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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

First Printing

September 2001

Cordillera Studies Center, 2001

All rights reserved. No part of this publication


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Victoria Rico-Costina and


Marion-Loida S. Difuntorum

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those of the authors and
do not necessarily reflect those of the
Cordillera Studies Center.

FOREWORD
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 20th 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 disciplinesfrom 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 readerwhether
scholar, researcher, student, policy makera 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

iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This
three-volume
publication
entitled
Towards
Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera: A Review of Research on
History, Governance, Resources, Institutions and Living Traditions
contains papers, posters, commentaries and discussions of the 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.
We are deeply grateful to:
The plenary speakers: Albert Bacdayan, a resident of the USA,
who graciously accepted our invitation that he addresses this
conference, and Gilda Rivero.
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 Bageo, 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 conferences 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 Institutions; Alejandro Ciencia for Governance and Public Policy;
Ofelia Giron for Environment and Resources: Natural Science Issues;
Lorelei Mendoza for Environment and Resources:Social Science Issues;
Julius Mendoza and Teofina Rapanut for Indigenous Knowledge, World
Views and Philosophy; and Erlinda Palaganas for 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.
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

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Acknowledgement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

iii
v
vii

Ambivalence Toward the Igorots: An Interpretive


Discussion of a Colonial Legacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Albert Bacdayan

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.

40

LOCAL HISTORIES OF THE CORDILLERA

Beyond Orientalism: Alternative Writings on


Cordillera History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ma. Nela Florendo

71

Prospects, Perspectives and Problems of


Chinese Studies in the Cordillera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Anavic Bagamaspad

81

Mankayan Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology:


Insights from an Exploratory Project. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Leah Enkiwe-Abayao

93

vii

LOCAL INSTITUTIONS

Page

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: Mayoyaos 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 Songs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Jimmy Fong
Say What? II: Insights Into Baguio-Benguet at the
Turn of the Last Century Through the
Process of Dramatic Writing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Linda Grace Cario

COMMENTARIES

Reaction on the Autonomy Issue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Edna Tabanda
Reaction on Local Institutions:
Common Grounds in Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Elena Regpala

viii

211

226

239

242

Page

MODERATOR'S REPORT
On Governance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alejandro Ciencia, Jr.

DISCUSSION

247

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

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

269

ix

Ambivalence Toward The Igorots:


An Interpretive Discussion of a Colonial Legacy
Albert S. Bacdayan

Introduction
It is incredible to contemplate that the indigenous ethnolinguistic 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 countrySpain 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
1

people according to L. L. Wilson , 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 fairminded 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.

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 ones 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
2

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


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

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 Keesings ethnohistorical
hypothesis is correct, that the separation between the indigenous
inhabitants of the Cordillera from the lowlanders is a phenomenon of
3
the Spanish era .
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.

The Spaniards in the Cordillera


The colonial career of Spain in the Gran Cordillera Central has
been graphically portrayed in William H. Scotts noteworthy book, The
4
Discovery of the Igorots . 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

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.

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

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.
Further, it was charged that they prevented other Filipinos from
becoming Christians, kidnapped baptized children to be raised as
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.

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
expeditions 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.

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.

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
6
guided by rules and duly constituted authorities . This meant the
relocation of converts in towns or settlements. In this sense then,
conversion meant a radical break from ones 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 19th 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.

For a discussion of the reduccion of lowland Filipinos, consult John L. Phelans


noteworthy book, The Hispanization of the Philippines, Madison: Wisconsin University Press,
1959.

Bacdayan

The attempted reduccion and the conquest of the Country of the


Igorots
(Pais del Igorrotes) during the 19th 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
7

subjugation hurt Spanish pride as well as cost them some lives , 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
8

groups -Pangasinanes, Ilocanoes, Pampangoes and Tagalogs . 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.

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.

An Interpretive Discussion of Colonial Legacy

The Americans in the Cordillera


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
9
prejudiced . The other consideration was the search for a summer
capital and site for a sanatorium for the personnel of the emergent
10

American colonial government . 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.
Further reinforcing the negative stereotype
among the
lowland Filipinos was the Igorot exhibition
at the Saint Louis
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
be seen by the American people as a reason for not giving
independence to the Philippines. What should be taken into

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

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 Baguios
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
to avoid Igorot resistance on religious grounds because
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

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
11
suspiciously like divide and rule . 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 with a sea outlet in the port of
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 19th 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 nonChristians 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.

Conclusion
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. Frys 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, Worcesters,
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 modified or even
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. At the very least, it ought to give reason to the Igorots to
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
12
name of pride.

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

Authors Name: ALBERT BACDAYAN


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

CORDILLERA
AUTONOMY
AND
LOCAL
GOVERNANCE
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 Field Appraisals done for the
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 Failure of Autonomy for the Cordillera Region,


Northern Luzon, Philippines
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. In the
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. 1, 2000] Despite the wrangling by, and among, Cordillera
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
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. Four months
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. The
central object in hermeneutics is the text. Regarded as the fact itself,
rather than as merely a record of facts, the text is interpreted in order to
appropriate (or get at) the meaning conveyed by it. The application of
hermeneutics to the study of social subjects is done in two ways: first,
in the study of textswritten materialpertaining 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 outits syntax, grammar, composition. Reading and

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 Peoples
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
new 1986 Constitution. On the other hand, the same liberal politics of
Cory Aquinos presidency and the euphoria of the post-EDSA moment
was the context of the Cory governments peace negotiations with
Father Conrado Balwegs 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: the Cordillera Peoples Alliance [CPA], the Cordillera
Peoples 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 governments
agenda in 1986the CPAhad 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

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. My reading in 1990 was
that this position indicated a reaction to the fiercely ideological
positions of the CPA and CPLA.
I put forward three points regarding the CPA position in 1990.
The first was that the CPA initially argued for autonomy on the
premise of a novel construction of a Cordillera identity, calling it
Kaigorotan. As indicated by the CPAs 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.
Secondly, I pointed out, in regard to the CPAs 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. This was a patent fiction, to the extent
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
peoples 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.

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 CPAs claim of Kaigorotan is
paralleled by the CPLAs 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
that warranted concern. Bodong, which, strictly speaking, refers to an
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. At its most innocuous sense, bodong,
as used by the CPLA, may be taken as symbolic of indigenous
institutions. However, there is a second, more ominous reading of the
CPLAs 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 oppositeimplying the constant
threat of a worst case scenario. Earlier this year, when the fate of
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 CBAdCordillera Bodong
Administration) in the Cordillera Administrative Region set up by EO
220 was a sore point that did not aid the CPLAs 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.

