missionaries had a strong tendency to see the people of Mountain Province as a whole, the highlander presenters also structured their papers in a way that asked:

Presuming we will be able to decide, what Igorot institutions and cultural traits from the Cordillera might best be retained or discarded? Looking through the lenses of sociology, the presenters went about their task with a remarkable air of omniscience and omnipotence, analyzing the Cordillera as one. Pio Tadaoan of Baguio Colleges, for example, evaluated the “cultural skills of the mountain people which

may be imparted, reformed or discarded

in connection with their

education for a changing environment.” Albert Crespillo Sr. of Saint Louis College considered the “economic improvement of the mountain or Igorot community.” Nicomedes Alipit of Mountain National Agricultural School revealed candidly that most of what he knew came from observations in Bontoc sub-province, although he assumed these “to be more or less typical of all tribes in the Mountain Province.” University of the Philippines Law School graduate Sinai Hamada, no longer finding it necessary to focus on “discriminatory laws” in Baguio such as the Igorot liquor ban that he had so vigorously contested in the courts in the 1930s, spoke admiringly of “the distinctive characteristics of our tribal custom law.” (Wilson [ed.], 1956: 8-24, emphasis added).

While some of the suggestions may in retrospect appear humorous (e.g., traditional head-beads or necklaces should be fashioned into rosaries), highlander participants recall that they were definitely pushing to preserve and promote a generalized “Igorot” culture. And probably for the first time ever in highbrow Baguio social circles, there was the suggestion that lowland society was in certain respects inferior to that found in Cordillera villages. Some of the ideas put forward by highlander participants included integrating elements of the ato or dap-ay institution as a subject for study and possible use

32

Indigenous Institutions for Governance

by the school system, selling basi and tapuy instead of commercial gin in local stores, fostering of the bodong or peace pact system over a larger area because it provides “the fundamentals for a peaceful tribalism,” promoting the gamal or obob-ob system of communal cooperative action among villagers, and authorizing divorce in situations where a just cause exists because this would be “more realistic than the provision of the Civil Code of the Philippines which prohibits absolute divorce” (Wilson,[ed.] 1956:32).

The acculturation conferences were interesting for what they revealed about educated highlanders’ desire to retain, and indeed be proud of, their constructed Igorot identity. However, at this time, the ideas were not yet seen as being viable in the foreseeable future by more than a small circle of educated highlanders. Far from worrying about the possible ill-effects of acculturation, the vast majority of educated highlanders in Baguio were actually intensifying their efforts to be the generation of Igorots that would “make good” in the larger Philippine society.

RejectionRejection ofof IndigenousIndigenous InstitutionsInstitutions byby HighlanderHighlander PoliticalPolitical LeadersLeaders

Highlander political leaders during the 1950s and 1960s such as

“Gay-a-gay” Lam-en

were acutely aware of the stigma associated with being Mountain Province Igorots. (See Professor Bacdayan’s analysis on the origins of this very delicate but important topic.) Yet lowlanders’ feelings of superiority were thought to be something that could eventually be surmounted. Given solid educational credentials, a generally superior command of English, acts of wartime heroism, and access to national officials in Baguio, Cordillera luminaries like Apo Dangwa, Lam-en, and Florence Clapp believed the prospects for successful assimilation appeared favorable. Thus, even for those highlanders interested in promoting and proudly displaying “Igorot” culture during the 1950s and 1960s, little serious discussion was given to advocating incorporation of indigenous institutions into the young Republic of the Philippine’s political structure. Rather, the overwhelming consensus

Bado

Dangwa,

Dennis

Molintas,

and

Alfredo

was that the best way for Igorots to advance as “a people” was to work with lowlanders and try to be like them politically.

This dismissal or rebuff of traditional institutions by political leaders of the Mountain Province was most clearly articulated by Governor Lam-en, a Sagada-born graduate of Trinidad Agricultural School and Baguio Colleges law school. With regard to the peace pact institution as practiced in the Bontoc and Kalinga areas, for example,

Finin

33

Lam-en was adamant about its impracticality. “Before when somebody gets hurt, the bodong [peace pact] will impoverize [sic] the whole family—you give all these carabaos, rice fields and so forth and so on. I am against that. Because whenever somebody commits a crime, then let the jail take care of that. The courts—that is why we have courts” (personal interview, September 15, 1988).

The perspective held by the Cordillera’s elected political elite

in the postwar period is basically the same position being espoused by

elected officials today. This was evident when the first Cordillera Regional Assembly meeting convened in July 1988 at the Baguio Convention Center. Much effort had been expended by the Presidential Management Staff to organize the meeting, and ensure broad

representation from the entire Cordillera. To their credit, it was indeed

pangpangat, lalakay, teachers, barangay

kapitan, men and women, young and old. Unfortunately, it was not long after the multi-day session got underway that the proceedings

were

western parliamentary style process. To make matters worse, even though everyone in attendance could speak Ilocano, English predominated, and made non-English speakers extremely reluctant to participate. Only the late Bishop Longid had the courage to stand up

and plead for the use of Ilocano as the lingua franca, but to no avail. As

a result, what could have been the beginning of a very fruitful

Cordillera Regional Assembly dialogue and consultation failed. Lost was the opportunity to build upon the successful model of open discussion, cooperation and collective action by highlanders with varying levels of formal education seen in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Cellophil and Chico issues brought scores of villages together. Instead, the Cordillera Regional Assembly became a forum for the production of legal sounding resolutions and wish lists. This movement away from broader participation, and the domination by traditional public officeholders appears to have characterized the entire CAR experiment. This lost opportunity to replace or at least modify institutions imposed from the outside by foreign regimes with indigenous institutions adjusted to contemporary conditions may be disappointing, but it is important to highlight that there are other neighboring islands in the Pacific where there has been a greater degree of success.

a

an amazing gathering of talent

usurped

by

those

with

formal

educations,

who

imposed

IndigenousIndigenous InstitutionsInstitutions forfor GoGovernancevernance inin thethe PacificPacific IslandsIslands

Given that the Philippines is ordinarily seen as part of the

boundary

somewhat unusual to look toward that part of the world to the east

driven

social

construction

termed

Southeast

Asia,

it

is

34

Indigenous Institutions for Governance

termed the Pacific islands region. Even though the islands of Micronesia had ties with the Philippines historically, including, of course, the former Philippine territory of Guam, these places are often seen as too remote or too insignificant to focus on as a subject of study by Philippinists. Yet I would argue that the Pacific island nations of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia have much to share. While discussion of fascinating comparisons such as social stratification in Polynesia (e.g., Sahlins 1967) and the Cordillera are beyond the scope of this paper, I believe there are some useful lessons to be learned by briefly examining the experience of a nearby Pacific island nation that has attempted to find ways in which to draw upon traditional institutions.

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a nation located south of Guam and divided into four states, with a population of some

133,000. Prior to gaining independence in 1986, it was part of a larger area termed the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. From the conclusion of World War II until independence, the FSM was administered by the United States. The most traditional area of FSM is the State of Yap, which consists of Yap proper as well as a number of

neighboring

outer

islands.

Interestingly,

Yap’s

proximity

to

the

Philippines

(1100

miles)

made

travel

and

trade

between

these

respective island groups feasible via traditional voyaging canoes even before the era when Manila became an entrepot for Western commerce between the Pacific islands and China (Hezel 1983).

Like the Cordillera, Yap over a period of some forty years experienced the imposition of an American-inspired administrative grid. As was true in the Cordillera, American colonial rule in Yap put an end to inter-group warfare, significantly changing the role of traditional “chiefs,” as the Yapese term has been translated into English (Labby 1976). And like the Cordillera, Yap is known for its fine weaving of still popular tapis and ba-ag. What made Yap different from the Cordillera is that prior to gaining independence in 1986, the people of Yap crafted a system of governance which included a fourth branch of government to complement the American-style executive, legislative, and judicial branches. This fourth branch of government was composed of the Council of Pilung and Council of Tamol. The two councils of elders represent the high island of Yap proper and the lower atoll islands respectively. The preamble to the Constitution of Yap, as excerpted below, explicitly makes note of tradition.

Finin

35

TheThe ConstitConstitutionution ofof thethe StateState ofof Yap,Yap, FederatedFederated StatesStates ofof MicronesiaMicronesia

We, the people of the State of Yap

Desire to live in peace and harmony with one another,

our neighbors and our environment

Recognize our traditional heritage and

villages as the foundation of our society and economy

Realize our prosperity and welfare

require an intelligent selection and integration

of modern technology and institutions

Dedicate ourselves to govern our State,

now and forever,

for the general welfare of

all generations to come.

In more specific terms, the Constitution then spells out how the fourth branch of government functions.

Section 16. A certified copy of every bill which shall have passed the Legislature shall be presented to the Council of Pilung and Council of Tamol for consideration. The Councils shall have the power to disapprove a bill which concerns tradition and custom or the role or function of a traditional leader as recognized by tradition and custom. The Councils shall be the judge of the concernment of such bill.

Section 17. The Council of Pilung and the Council of Tamol may disapprove a bill by returning the certified copies of the bill with their objections within thirty days after it is received from the Legislature. A disapproved bill may be amended to meet the Councils’ objections and, if so amended and passed, only one reading being required for such passage, it shall be presented again to the Councils.