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 [BenguetIfugao-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 selfrighteous 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
practically all but the CPLA partisans. This distrust was definitely a
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. The proposal for establishing integrated regions defined by
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 as consistent with a model of federal autonomy
which combines regional autonomy with local autonomy, (or
autonomy within autonomy) to give due recognition to cultural
differences within the Cordillera. (P. Guyguyon, August 25, 1987; Z.H.
Pawid, April 30, 1988)
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. The response of those who


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 project such as national
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 regionbeyond 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
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
political leaders from a particular culture area. 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
get their act right if there should be a third time around. Enrile was
quoted to say, I want the people to tell me if they want something to
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. It is clearly
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
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. The grant of autonomy based on a distinctive heritage itself
recognizes the indigenous practice with regard to land rights; hence,
the provision on titling is not only gratuitous, it is a theoretical
perversion of the very basis of the grant of autonomy. Another
gratuitous provision is found in Art. XI, Sec. 7

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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, proenvironment, 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
defining the distinctive Cordillera heritage. 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:
Provided, finally, That when
within the ancestral domain,
concession, shall be approved
consultation with the cultural
added]

the natural resources are located


the permit, license, franchise or
by the Cordillera Assembly after
community concerned. [emphasis

A stronger, more categorical provision for consent might


inspire more confidence in the declared intent to honor indigenous
culture. In sum, it appears that the proposed Regional Government is
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
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 entitlement to an equitable share in the proceeds of the
utilization and development of the natural resources within their
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

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.
Unfortunately, the second proposed
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. What was diluted in R.A.
6766 has been deleted in R.A. 8438.
In short, until an authentic discourse is pursuedone that is
anthropologically rather than ideologically or bureaucraticlegalistically determined, or politically driven, the project of
Cordillera regional autonomy will remain frustrated.

Casambre

27

References
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.

Authors 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

Indigenous Institutions for Governance in the Cordillera


and Beyond: Requiem or Reappraisal?
Gerard A. Finin

Introduction
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
1985). It is for this reason that, despite the recent demise of 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 governments 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 Aquinos 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,

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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 ethnolinguistic 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.
What made the idea of a Cordillera Regional Assembly
remarkable was that ever since American colonization of 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).

Previous Cordillera Experiences with Indigenous Institutions


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 caao to
advance American colonial rule during Worcesters 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 endthe imposition of western institutions such as majority rule
that had little legitimacy in the eyes of local residents.

The Igorot Acculturation Conferences


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 Provinces 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
with Laurence Larry Wilson, a long-time American resident of
Baguio who was variously (and accurately) described as a minister,
miner, lumberman, journalist, and history buff. Wilson frequently
expressed the view that highlanders had unfortunately adopted
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

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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.

Rejection of Indigenous Institutions by


Highlander Political Leaders
Highlander political leaders during the 1950s and 1960s such as
Bado Dangwa, Dennis Molintas, and Alfredo Gay-a-gay Lam-en
were acutely aware of the stigma associated with being Mountain
Province Igorots. (See Professor Bacdayans 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
Philippines political structure. Rather, the overwhelming consensus
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
familyyou 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 courtsthat is why we have courts
(personal interview, September 15, 1988).
The perspective held by the Cordilleras 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
an amazing gathering of talent 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 usurped by those with formal educations, who imposed a
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.

Indigenous Institutions for Go vernance in the Pacific Islands


Given that the Philippines is ordinarily seen as part of the
boundary driven social construction termed Southeast Asia, it is
somewhat unusual to look toward that part of the world to the east

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, Yaps 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.

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35

The Constitution of the State of Yap,


Federated States of Micronesia
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 chiefs 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.

Conclusion
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
peoples 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 sceneaccusations of fraud, vote buying,
tampering with ballot results, etc., post-election troubles which I
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, thats it. Thats
what the people intended in their voting. Why should they change the
peoples will?

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
nations 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? Lets find out and lets give it. Bishop Clavers 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 Raedts 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
structures. The prospect remains that through the adaptation and
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. ]

38

Indigenous Institutions for Governance

References
Barton, Roy F.
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

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.

Authors Name: GERARD FININ


Research Fellow, East-West Center
Address: East-West Center
Honolulu, Hawaii
E-mail Address: finin@yahoo.com or FininJ@EastWestCenter.org

39

Preliminary Report on the State of Decentralization in


the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR),
Northern Luzon
Arellano Colongon, Jr.

Introduction
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 of decentralization and local autonomy.
Scholars and
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 (Rood, 1997). He noted the wealth of case studies
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

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.

Colongon

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 preliminary2
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.

Background of the Study


Democracy, Governance and Decentralization
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). He further stated that
to prepare for the 21st century, political scientists need to study the
shift of power beyond government to governanceand 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

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 nongovernment 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 governingin
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 second brings us to the local setting,
the arena where we could observe more clearly the dynamics of
government responsiveness to citizens 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 responsibilityfrom the national to
the local governments (Brillantes, 997: 2).

Local Governance and Decentralization in the Developing Areas


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.


Bolivias 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 Bolivias
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).
(2) Inclusiveness.
The PPL established many 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. There are
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

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; (2) there is a division of labor between national and local
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 service delivery by the private sector;
(3) the wave of
decentralization has produced a remarkable variety of local
experiments in citizen participation in governance (Peterson, 1997:31).
In his concluding remarks, Peterson cites Putnams study in
Italy3 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).
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 the 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).
In Thompsons preliminary evaluation of the context 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 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. They said that the forces for/against decentralization in
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

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 Haitis 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).

Decentralization and Governance in the Philippines


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 systemit 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, Peoples
Law Enforcement Board, and the Pre-Bids and Awards
Committee.

48

State of Decentralization

A Note on Method
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 policiesemanating 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):

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).

Colongon

LGU

Income Classification (as


of August 1999)

Abra (Province)

3rd

Bangued

2nd

Pidigan

5th

Benguet (Province)

3rd

La Trinidad

2nd

Itogon

1st

Tuba

3rd

Baguio

49

Highly urbanized

Results and Discussion


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.

Financial Status and Revenue Generation


The financial data presented here is limited to the years 19921997. Given this limitation, it is still possible to draw some trends
regarding the (a) percentage change in the budget; (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. The municipalities of Tuba and Bangued are the only
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
goes to the national treasury---was 11%. With the implementation of
the code, the IRA was increased to 30% in 1992, 35% in 1993, 40% in
1994. 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%. These increases also slowed down in the
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

50

State of Decentralization

the general leveling off of revenues that have gone to the LGUs since
1992.

Table1. BUDGET CHANGES FROM 1992-1997


Perce ntage Change in Budget
LGU

92-93

93-94

94-95

95-96

95-97

92.0%

28.0%

8.0%

7.0%

25.25%

149,021,023

86.0%

28.0%

19.0&

30.0%

-7.73%

32,378,611

Pidigan (5 )

N/A

58.0%

-7.0%

14.0%

3.75%

8,047,398

Benguet (3rd)

61.0%

80.0%

10.0%

16.0%

27.6%

187,622,829

15.99%

33,713,279

Abra (3rd)
nd

Bangued(2 )
th

nd

Trinidad(2 )

1997 Budget Est

59.0%

29.0%

8.0%

7.0%

st

Itogon (1 )

65.0%

37.0%

-3.0%

-14.0%

2.59%

34,000,000*

Tuba (3rd)

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. Roods 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.

Colongon

51

Table 2. IRA IN PROPORTION TO ACTUAL EXPENDITURE


LGU

1993

1994

1995

Abra (Province)

95.4%

131.4%

124.0%

Bangued

53.3%

60.2%

Pidigan

96.1%

94.3%

104.1%

Benguet (Prov)

1996 est

1997 Est

93.1%

96.0%

43.7%

46.0%

49.66%

98.0%

100.7%

98.08%

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%

55.55%

74.3%

63.2%

49.2%

50.51%

Baguio City

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. Baguio City is known
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 citys 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
would not come naturally. 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

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
Abra

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997 Est
P144,763,023

P65,559,834.36

P95,823,292.34

P102,521,400

P105,131,974

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

P120,510,853,70

P134,002,576

P164,942,012

Trinidad

P13,233,000.28

P16,461, 409.63

P19,386,199.56

P21,895,025

P28,994,279

Itogon

P23,076,566.32

P24,595,200.94

P28,035,200.94

P31,808,508

P32,929,900

Tuba

P11,503,592.90

P14,792,991.67

P17,989,348.83

P21,277,836

P21,398,776

Baguio
City

P138,585,436.2

168,947,544.20

P213,971,932.8

230,570,340

P263,144,826

*Computed as total tax revenue less the cost of collection and operation of Assessor and
Treasurer.

Deducting the expenses of the assessors office and a


proportion of the treasurers expenses that go directly to tax collection,
Table 3 shows that there is generally a steady increase in the net tax
collected by the LGU from 1993 to 1996 and the estimated collection for
1997.
As to the initiatives taken, most LGUs have upgraded and
amended their existing tax and revenue codes by 1996. The experience
in tax collection has been positive, even with increased assessment of
real property. The municipality of Tuba has tapped new sources of
revenue like granting of tricycle franchises. The Baguio Water District
(BWD) now pays Tuba for the tapping of its water sources (although
further negotiations are still being arranged with the Benguet Electric
Cooperative [BENECO] for additional payments). In Baguio City, the
council passed a resolution demanding payment from the Philippine
Export Zone Authority (PEZA) when it stopped paying Baguios share
in national wealth. In Abra, the governor and the provincial treasurer
initiated the formation of the provincial tax collection and enforcement
team to improve tax collection. In La Trinidad, barangays may sell
community tax certificates and get 45% of the tax collection when
accredited by the municipal treasurer.

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53

One constraint in resource generation could be in terms of the


non-implementation of tax laws. This was experienced by Baguio City
when it had to suspend the then newly-approved revenue code in 1996
which was supposed to be implemented for 1997 due to pressures from
the business sector.
The pressure was so strong that the
implementation of the revenue code was suspended until it was
declared null and void by the courts due to a technicality. (It did not
publish in a widely read paper within the prescribed period of time
after enactment into law). As a result, the city incurred an estimated
deficit of P30 million in 1997 since the budget for that year was based
on projected collection based on the new revenue code. The city is reprioritizing its projects, putting on hold the less important projects
like procurement of additional equipment, or hiring of new personnel,
except those needed for health and sanitation. The city still has to
formulate a new code. Another constraint is the unpredictability of the
payment of its share in the national wealth from the national
government.
At the barangay level, barangays can actually get 45% of the
community tax if the municipal treasurer accredits them to do so, as in
the case in one barangay in La Trinidad, Benguet. In other
municipalities, however, barangay captains find it difficult to get such
accreditation.
Generating additional revenues, per se, would not be a
sufficient basis for the performance of a local government unit. The
next question is how the funds are allocated. This brings us to the
observations made regarding the functions devolved to the LGUs, and
how they have performed these.

Devolved Social Services


1. Agriculture
Many of the LGUs, especially those belonging to low-income
groups have limited funds for agricultural projects. According to some
interviewed agriculture personnel, this is because many LGUs do not
prioritize agriculture given their limited funds. As a result, many of
the activities, which were formerly under the DA, could not be
continued. This is aggravated by the difficulty of the agricultural
personnel in adjusting to a situation where they had to make decisions
autonomous from the national agency, being used to the past practice
of implementing a plan from the central government. Many of them
were demoralized, resulting in very little output at the end of each
year.

54

State of Decentralization

In 1996 the devolved personnel in the agriculture sector


(compared with those in health and social welfare) seemed to have the
highest dissatisfaction as a result of decentralization because of the
implications to their salary once absorbed by the LGUs. Thus, it was
not surprising that many of them wanted to be returned to the national
government agency where they came from (i.e., the Department of
Agriculture).
By late 1997 and by 1999, however, there seemed to be a more
positive attitude among the agricultural personnel. This was, however,
brought about mostly by financial incentives from the DA. The
Gintong Ani Program under the Ramos Administration gave monthly
allowances ranging from P400.00 to P700.00 per month. Under the
Estrada Administration which renamed the Gintong Ani to
Agrikulturang Makamasa, the agriculture personnel expected to
have the same benefits. They also did not see a dramatic change in the
way agriculture would be prioritized by the LGUs. It shall remain to be
a secondary concern.
2. Social Welfare
Social Welfare and Development remains a priority concern for
most LGUs. The social welfare officers used to be organized by the
regional offices prior to devolution. But even after devolution, they
have maintained their communication ad hoc among themselves at the
municipal level and with the provincial government in order to
standardize the delivery of services. The Provincial Social Welfare
Officers consciously maintain a coordinating function for the municipal
social welfare personnel.
The active involvement of the social welfare personnel in their
organization called PASWE or the Philippine Association of Social
Welfare Employees provides a venue for them to compare notes, even
consciously talking about standardization of delivery of services. They
also get to talk about common problems affecting them. For instance,
the PASWE has been sending resolutions to the Senate supporting the
bill on the magna carta for social welfare workers, lobbying for making
their positions mandatory, among others.
In general, the Social Reform Agenda (SRA) of the Ramos
Administration was sustained with the social welfare sector taking the
lead. In this program, low-income municipalities (e.g., 5th and 6th
class) got funding from the Poverty Alleviation Fund of the Office of
the President. But whether or not the LGU gets this fund, the social
welfare personnel are able to bargain for a bigger share in the