The veto power of the councils pertains to any matter within their realm of authority over tradition. In everyday affairs, this power has been interpreted broadly. For example, in one well remembered instance in the 1980s the Council of Pilung vetoed a transportation proposal to run a bus to a certain municipality on the grounds that it was not “traditional” to run a bus to just one municipality and not to

36

Indigenous Institutions for Governance

all the other municipalities (Pinsker, 1997:161). Discussions with younger Yapese suggest that not all the traditional chiefs are paragons of virtue, and some are said to have difficulty distinguishing between the personal and private use of government equipment. On the other hand, they are also known to have a way of keeping the state legislators, a number of whom are American educated lawyers, from forgetting the importance of culture and tradition.

The chief’s authority over land use and influence regarding who may file candidacy papers for elective office suggests that Yap does not offer a perfect parallel for the Cordillera. Nonetheless, the example of Yap, as well as other innovative mechanisms and structures

for drawing upon the traditional institutions in places as diverse as Fiji and the Cook Islands should not be overlooked. The age of modernity that predicated the demise of traditional institutions with wholesale replacement by efficient and effective rational bureaucracies at the direction of popularly elected leaders has time and again been proven

wrong.

To

be

sure,

the

picture is much less linear and far more

complex.

ConclusionConclusion

In April 2000 Cordillera-born anthropologist and Bishop Francisco F. Claver presented a paper to the Third Igorot International Consultation held in Baguio. Having been away from the Cordillera for some years before returning in 1995 to lead the Catholic communities in the Bontoc-Lagawe area, Bishop Claver decried “changes in our people’s way of life, in their culture…” that in his view had very much been for the worse. Using the term “cultural deterioration” Dr. Claver recalled how in 1986, shortly after EDSA, he had visited his relatives in Bontoc and encountered one of his kailian.

Elections had just taken place. An old man, more than 80 years

old, g-stringed, illiterate, uneducated (at least in terms of the education your august selves went through in schools), came by the house and in the course of our conversation he spoke about all the post-election problems roiling the scene—accusations of fraud, vote buying,

tampering

accepted as matter-of-course problems in other parts of the country but had not believed would be rife here too in our mountains.

The man went on to ask the Bishop in the vernacular, “Why do they [the cheating winners] do such things. They lose, that’s it. That’s what the people intended in their voting. Why should they change the people’s will?”

results, etc., post-election troubles which I

with

ballot

Finin

37

Lamenting the passing of “a more forthright and honest way of social interaction” Claver asked the audience, who had gathered from around the globe, “Can we now say that as we Igorots of the Coridilleras have finally become completely ‘integrated’ into the nation’s life [because] we are now full partners and participants in its culture of corruption?” In conclusion the Bishop asked, “Is there an Igorot solution” to the national problem of corruption? “Is there something special to us, a way of thinking, a way of acting, something part of our identity as Igorots, that we can contribute to the nation at large? Let’s find out and let’s give it.” Bishop Claver’s invitation to share those traditions and features of Cordillera culture that can serve to advance a more just and equitable Philippine nation are very much in keeping with Jules De Raedt’s argument that the nation would benefit from adaptation and incorporation of indigenous institutions (1993, vii).

In sum, the evidence put forth by scholars of the Cordillera from many academic disciplines, as well as the experiences found in the young nations of the Pacific islands, strongly suggests that the Cordillera still has much that can be learned and applied from its

precolonial past to benefit contemporary Cordillera society. The demise of the Cordillera Autonomous Region as proposed in the 1980s need not be a requiem for greater indigenization of contemporary social

and

structures.

incorporation of indigenous institutions of governance, the Cordillera may one day serve as an exemplar of civil society and a beacon of hope for the entire Philippine nation. ]

The

prospect

remains

that

through

the

adaptation

of civil society and a beacon of hope for the entire Philippine nation. ] The prospect

38

Indigenous Institutions for Governance

Barton, Roy F.

ReferencesReferences

1949. The Kalingas : Their Institutions and Custom Law.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

1969. Ifugao Law. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Claver, Francisco F.

2000. “Immediate and Long Term Issues Igorots Must Address

Collectively.” Paper presented to the Third Igorot International Consultation, Baguio City, April 28, 2000.

De Raedt, Jules.

1993. Buaya Society. Baguio: Cordillera Studies Center,

University of the Philippines, Monograph No. 5.

Hezel, Francis X.

1983. The First Taint of Civilization: A History of the Caroline

and Marshall Islands in Pre-Colonial Days, 1521-1885. Honolulu: Pacific Islands Monograph Series , no. 1.

Labby, David

1976.

The Demystification of Yap: Dialectics of Culture on a

Micronesian Island. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Pinsker, Eve C.

1997. Traditional Leaders in Micronesia. In White and Linstrom

(eds.) Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Rood, Steven (ed.).

1987. Issues on Cordillera Autonomy: Conference Proceedings.

Baguio: Cordillera Studies Center, University of the Philippines.