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55

budgeting of the 20% development fund (an automatic allocation in the


annual budget of LGUs) because of good performance.
In the province of Abra, the provincial welfare office (i.e., the
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office) in coordination
with the provincial planning office (PPDO) came up with the loan
program called Abra Loan Assistance Program, a program funded
from a local source called the Provincial Poverty Alleviation Program.
The rate of return is almost a hundred per cent, and the clientele is
growing. This remains to be one of the most successful projects of the
province.
3. Health
Like the social welfare services, health continues to be the
expressed priority in most LGUs. However, the poorer municipalities
may find that its funds for health would still be limited considering the
limited income of the LGU. To assist the LGUs, there are national
programs implemented through the Department of Health (DOH)
which call for a more active role of the LGUs in health planning. For
instance, two of these are the Comprehensive Health Care Agreement
(CHECA)5 and health care financing through the National Health
Insurance System.
Four years into the implementation of the CHCA, very few of
the interviewed personnel from both the Integrated Provincial Health
Offices (IPHO) and the Municipal Health Offices (MOH) know about
the program. It is unknown whether renewal of the agreement is
automatic, or what services are delivered through this program. LGUs
could not say much about how the CHCA has benefited them. LGUs
do not mention that from time to time, like in other NGAs, they get
some help from the DOH in the form of supplies. But whether these
are within the CHCA is not very clear.
As to health care financing, Republic Act 7875 or the National
Health Insurance Act of 1995 created the Philippine Health Insurance
Corporation, attached to the DOH. One positive development in the
5

CHCA is a program that gives assistance in the form of medical supplies and funding
to LGUs. It requires a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DOH and the LGUs and
is renewed annually. According to the respondents at DIRFO-CAR, all assistance to the LGUs is
practically channeled through the CHCA. According to respondents from the Regional Office, the
CHCA has changed in approach since the first time it was implemented in 1993. Up until about
1995, the CHCA was offered as a package to the LGUs, implying that the latter had no say in what
the provisions were in the agreement. In short, the key players and stakeholders were involved
in the planning process where they define the substance of the agreement. Renewal of the
agreement is almost automatic. There are no criteria for renewal (say, based on previous
performance). Given the nature of the service, the DOH cannot be selective in its support.

56

State of Decentralization

area of health is the enthusiastic response of most LGUs to the idea of


health insurance. By 1997, both provinces of Benguet and Abra had
already signed a MOA6 with the Philippine Health Insurance
Corporation to provide free health coverage to their indigent
constituents. However, three municipalities (Itogon, Buguias, and
Mankayan) in Benguet did not give resolutions, saying they had no
funds for the project. It is also worth mentioning that as early as 1997
one Municipality (Atok) in Benguet already included in its budget its
counterpart in paying for the premium, indicating the will to finance
an LGU priority. By 1999, the three (3) municipalities mentioned
remained excluded from the program.
For its part, the provincial government of Abra had already
conceptualized its own health care financing program named the Abra
Health Insurance Program (AHIP), as early as 1995. In piloting the
PHICs health care financing scheme, Abra was not even in the original
eight provinces. But it worked to get included. The PHIC simply took
on the AHIP.
The target beneficiaries of the AHIP were the poorest 25% of
the population. Given the population of 200,00 in Abra, an average of 5
members per family, there are about 10,000 families. Twenty five
percent of this is 2,500 families. The premium is P1,180/family/year.
The counter-part for the first year is 10% province, and 90% national.
The second year is: 20% province, and 80% national, until the 6th year
when the sharing is 50-50 between the province and the national
government.
Unlike the arrangement in Benguet, the provincial government
of Abra is shouldering all of the local counterpart without a
counterpart from the municipalities. In identifying the indigent family
beneficiaries, the AHIP used an existing list generated through the
Social Reform Agendas Minimum Basic Needs. The list was modified

Before the MOA between PHIC and Benguet (or any other province) was signed, the
requirement was for the constituent municipalities to pass resolutions regarding: (1) acceptance of
the (PHIC) plan; (2) allocation of the counterparts of LGU; and (3) intent to sign MOA with
PHIC. In this agreement, the annual premium of P1, 188 per indigent family will be paid by the
LGU year. In identifying the beneficiaries, a technical working group takes care of gathering the
list of indigent families from Barangay Health Workers and social welfare workers. The
Barangay Captain certifies the list, which is endorsed by the mayor, then endorsed by the
governor, after which it is sent to PHIC. The PHIC takes care of validating the list, finally
targeting 10% of indigent families in the municipality. The sharing is 50-50 between the national
and local governments for 1st to 3 rd class LGUs; and 90% from national and 10% from local
government for 4 th to 6 th class LGUs. The LGU share will still be divided between the province
and the municipality; 30% from the province, and 70% from the municipality.

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57

to focus on the big families.7 The list was given by the barangay
captains directly to the provincial government without passing
through the municipal governments. The program was implemented
in August 1997.
In general, the LCEs are very supportive of health-related
programs. In Abra, the governor supported the construction of ten
new private rooms for the provincial hospital to generate additional
revenues for hospital purposes. Almost all of the governors and 75% of
the mayors have given incentives to Barangay (village) Health Workers
(BHWs), the health volunteer workers. Many LGUs in the region are
already giving incentives to BHWs in the amount of 50 pesos to 100
pesos as monthly allowance.
4. Environment and Natural Resources
It must be noted that environmental functions are a partially
devolved concern since the DENR is still basically the main agency
tasked to plan for this aspect. To start with, the LGUs have relatively
less powers when it comes to the environment. This is obviously
complicated by issues on Ancestral Domain and Land claims in the
region.
Creating a local ENR office is optional, with functions limited
to implementation of community based forestry projects (Integrated
Social Forestry) and management and control of communal forests
with areas not exceeding 50 sq. km., tree parks and greenbelts for cities
and municipalities. The provinces are tasked to enforce forestry laws,
pollution control law, small-scale mining law, and the operation of
mini-hydroelectric projects for local purposes.
Both provinces of Benguet and Abra have created local
environment and natural resource offices (which are directly under the
office of the governor).
In other LGUs, the environment-related
concerns are either left to the field offices of the DENR (Provincial or
Municipal Environment and Natural Resource Office), or are addressed
by other local offices of the LGU. (In Baguio City, for instance, the City
Engineers Office takes care of drainage; while the General Services
Office takes care of solid waste management.)

According to Vice-Governor Culangen who heads the AHIP, the expense of every
person in a hospital is 2, 500 pesos. The health insurance guarantees 90 hospital days for each
family every year. If each of the five members of a family spends 10 days in the hospital, this
means only fifty days. The provincial government saves considering that this means only a little
more than 500 pesos (as per the 50/50 counter-parting). He says that it is more expensive to
personally pay for the medical expenses of the constituents on a person-to-person basis than when
they approach for personal help. The savings can be used to expand the clientele.

58

State of Decentralization

The creation of the offices means that expertise is needed. The


absence or presence of this needed expertise has implications to the
LGUs ability to respond to environmental concerns. While there may
be available expertise, the LGU may not have the resources to hire new
personnel. Moreover, there are also prohibitions regarding creation of
new positions in the government bureaucracy.
This lack of personnel reduces the capability of the LGU to
respond to environmental issues and concerns. There are no clear
systems for monitoring activities that have an impact on the
environment. The municipal governments complain because they are
not furnished copies of who had been given permits for gravel and
sand operations; they are sometimes caught unaware. For instance,
mayors had to take care of problems involving concessionaires, which
they were not informed about in the first place.
The Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC), a certification
issued after an environmental impact assessment and required of any
project deemed to impact on the environment, is still issued by the
regional office of the DENR. Many municipalities complain about the
lack of consent of the LGU concerned before the DENR issues the ECC,
which serves as clearance for any intended project to proceed.
There are also potential areas of revenue generation that are
not maximized. In the province of Benguet, the processing of permits
for using sand and gravel, as well as small-scale mining could generate
income for the province. But only sand and gravel permits could be
processed because the province has no Mining Engineer to handle
mining permits. And because the expertise needed is found in the field
office of the DENR, the income from mining permits goes to the DENR
instead.
Budget for environmental concerns may be so limited
(P350,000 for the year for the entire province) that it is allocated only to
a limited number of projects to see some impact. For instance, the
annual allocation is spent for forestry projects in only two towns in the
province.
Initiatives in the area of environment are limited. It is not
surprising that deforestation is still a problem, not to mention illegal
logging. The LGUs report to the DENR but they could not do anything
to address the problem directly. The DENR itself needs to draw up a
comprehensive environmental plan.

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59

5. Concluding Remarks on Devolved Functions


To monitor possible changes in the priorities of LGUs, given
their new powers, questions probed into the LGUs development
vision and priorities. They were also asked about concrete support for
these priorities in terms of budget and staffing for each service. LGUs
are generally continuing the projects that they have started in the
previous years. Livelihood, waterworks and waste management are the
common concerns of the LGUs.
It could be said that as to the allocation of the revenues
generated, there is generally the preference for infrastructure,
especially in the usage of the 20% Development Fund. While the LGU
is able to fulfill the infrastructure requirements, this kind of
prioritization leaves out other services. It also reinforces the idea that
good governance is the same as tangible projects.
It could be said that as to the allocation of the revenues
generated, there is generally the preference for infrastructure,
especially in the usage of the 20% Development Fund. While the LGU
is able to fulfill the infrastructure requirements, this kind of
prioritization leaves out other services. It also reinforces the idea that
good governance is the same as tangible projects.

Participation
One of the significant indicators that decentralization is
working is the degree to which there is peoples participation in
governance. Participation could happen in all possible aspects of local
governance. For instance, the NGOs and POs could theoretically be
sitting in any of the LSBs and give inputs for resource generation,
health, social welfare, agriculture, and environment related concerns.
However, private sector involvement in governance is still very
minimal. NGO participation in LDCs is limited to attendance in
meetings, but not in actual implementation of projects. In the LGUs
covered, the only notable NGO participation that could be noted is that
of the CCAGG (Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government) in
Abra. The CCAGG is involved in many monitoring and evaluation
activities of ongoing projects in the province. In Baguio City, the
Church is involved in stopping the entry of gambling in Baguio City. It
is also active in environmental activities (the eco-walk and the cleaning
up of the Balili River are worth noting).
But generally, despite the number (there are more than 200
NGOs in Baguio City alone), the LSBs have remained non-functional.
Meetings are held only to meet the minimum requirements of the code.

60

State of Decentralization

The enthusiasm for participation, which might have been present at the
beginning of the implementation of the Code, seems to have cooled
down. As such, there is very little change from a generally lukewarm
relationship between the NGOs and the LGUs observed since the start
of the LGCs implementation.
Certainly, a separate paper could be written to explain the
various reasons why the NGO community suspects governmental
activity in many areas in the region.

Summary
As in other parts of the Philippines, LGUs in CAR are in
various stages of operationalizing local autonomy and decentralization
by way of implementing the provisions of the LGC of 1991. There is
unevenness across LGUs as well as across sectors or services within the
LGU.
1.

Slowly and with caution, the LGUs are trying to expand


the base of sources of revenues. This is understandable.
On the one hand, new taxes are not the sort of projects that
would attract votes during election. On the other hand, the
LGUs need technical assistances to be able to explore other
opportunities for revenue generation.

The challenge now for LGUs is to break out of the cycle


of being afraid to take initiatives due to financial
limitations.
Taking the initiative would precisely
liberate them from lack of funds and enhance their
fiscal autonomy. This is further aggravated by the
issues cited in the above item.

2.

Revenues generated tend to be allocated for hard


infrastructure projects at the expense of other services.
However, it must also be understood that some politicians
feel that this is inevitable considering the 3-year term of
office for LGU officials which they feel is too limited to be
able to effect any substantial development. This is further
aggravated by the issues cited in the above item.

3.

In the delivery of social services, there is variation in the


capabilities of the devolved personnel.
Among the
devolved services, it is in the sectors of health and social
welfare that morale of personnel is relatively kept intact
and has sustained some of the activities that they used to
do under the National Government Agencies, within the
constraint of LGUs.

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4.

5.

61

The Department of Health and the Department of


Social Welfare and Development have achieved
relative success in weaning the LGUs away from
their dependence on the NGA and at the same
time maintaining open lines of communication and
coordination. The other devolved NGAs and other
national line agencies still have to improve their
approach when entering local communities. More
sensitivity is needed to ensure that projects
complement the local priorities of the LGUs.

The LSBs which are potential venues for popular


participation are yet to be fully explored in the LGUs
that have been covered. They are formally in place,
but have yet to fully function as advisory bodies for
the development directions of the LGUs. This has
implications on the quality of development planning
and implementation in the LGUs.

Theoretically, the activities implemented in the


area of revenue generation and other service
delivery are anchored on a general development
plan of the LGU. However, Local Development
Planning has yet to be fully realized in this
manner. While the respondents admit that in
many cases the document that is called the
development plan is literally just a compilation
of the development plan from the local levels,
there is a realization that more popular
participation is needed in the different stages of
development planning.

Aside from the limited citizen involvement in


development
planning,
Local
Development
Councils generally meet only twice a year, the
minimum requirement of the Code. Again, there
is a realization that a more frequent interaction
among the members is desirable for a more
substantive input to the development plans.

When it comes to private sector involvement in


general, the opportunities opened by the Code remains
to be fully maximized. Indeed, there is no lack in the
number of NGOs. But steps have yet to be taken by

62

State of Decentralization

both the LGUs and the private sector in maximizing


the potentials of working together as partners.

Conclusion
There is appreciation among the LGUs for the value of local
autonomy, at least as enshrined in the LGC of 1991. However, there is
unevenness in the understanding as there is also unevenness in the
operationalization of the code. As LGUs attempt to implement the
provisions of the Code, a deepening and approximating of a common
understanding of the LGC is imperative.
Some officials have expressed the need to understand the Code
better. Until now, however, very few (if at all) of the LGUs have tabled
the discussion of the Code on its agenda. This was the observation
even during the mandatory review of the Code two years ago. At that
time, the closest that the LGU had come was to gather comments from
concerned officials with the mayor validating and clarifying the issues
raised regarding the LGC.
There is not much difference in the level of decentralization if
we compare provinces and municipalities. It seems like there is more
evidence of advancing decentralization according to the leadership
skills and management style of local chief executives.
Even
prioritization of basic services does not necessarily depend on the
income classification of the LGU. There are indications that LGUs are
seeing the value of political and fiscal autonomy.
Based on these preliminary observations, some insights
mentioned in the decentralization efforts in other countries may also be
found. First is the importance of leadership. Tim Campbell (1997)
mentioned that the new governance model is characterized by, among
others, a new leadership style. In the cases cited, leadership is most
important. But by leadership, I would refer to the initiative exercised
by all sectors concerned. It includes the political will mentioned by
Blair (1997) which refers to the role of the executives, as well as the
leadership of department heads in the LGU, the heads of NGOs and
POs, and even those from the NGAs.