Sahlins, Marshall D.

1967. Social Stratification in Polynesia. Seattle: University of

Washington Press.

Scott, William Henry 1985.Cracks in the Parchment Curtain. Quezon City: New Day.

State of Yap

1982. Constitution of the State of Yap, Federated States of

Micronesia.

Sullivan, Rodney J.

1992. Exemplar of Americanism: The Philippine Career of Dean

C. Worcester. Quezon City:New Day.

Finin

39

White, Geoffrey M. and Lamont Lindstrom (eds.)

1997. Chiefs Today: Traditional Pacific Leadership and the

Postcolonial State. Stanford: University Press.

Wilson, Laurence L. (ed.)

1956. Art of Planning Cultural Change: A Study in

Acculturation in the Mountain Province. Baguio: privately printed.

Author’s Name: GERARD FININ Research Fellow, East-West Center Address: East-West Center Honolulu, Hawaii E-mail Address: finin@yahoo.com or FininJ@EastWestCenter.org

PreliminaryPreliminary ReportReport onon thethe StateState ofof DecentralizationDecentralization inin thethe CordilleraCordillera AdministrativeAdministrative RegionRegion (CAR),(CAR), NorthNorthernern LuzonLuzon

Arellano Colongon, Jr.

IntroductionIntroduction

Decentralization or “the dispersal of power and authority from the center to the locally based institutions of the politico-administrative system,” (Brillantes, 1992: 2) gained its currency as a response to problems caused by over-centralized political and administrative systems in many developing countries trying to institute reforms. Efforts to decentralize as a mechanism for improving governance may be found in the Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as in other parts of the world.

In the Philippines, the 1991 Local Government Code or Republic Act 7160 signed in October 1991 was a significant legislation as it set up the legal framework for the operationalization of the principles of “local autonomy” and “decentralization” in the Philippines. It sought to “institutionalize people empowerment through NGO participation in local governance” (Brillantes, 1992: 1)

Since then, there have been efforts to document and track the

progress

practitioners alike were interested to know about the unfolding saga of Local Government Units (LGUs) slowly trying to experiment on the powers given to them so as to improve the quality of life in their communities. There was also curiosity about the prospects of partnerships between the LGUs and the private sector (NGOs, and POs), given the history of mutual suspicion between them.

In 1997, Steven Rood wrote a paper “as part of an on-going

effort to understand experiences at the local level under the 1991 Local

Government Code”

on the subject conducted by many local agencies and offices in the Philippines 1 and the “need to combine methodologies in order to arrive at general conclusions” (Rood, 1997: 17). He added that the way to

of

decentralization

and

local

autonomy.

Scholars

and

(Rood, 1997).

He noted the wealth of case studies

1 Rood refers to case studies done by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Asian Institute of Management (through the Galing Pook Awards), Local Government Academy of t he Department of Interior and Local Government (LGA -DILG), Department of Health (DOH), Caucus of Development NGOs (CODE-NGO), Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs (CSPPA, ADMU), ARD-GOLD, as well as the surveys done by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), AIM, and ARD-GOLD.

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41

overcome the limitations of the methods is “to try to get results in several ways” (Rood, 1997:17).

The present paper is an attempt to contribute to (1) efforts at

tracking the progress of decentralization in various parts of the Philippines. Specifically, this paper aims to (2) make a preliminary 2 observation on the state of decentralization in the Cordillera

Administrative

Region

(CAR)

in

Northern

Luzon,

Philippines.

Specifically,

the

paper

focuses

on

describing,

particularly,

the

initiatives taken and the constraints faced by LGUs in terms of (a) Financial Status and Revenue Generation; (b) Devolved Social Services-Agriculture, Social Welfare, Health, and Environment and Natural Resources; and (c) Citizen Participation. Lastly, (3) this paper discusses some insights on the important elements that make decentralization work at the local level.

BackgroundBackground ofof thethe StudyStudy

Democracy,Democracy, GovernanceGovernance andand DecentralizationDecentralization

Studies about democratization have traditionally focused on elections and public opinion. In a democracy, we expect election results to reflect the choice of the electorate, while we find congruence between public opinion and policy. Aside from these, democratic theory accounts for other indicators of system responsiveness that may include cooperative and collaborative activities involving the government and civil society. Thus the proper objects of inquiry for understanding democracy are the incidences of “popular participation in the process of governance between elections” (Rood, 1998: 17) which are best observed at the local level.

Moreover, William Boyer said that “if political science is the

study of power in society, we should reach beyond government to also study and teach about non-governmental institutions that participate in

the processes of governance” (Boyer, 1990:53).