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63

The leadership dynamic may be illustrated as follows:

Dept. Heads

LCE

LGU

NGO/POs
Community

NGA

The leadership dynamic in the LGU is an interplay of how the


LCE and the department heads take their initiatives. Theoretically, the
ideal is where you find an LCE and a Department Head of the LGU
complementing each other. Other combinations are: an active/strong
LCE and a weak department head, an active department head and a
weak LCE. The worst combination is where one finds both a weak
LCE and a weak department head. Whatever the combination, the
result in terms of plans (even frameworks and approaches) will
determine how the LGU deals with the civil society or the private
sector.
The same dynamic could be used to describe the possible
relationship between the LGU and the NGOs/POs/private sector,
which would give a picture of governance in the community. Further,
the same dynamic could be used to describe the possible relationship
between the community and the NGAs or other outside entity. Of
course, the terms weak and strong/active are used very loosely.
An NGA providing support for the LGUs and the community as a
whole taking the center stage in charting its own destiny should not be
seen as weakness on the part of the NGA. As Tendler observed,
decentralization is not simply a dynamic between local government
and civil society, but a three-way dynamic involving an activist central
and state governments, helping create an environment conducive for
better governance (Tendler, 1997:14-16).
In the end, the dynamic of leadership as described becomes the
basis for whether development programs designed for the community
match the actual needs of the citizens. As Peterson (1997) noted, one
characteristic of local initiatives is greater emphasis on service
delivery, using citizen satisfaction of services as the measure
(Peterson, 1997:32).
And to measure this, a survey of citizen

64

State of Decentralization

satisfaction should be done. Rood (1998) has shown how survey data
was used to measure citizen opinions on service delivery.
Second is the role of citizen participation. Blair (1997) talks
about inclusiveness or the inclusion of formerly marginalized sectors
into decision-making.
Similarly, Peterson (1997) talks about
decentralization as having produced a remarkable variety of local
experiments in citizen participation in governance (Peterson, 1997:31).
While a few cases of citizen participation could be cited as good
practice, this remains to be seen more widely in the Cordillera Region.
Civil society has to emerge as a source of inputs for LGU and
community activities.
Finally, intergovernmental relations are a particular dynamic
that bears upon the LGUs efforts to operationalize decentralization,
while intergovernmental relations may also include cooperative
activities between LGUs in addressing common problems. I would like
to zero in on the relationship between the NGAs and the LGUs.
The way NGAs have or have not redefined their roles in the
context of a decentralized setting has bearing on LGU activities. As
mentioned earlier, the NGAs could assume, as Tendler puts it, an
activist stance.
This, however, remains to be seen more
systematically in the region.
From the LGU perspective, there is not much change in the
way the NGAs relate to them. As one respondent said, we do not
really expect it to change since we are dealing with the same people in
the regional offices. Under the Estrada Administration, national
programs continued to be implemented by the NGAs through the
LGUs. Some respondents expressed that this was good for the sake of
continuity in government programs. While additional incentives for
devolved personnel come with many of these packages, this reinforces
the sentiment of the devolved personnel to want to be recentralized.
Blair (1997) call this reverses in decentralization.
Also, while most of these national programs require a
community-based approach and community empowerment, many of
these remain wanting in practice. Deadlines of donor agencies may
sometimes bring the project implementers to resort to short cuts.
It may be significant to note that the DENR and DOH were
reorganizing beginning late last year (1999). The DENRs services,
namely FMS, LMS, EMPAS, and ERDS, have their own administration,
operations and technical services. This means that these are operating
separately from each other. Under the proposed reorganization, these
services would be merged to service the different areas mentioned

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65

above. A legal service division will also be set up. According to a


respondent, the reorganization would benefit the client LGUs because
there is only one personality they will be dealing with for assistance.
Under the devolved set-up, the DOH is not the direct
implementor anymore but is simply monitoring LGU activities in the
health sector. According to the respondent, in essence, the whole
DOH-CAR is an LGAMS Committee. The LGMAS is made a
permanent division. It must be noted that LGAMS was only
established in DOH-CAR in July 1997 upon assumption of duty by the
current Regional Director, and is thus relatively new. The structure
was that the LGAMS staff members are assigned a specific province.
His contact in the field is the DOH representative in the province.
There are instructions for the reorganization of health, as well as a
guideline that gives blanket authority to the Regional Director to come
up with a most favorable arrangement to enable DOH to assist LGUs
more actively.
Observers would say that the process of decentralization in the
Philippines, much less in CAR, is slow. Yet, the success stories
documented in various studies as well as the recognition made by
award-giving institutions (AIM for Galing-Pook; the DOH for the
HAMICHealth and Management Information SystemsAwards) of
LGUs excelling in self-reliance and local management is a testimony to
the prospects for LGUs. Even in Latin America and the Caribbean,
these processes are also uneven across different areas. But as noted,
there are movements towards more consciously operationalizing local
autonomy towards better governance in the communities. It is worth
keeping track of the innovations and initiatives encountered by the
LGUs to serve as lessons or models for other LGUs.
These
observations would also be the basis for the argument for or against the
feasibility and possibility of decentralization and democratized local
autonomy.

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State of Decentralization

References
Associates in Rural Development, Inc.-Governance and Local
Democracy (ARD/GOLD) Project. 1998. Synopsis of Findings,
8th Rapid Field Appraisal of Decentralization.
Associates in Rural Development, Inc.-Governance and Local
Democracy (ARD/GOLD) Project. 1999. Synopsis of Findings,
9th RFA of Decentralization.
Blair, Harry. 1997. Democratic Governance in Bolivia. CDIE Impact
Evaluation, Number 6. USAID
Boyer, William W. 1990. Political Science and the 21st Century: From
Government to Governance. PS: Political Science and
Politics.
Brillantes, Alex. 1992. Essay on the Local Government Code of 1991
and NGOs. CSC Issue Paper No. 1. Cordillera Studies Center,
University of the Philippines College Baguio.
________. 1997. Decentralized Democratic Governance under the
Local Government Code: A Governmental Perspective. Paper
prepared for the 3rd European Conference on Philippine
Studies. Aix-en-Provence, France, 19-27 April.
Campbell, Tim. 1997. Innovations and Risk Taking: The Engine of
Reform in Local Government in Latin America and
Caribbean. World Bank Discussion Paper No. 357.
Institute of Governance, Ottawa, Canada. 1999. As cited in Mobilizing
State-Society Partnerships for Effective Governance: Lessons
from Six ASEAN Pilot Projects. Development Academy of the
Philippines.
Panganiban, Elena. 1999. Emerging Trends and Issues within a
Devolved Framework of Local Governance. Paper prepared
for the RPG Policy Study Group Meeting, Hyatt Regency
Hotel, Manila, 18 March.
Peterson, George. 1997. Decentralization in Latin America, Learning
Through Experience. Viewpoints. World Bank Latin
American and Caribbean Studies, The World Bank,
Washington D.C.