“to prepare for the 21st century, political scientists need to study the shift of power beyond government to governance…and revise our curricula, teaching, and research agendas accordingly” (Boyer, 1990:53). These observations were made a decade ago to point to the growing participation of the non-government institutions in governance and to the fact that the political scientist should pay closer

He further stated that

2 The writer considers this preliminary in the sense of the limited number of cases considered in this study. See notes on method.

42

State of Decentralization

attention to these institutions as important actors in the study of government and politics.

Boyer was making reference to the growing interdependence and integration in the international arena but there is value to his general observation about the growing role of non-state or non- government sectors in the process of governance, especially at the local level. He observed that “formulation and implementation of public policy seem increasingly to be undertaken by non-government institutions …” (Boyer, 1990: 52). He also noted a “trend-setting era of privatization, free markets, contracting out, structural adjustments, decentralizations … sustainable development, empowerment and participation” (Boyer, 1990: 52).

Governance is “the action of government plus its interaction with its non-governmental partners in the process of governing—in their collective relationship with the economy and public policy” (Boyer, 1990:51). It is the complex of “ the institutions, processes and traditions related to issues of public concern which determine how power is exercised, how decisions are taken, how citizens have their say” (IOG, 1999).

We note in these definitions the value of non-government actors as well as how citizens are involved in the governance process.

The first signals the need to pay attention to the role played by NGOs,

POs, and the private sector.

the arena where we could observe more clearly the dynamics of government responsiveness to citizen’s needs, and the possible interactions or improved service delivery. The latter is one reason why local governance is always tied to discussion of decentralization in related literature, decentralization being “the systematic and rational dispersal of power, authority, and responsibility…from the national to the local governments” (Brillantes, 997: 2).

The second brings us to the local setting,

LocalLocal GovernanceGovernance andand DecentralizationDecentralization inin thethe DevelopingDeveloping AreasAreas

Citing the World Bank Report in 1995, Director Elena Panganiban of the Local Government Academy said that “of the 75 developing countries with populations over 5 million, all but 12 have initiated some form of transfer of power to local governments” (Panganiban, 1999: 1). And indeed, reports and documentation of the progress of some of these efforts are available, like the studies on the experiences of the Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Harry Blair (1997) studied decentralization in Bolivia and noted that when the Popular Participation Law (PPL) was passed in

Colongon

43

1994, it provided the framework in democratic local governance. “Bolivia’s traditionally centralized political system now has 311 municipalities with elected mayors and councils. It has automatic transfer of some 20% of national tax revenues to the municipalities. And it has a system of popularly chosen Vigilance Committees charged with overseeing the councils. These Vigilance Committees have incorporated traditional local organizations of peasants, indigenous peoples, and urban dwellers (Blair, 1997: 1).

Blair discussed a number of issues that arise out of Bolivia’s experience with democratic local governance, namely (1) representatives, (2) inclusiveness, (3) governance and civil society, and (4) limits and reverses in decentralization.

(1) Representativeness. While representativeness seems assured via the Vigilance Committees and their component Community Organizations, these committees being smaller than the municipalities and deemed closer to their constituents with elections held every two years (compared with elections for mayors and councils that are done every five years), the frequent elections diminish their effectiveness since members of these local governance bodies will generally lack the technical skills for planning and oversight (Blair, 1997: 2).

small

municipalities and Vigilance Committees assuring the inclusion of many indigenous strata and poorer urban areas in the political system. However, participation does not guarantee their political voice given such obstacles as incompetence, mismanagement, elite control, corruption, mistiming, and bad luck (Blair, 1997: 2).

(3) Governance and Civil Society. Pluralistic politics is generally absent from the local scene despite the presence of organizations which mostly resolve conflicts for their members rather than serving as civil society bodies advocating for competing agendas. Thus, transformation into civil society will be slow in coming (Blair, 1997: 3).

(4) Decentralization Limits and Reverses. Professionals remain

on the central government payroll while their functions have been

placed under local control, resulting in divided loyalties.

also recognizable tendencies toward recentralization (Blair, 1997: 3).

Blair concludes that success in decentralization rests upon political will, the pre-existing structure that is incorporated into the new system, donor efforts planned in parallel with the host country

(2)

Inclusiveness.

The

PPL

established

many

There are

44

State of Decentralization

plan for reform, and media support in effectively promoting civic education (Blair, 1997: 3).

George Peterson (1997) also wrote about Latin American experiences (Peterson, 1997). Focusing on the intergovernmental finance, he wrote his paper around three main challenges to making decentralization succeed: Establishing the National Fiscal Framework, Moving Government Closer to the People, and Improving Municipal Service Delivery (Peterson, 1997: 3). He said that there are two fundamental propositions embraced by most decentralization initiatives, viz. (1) decentralization can strengthen democratic participation in government, and (2) decentralization can improve the quality and coverage of local public services (Peterson, 1997: 1).