Colongon

67

Rood, Steven. 1997. An Assessment of the State of Knowledge


Concerning Decentralized Governance Under the 1991 Local
Government Code. Paper prepared for the 3rd European
Conference on Philippine Studies, Aix-en-Provence, France, 1927 April.
________. 1998. Decentralization, Democracy, and Development. In
The Philippines as the Crossroads. Edited by David G.
Timberman. The Asia Society. Reprinted by the Associates in
Rural Development, Inc. Governance and Local Democracy
(ARD/GOLD) Project.
Tendlre, Judith. 1997. Good Government in the Tropics. Baltimore and
London: The John Hopkins University Press.
Thompson, Jamie, Pimentel, Aquilino Jr. and Rojas, Fernando. 1997.
Decentralization in Haiti: The State of Play and Comparative
Cases. USAID/Haiti, Associates in Rural Development
(ARD), Inc., August.

Authors Name: ARELLANO COLONGON, JR.


Address: Division of Social Sciences
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
E-mail Address: totojr@yahoo.com
Telephone No.: (074) 442-2427
Fax: (074) 442-2427/442-3888

68

Towards Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera

LOCAL
HISTORIES
OF THE
CORDILLERA
In
Beyond
Orientalism:
Alternative Writings on Cordillera
History the author focuses on alternative
interpretations to Philippine history and
re-presentations of the Cordillera Past.
The
paper,
Prospects,
Perspectives and Problems of Chinese
Studies in the Cordillera, traces the
historical account of the integration
process of the Chinese in Baguio. It also
discusses the prospects, perspectives and
problems of Chinese studies in the
Cordillera.
The
poster
on
Mankayan
Prehistory
and
Ethnoarchaeology
presents insights learned from this
exploratory project.
Members of the
research team narrate, through pictures,

experiences from activities related to the


three components of the project: to
identify
and
assess
Cordillera
archaeological work; to equip the research
team with knowledge and skills in the
conduct of field research; and to
familiarize the team with archaeology
field techniques.

Beyond Orientalism:
Alternative Writings on Cordillera History
Maria Nela Florendo

Abstract
Since the publication of Edward Saids Orientalism in 1978, the
analysis of colonial discourse has become a popular area of academic
inquiry (Williams and Chrisman, 1987).
Though colonial
historiographies have been the dominant histories, these
representations by the west of their subject populations have not
resulted in despondence. Third World peoples have challenged these
with re-presentations and post-colonial discourse has become the arena
for alternative inquiry. Are these productions adequate alternatives?
There are issues though that have been posed regarding the
process of reconstructing the histories of subject populations. As a
postcolonial intellectual Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak asked: Can the
subaltern speak? Can the subject population reclaim its place in
history?
A survey of post-orientalist historical writings on the
Cordillera would show that the foci have been on resistances and
culture. Who has done the problematizing of Cordillera history? Since
representation of the past is a source of power, has the body of
historical scholarship on the Cordillera achieved empowerment
through praxis (historical writing)?
In contesting colonial
historiography, have the alternative versions of Cordillera history
appropriated the peoples/peoples control of the past?

Cordillera History and Historical Scholarship


While this paper focuses on the Cordillera, I would like to start
by presenting the broader context of historical scholarship. Writing on
Cordillera history has definitely been affected by development in the
discipline of history as well as attempts to re-write Philippine national
history.1
The table on the following page summarizes the
corresponding themes in historical scholarship and historiographic
reflections for each of the aforementioned layers.

In August 1999, the Cordillera Studies Center through the Discipline of History-UP
College Baguio convened the 1st Seminar-Workshop on Cordillera Historiography. In November
1999, a roundtable discussion on Cordillera local history and indigenous institutions was
conducted. This paper takes off from the results of the said activities.

72

Beyond Orientalism

The table may look fragmented and the layers superficially


superimposed. But the intention is to present the developments in each
layer and how the directions have affected the re-presentations of
Cordillera history. The historiographic questions springing from the
developments in history as a discipline have informed the next layer;
these cumulatively affect the bottom layer Cordillera history
which is the subject of this paper. From an optimistic view the
direction of effect could be bottom-up. Historical narratives on and the
practice of Cordillera history could inform and validate social
reconstructions of Philippine history as well as provide insights to the
development of history as an academic discipline.

Florendo 73

Discernible Trends in Historiography


Nouvelle history traces its roots to 1929 when Lucien Febvre
and Marc Bloch founded the Annales in France. With his publication
of The Mediterranean, Fernand Braudel is another popular member of
the group. A form of subversion against traditional history, the new
history sought to fill both methodological and substantive gaps into
historical narration.2
The traditional paradigm, at times known as Rankean history
(after German Historian Leopold von Ranke 1795-1886), has been
characterized as history that is: 1) concerned with politics and narration
of events, thus a history form from above; 2) founded on documentary
evidence; 3) and obsessed with objectivity. The new history on the
other hand provides a venue for studying the past of virtually every
human activity using oral, written and visual evidence. Liberated from
the conventions of the traditional paradigm, histories we hear like
history-from-below, history of everyday life, history of popular culture,
history of mental structures, feminist history are but a few of the many
explorations under the new history.
Postmodernism which has affected academic disciplines fits
well into these developments in history as an academic discipline;
postmodernism has shaped historiographies.
Ankersmit, a postmodern historian, noted that historians have
always been searching for something they could label as the essence of
the past that principle that held everything together in the past (or in
part of it) and on the basis of which, consequently, everything could be
understood. 3 This essentialism in historiography was integral to
traditional paradigm. But one assertion in historiography has been the
view that, the essence of the past is not, or does not lie in the essence
of the past. It is the scraps, the slips of the tongue, the rare moments
when the past let itself go where we discover what is really of
importance for us. 4

Peter Burke, Overture: The New History, its Past and its Future, in New
Perspectives on Historical Writ ings edited by Peter Burke (Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State
University Press), pp. 1-23.
3
F.R. Ankersmit, Postmodernism and Historiography, in The Postmodern History
Reader edited by Keith Jenkins (London and New York: outkedge, 1997), p. 148.
4
Ankersmit, p. 148.