Peterson

says

that

it

remains

to

be

seen

whether

the

decentralization

initiatives

in

Latin

America

would

prove

durable.

Nevertheless, he talked about distinguishing characteristics of the initiatives covered in the study: (1) they place greater emphasis on

practical service delivery, using citizen satisfaction of services as a

measure;

governments which may be sustainable, e.g. “the central government

concentrates on solidifying the economic and fiscal framework of the country, and the subnational governments assume more responsibility

for

decentralization

experiments in citizen participation in governance” (Peterson, 1997:31).

In his concluding remarks, Peterson cites Putnam’s study in Italy 3 showing the “high correlation between effectiveness of institutions in service delivery, citizen trust in these institutions, and citizen participation” (Peterson, 1997:32). He commented that that “decentralization is one of many reforms taking place in the way the public sector is managed in the (Latin American) region. Specific decentralization proposals should be judged according to how well they serve these deeper purposes of effective service performance and democratic participation in governance” (Peterson, 1997:32).

of

(2) there is a division of labor between national and local

service

delivery

has

by

the

private

a

sector;

(3)

the

wave

of

produced

remarkable

variety

local

Judith Tendler searched for explanations or common themes found in what were considered as “good performance” cases in local

government in Brazil. She came up with five (5), namely: (1) government workers showed unusual dedication to their jobs; (2) state governments supported such efforts through information campaigns

and building sense of mission around the programs;

(3) workers

3 Putnam, Robert. Making Democracy Work: Civic Tradition in Modern Italy, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1993.

Colongon

45

carried out a larger variety of tasks than usual, and often voluntarily out of a vision of the public good; (4) despite greater discretion which would seem to provide more opportunities for rent-seeking misbehaviors, the workers performed better with pressures for accountability that did not come from supervisors or formal monitoring bodies but from the information campaigns; and (5) decentralization is not simply a dynamic between local government and civil society, but a three-way dynamic involving activist central and state governments, helping create an environment conducive for better governance (Tendler, 1997:14-16)

Thompson, et al. (1997) studied th e case of Haiti. Decentralization is one of the two institutional innovations incorporated in the 1987 Haitian Constitution, the other being separation of powers, both of which are departures from past practices (Thompson, et al., 1997). The unitary state is kept but the new constitution “prescribes decentralization of decision-making authority and action capacity to three subnational levels: the communal section, the commune, and the department” (Thompson, et al., 1997: 2). Decentralization involves (1) devolution which is the transfer of power and authority from higher to lower level jurisdictions (e.g. national to communal or communal section governments); and (2) deconcentration which is the downward shift of operational decision-making authority within ministries and other central government agencies…(Thompson, et al., 1997: 1).

of

decentralization in Haiti, he observed that “capital mobilization strategies commonly employed focus on short-term gain rather than investment to promote long-term growth (Thompson, et al., 1997: 4). Moreover, “many Haitians’ see politics as a zero-sum game (“If you win, I must lose”) and thus does not predispose them to collaborate with each other on joint efforts (Thompson, et al., 1997: 4)

In

Thompson’s

preliminary

evaluation

of

the

context

In the study of the Haitian decentralization efforts, Thompson,

et al. compared Haitian experiences with those from the Philippines, Latin America (Bolivia) and Caribbean (Mali and Madagascar)

countries.

Haiti are also essentially similar to the social, economic and political

forces that have fostered/resisted decentralization in other LAC countries (Thompson, et al., 1997: 32).

Not unlike other LAC during the eighties, Haitians have concentrated their initial energies on debating and developing the legal, fiscal, constitutional, and political arrangements that must be put

They said that “the forces for/against decentralization in

46

State of Decentralization

in place within the state, among the various levels of government. Similar to other LAC nations, the Haitians’ initial strategy for decentralization has focused on dividing the pie of political power and public resources… As in other countries of the region, (this) misperception of decentralization is accompanied by the idea that decentralization will automatically create winners and losers…” (Thompson, et al., 1997: 32).

The study concluded by discussing the “themes and options” for Haiti based on the practices in other countries cited, emphasizing that the experiences included in the report “should be seen as ideas, possible leads, and food for thought” in Haiti’s pursuit for decentralization and better governance (Thompson, et al., 1997: 44).

One of the interesting things to look at in these studies is the trend found across different experiences. As Tim Campbell notes, “the new governance model is characterized by a new leadership style, more professional staffing in executive branches, revenue increases; and much stronger participation in public choice making” (Campbell, 1997: 3).

DecentralizationDecentralization andand GoveGovernancernance inin thethe PhilippinesPhilippines

Various works on decentralization in the Philippines describe a tradition of centralized government in the country. In Brillantes’ (1997) description:

Ever since the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521, the Philippine islands have always been ruled from the national capital, Manila, to a point that because of the excessive centralization of powers in the capital city, it has been derisively referred to as “imperial Manila”. Almost five hundred years later, the inertia of centralization brought about by the imperatives of deeply rooted administrative and bureaucratic procedures, hierarchal and organizational arrangements, exacerbated by a culture predisposed to dependency and centralized arrangements, and mindsets that look condescendingly upon local level institutions in the belief that “the center knows best”, vestiges of an overcentralized politico-administrative structure remain. If anything, it has been a difficult task to undo centuries-old centrally oriented institutions, structures, procedures, practices, behaviors and culture (Brillantes, 1997: 2).

Decentralization is seen as an attempt to address a “standing and deeply-rooted problem of the Philippine politico-administrative system, that of over-centralization” (Brillantes, 1992:2). This is what Republic Act 7160, better known as the 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines, is all about. Brillantes (1992) provides an overview of decentralization. He wrote:

Colongon

47

In most general terms, decentralization is the dispersal of power and authority from the center to the locally based institutions of the politico-administrative system…it operationalizes democratization through increased citizen participation; it decongests central government and does away with red tape.

There are two major modes of decentralization: deconcentration (administrative decentralization) which is the delegation of functions, power, and authority to the field offices of the national government units; and debureaucratization which harnesses the energies of the private sector to participate in local governance primarily through privatization and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (Brillantes, 1992:2-3).

While the Philippines is legally a unitary state, it is divided into 76 provinces, some 1400 municipalities and 66 cities. The 1991 Local Government Code devolved substantial power, responsibility and resources to the local governments so that it practically “issues a revolution in governance at the local level” (Rood, 1998:2-4).

Among the major features of the code relevant to the present study are the following:

1. There is an automatic fund transfer from the national government to the LGUs through the LGUs share in the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) which now stands at 40%. In addition to this, the code gives LGUs more power to generate resources. For instance, LGUs have more autonomy in the use of property taxes, levying of business taxes, availing of loans and credits, floating of bonds, and engaging in BOT schemes with the private sector.

2. The code also devolved the responsibility for delivering basic social services including health, social welfare services, environment, and agriculture, among others.

3. Mechanisms for citizen participation in local governance were provided for with the institutionalization of local special bodies with mandatory seats for NGOs and POs. Such bodies which primarily act as advisory bodies include the: Local Development Council, Local Health Board, Local School Board, Peace and Order Council, People’s Law Enforcement Board, and the Pre-Bids and Awards Committee.

48

State of Decentralization

AA NoteNote onon MethodMethod

This paper utilizes data from the regional reports I have generated from cases in the Cordillera Administrative Region as part of the Rapid Field Appraisal (RFA) of Decentralization in the Philippines in 1996 to 1999. 4

The RFA focuses on the local perspective. Consultants and researchers familiar with their regions observe, investigate, and report on local opinions and experiences of the decentralization process (ARD/GOLD, 1999:17). “It yields very different information than do conventional evaluations that rely on reports to central government from government field representatives, or studies which attempt to portray local reality by interpreting what should be happening as a result of policies…emanating from the center. Instead, RFAs emphasize yielding the field perspective as feedback to the progress of decentralization (ARD/GOLD, 1999:19). The latest round of RFA in 1999 covered 16 regions, 40 provinces, 27 cities, and 90 municipalities. Interviews (using Key Informant Interviewing and Focus Group Discussion) were conducted (ARD/GOLD, 1999:19).

While the sample may count for a reading of the national situation, the number of LGUs covered for the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is limited in number, that for the moment would allow tentative formulations about decentralization in the region. These tentative formulations could start a dialogue for understanding the state of decentralization in the region. The LGUs included in this appraisal belong to what is called the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR):

4 The RFA is part of the Governance and Local Democracy (GOLD) Project and was made possible through the support provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

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49

LGU

Income Classification (as of August 1999)

Abra (Province)

3

rd

Bangued

2

nd

Pidigan

5

th

Benguet (Province)

3

rd

La Trinidad

2

nd

Itogon

1

st

Tuba

3

rd

Baguio

Highly urbanized

ResultsResults andand DiscussionDiscussion

To describe the state of decentralization, this study will focus on the initiatives undertaken as well as constraints confronting the LGUs as they attempt to implement decentralization in various aspects of local governance.

FinancialFinancial StatusStatus andand RevenueRevenue GenerationGeneration

The financial data presented here is limited to the years 1992- Given this limitation, it is still possible to draw some trends

(b) the proportion

of IRA to actual and estimated budget; and (c) the net income of the LGUs.

Table 1 reflects the percentage increases in the budget for most

of the LGUs.

exception because of a slight decrease in their budget. Previous to the 1991 LGC, the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for LGUs---the amount that goes to the LGUs from revenues generated while the rest

With the implementation of

the code, the IRA was increased to 30% in 1992, 35% in 1993, 40% in

goes to the national treasury---was 11%.

regarding the (a) percentage change in the budget;

1997.

The municipalities of Tuba and Bangued are the only

With relatively the same amount of revenue generated, the LGUs

noted significant increases in their budget in 1992 when IRA was

increased from 11% to 30%.

succeeding years with the slight increases in IRA starting from 1993.

Thus, the slight movements from 1994 to 1997 may be seen as a part of

1994.

These increases also slowed down in the

50

State of Decentralization

the general “leveling off” of revenues that have gone to the LGUs since

1992.

Table1.

BUDGET CHANGES FROM 1992-1997

   

Percentage Change in Budget

LGU

92-93

93-94

94-95

95-96

95-97

1997 Budget Est

Abra (3 rd )

92.0%

28.0%

8.0%

7.0%

25.25%

149,021,023

Bangued(2 nd )

86.0%

28.0%

19.0&

30.0%

-7.73%

32,378,611

Pidigan (5 th )

N/A

58.0%

-7.0%

14.0%

3.75%

8,047,398

Benguet (3 rd )

61.0%

80.0%

10.0%

16.0%

27.6%

187,622,829

Trinidad(2

nd )

59.0%

29.0%

8.0%

7.0%

15.99%

33,713,279

Itogon (1 st )

65.0%

37.0%

-3.0%

-14.0%

2.59%

34,000,000*

Tuba (3 rd )

40.0%

37.0%

20.0%

28.0%

-0.89%

22,211,776*

Baguio City

33.0%

25.0%

-3.0%

23.0%

14.0%

320,738,000

AVERA GE

62.3%

40.3%

6.5%

14.0%

9.93%

************

Modified based on Table 1 in S.A. Rood’s 5th RFA, expanded by including 96-97 change in budget. *Including share in National Wealth

Table 2 shows the proportion of Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) in the overall budget of the LGUs. There is a general downtrend at the provincial level, although Abra is still heavily reliant on the IRA compared with Benguet by 1997. La Trinidad and Bangued maintained their partial reliance at the same level as Baguio City. Pidigan appears to be the most reliant on the IRA.

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51

Table 2. IRA IN PROPORTION TO ACTUAL EXPENDITURE

LGU

1993

1994

1995

1996 est

1997 Est

Abra (Province)

95.4%

131.4%

124.0%

93.1%

96.0%

Bangued

53.3%

60.2%

43.7%

46.0%

49.66%

Pidigan

96.1%

94.3%

98.0%

100.7%

98.08%

Benguet (Prov)

104.1%

87.7%

101.2%

74.9%

77.13%

Trinidad

50.0%

55.0%

58.9%

53.8%

55.1%

Itogon

98.4%

105.5%

79.0%

79.7

82.4%

Tuba

96.7%

90.4%

93.3%

70.5%

89.17%

Baguio City

55.55%

74.3%

63.2%

49.2%

50.51%

The fact that the towns of Bangued and La Trinidad are at the

same level as Baguio City gives clues as to the capabilities of the said

LGUs to generate resources outside of the IRA.

to be a business, educational, and tourist center in the region. It is thus expected that Baguio City has resources to mobilize, and this is yet without the implementation of the new tax code, which was rendered null and void by courts due to some technicality. A new tax code would increase the city’s sources of revenue even more.

It is an advantage that the towns of Bangued and La Trinidad are the capital towns of their respective provinces, where most of the

business activities are located. But it must be pointed out that without innovations in the implementations of existing laws, the revenues

For instance, collectors in the town of

Bangued are given incentives to ensure greater collection coverage. This ensures additional revenue aside from income from the operation of a Public Market (which was constructed from a loan from the Philippine National Bank [PNB]). The town of La Trinidad is maximizing its local enterprises, like the trading post and the new public market. Rental fees ensure maintenance and additional income. Nationally, it has been noted that “local governments continue their gradual increase in locally generated revenues as a percentage in total receipt” (ARD 9th RFA Synopsis, 1999). If we judge the figures in 1997 using 1993 as the base, we could say that the trends in financial status

would not come naturally.

Baguio City is known

52

State of Decentralization

in the cases from the Cordillera Administrative Region approximate the general observation at the national level.

Table 3. NET TAX* OF LGUs IN CAR

LGU

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997 Est

Abra

P65,559,834.36

P95,823,292.34

P102,521,400

P105,131,974

P144,763,023

Bangued

P9,676,086.18

P13,568,452.47

P13,512,340.69

P17,436,083

20,792,805

Pidigan

P3,456,323.35

P5,018,825.99

P5,556,317.15

P6,112,399

P7,935,148

Benguet

P80,645,833.32

P111,634,607.30