74

Beyond Orientalism

Non-essentialism is the very essence of postmodernism, which


has greatly influenced historiography.5 In sum, History has moved
toward the unlimited in both substance and methodology.
In
consonance with the breadth of scope, History has also pursued a decentering. Whereas all histories were simply appendages of European
history, the trunk of the tree of Western history has become part of a
whole forest. 6

Alternative Interpretations to Philippine History


Third World scholars including our own have undertaken
efforts to counter the hegemony of colonial representation. What are
these altered visions of the past? There has been a discernible pattern
in the post-orientalist writings among Third World countries.
Alternative
interpretations7
are
classified
as
essentialist
historiographies, nationalist historiographies, Marxist historiographies
and new histories greatly influenced by postmodernism, specifically
the stream of post-colonial discourse. Many interpretations are eclectic
in the sense that they adopt periodizations of earlier interpretations
while criticizing the inadequacy of the discourse that produced these.
The goal though is to provide substance to that ever elusive entity
called nation.
The search for the unadultered Filipino is the essence of
essentialist historiographies. Revivalists who bring back the glory of
the uncolonized past belong to this group. Another feature of
essentialist views of Philippine history is the emphasis that pre-colonial
society was undifferentiated; differentiation is attributed to
colonization. While I have not come across one work that is purely
essentialist, this element of essentialism is prevalent in many historical
interpretations, particularly in works that discuss indigenous
institutions. Usually falling into the trap of essentialism are historical
interpretations of societies like the Cordillera that have not been fully
integrated into the national polity.
5

I hope this paper does not create the impression that postmodernism is not one chunk
of a definition. Keith Jenkins in his introduction to The Postmodern History Reader (1997)
classifies post-modernism according to the posture of its practitioners: the radicals, the
traditionalists and the undecided/nuanced others. This will no longer be elaborated in this paper
since the purpose of this presentation is simply to provide an idea of the effect of postmodernism
in the reconstruction of Cordillera history.
6
Ankersmit, p. 152.
7
Gyan, Prakash, Writing Post -orientalist Histories of the Third World: Perspectives
from Indian Historiography, in Comparative Studies in Societies and History 32 (April 1990:
383-408).

Florendo 75

When did the Philippines become a nation (assuming we have


become one)? What makes us a nation? These are the questions
addressed by the nationalist interpretation. Being nationalist is often
equated with anti-colonialism. The association should be understood
in the context of the emphasis on the movement of subjugated peoples
to establish a sense of identity and belonging that usually projects an
anti-colonial stance. The nationalist interpretation stresses the shared
experience of struggles against the colonizer to establish an identity as
a people. Is it, therefore, logical for a nationalist interpretation to
contain an anti-colonial stance? Is there a nationalist interpretation
after colonialism? In discourses on whether there is a post-colonial
period for the Philippines and other Third World countries, there is a
view that colonialism never left; it just assumed new forms.8 Then
there is reason for the nationalist interpretation to persist.
Imagining a Filipino nation has been most challenging to
historical interpretation considering the heterogeneity of Philippine
society. There are assertions of distinct identity apart from the Filipino
nation on the part of the Cordillera as well as Mindanao. In this
context, can we even have the Philippines as an imagined
community?9
The influence of Marxism on Philippine historiography has
been immense particularly in explaining the absence or lack of
economic growth. Transformations and transitions in the mode of
production of Philippine society have provided a venue for interesting
debate (to some it is continuing, to others it has been resolved).
Articulations of contradictions in the context of Philippine society and
class analysis have evolved as interesting research problems in
Philippine history; this has influenced local and regional histories the
settings of which are in states of transition.
The New History has found its way into the interpretations of
the Philippine past. There have been radical shifts in what is
problematicized with emphasis on mental structures particularly of
8

The concept of post -colonial could either be epistemological or chronological. For


this paper, the following general definition from Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin,
The Empire Writes Back (Routledge, 1989), p. 2 is used: post -colonial covers all the cultures
affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonialization to the present day. The
authors describe the commonality in the literatures produced from these regions and areas as
literatures that emerged in their present form out of the experience of colonization and asserted
themselves by foregrounding the tension with the imperial power, and by emphasizing their
differences from the assumptions of the imperial center.
9
With apologies to Benedict Anderson who authored Imagined Communities:
Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism , (London: Verso, 1983).

76

Beyond Orientalism

marginalized groups. This history-from-below has also contributed to


shifts in methodology; oral history has become more acceptable. Very
recently the realization of the need to engender history resulted in the
integration of gender issue in historical narratives.
One significant observation is that there has been a shift from a
generalizing national history to plural local histories. This thrust has
snowballed into a more participatory reconstruction of the past; nonhistorians, non-academics have joined in writing and interpreting
history.

Re-presentations of the Cordillera Past


The main problem with Cordillera history is that it has been a
part of a national history that has not fully reclaimed its past.
Corollary to this is the fact that Cordillera history has been subdued by
the dominant national history.
The new directions in historical scholarship should augur well
towards providing meaningful space and re-presentation of the
Cordillera past.
This section of the paper attempts to address three questions
that have been persistent in forums on Cordillera history, namely: 1)
What is problematized; 2) Who problematizes; 3) Is there an emic/etic
delineation in social construction of the past?10

10

The book Social Construction of the Past: Representation as Power (Routledge,


1994) edited by George Clement Bond and Angela Gilliam has been most useful. The materials
for this section in clude: the papers that were presented at the 1st Seminar on Cordillera
Historiography, August 1999; proceedings of the roundtable discussion on Cordillera local history
and institutions, November 19999; graduate theses mostly in the field of education produced in
Baguio; occasional papers produced by organizations courtesy of friends from Tebtebba, the
Cordillera Resource Center for Indigenous Peoples Rights, Cordillera Peoples Alliance, the
Cordillera Womens Education and Resource Center and other organizations; surveys of available
Cordillera histories and related studies conducted by individuals usually from academe; discussion
and papers read during the Third Igorot International Consultation, April 26-28, 2000, Baguio
City. I have been most fortunate to have acquired 2 more recent works that feature the Cordillera:
Annales del Museo Nacional de Antropologia Numero V (1998) courtesy of Patricia Afable; and
Lynn M. Kwiatkowski, Struggling with Development: The Politics of Hunger and Gender in the
Philippines (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1999), which features Ifugao society. My recent
involvements in the Ethnoarcheology Project and the Indigenization of Education in the
Cordillera, both sponsored by the University Center for Integrative and Development Studies
provided me insights on Cordillera prehistory and culture respectively. A personal research
undertaken during my sabbatical leave in 1998 Collective Memories from the Periphery
provided me the opportunity to review available literature. The works of the late William Henry
Scott are a must when reviewing Cordillera historiography. There are only a few works that just
focus on Cordillera history, thus I have included in this review works that have attempted to
include historical narratives.

Florendo 77

What is Problematized? I would classify the areas into four,


namely: culture, social change, struggles of the Cordillera peoples,
explorations into new areas like gender, prehistory, and theorizing the
Cordillera, to name a few.
What could be the explanation for the aforementioned foci?
Culture, social change and the struggles of the Cordillera peoples
should be located in the context of Cordillera historiography as a
discourse of Cordillera identity. Identity could be taken on two levels:
1) the relation of the Cordillera to the rest of the Filipino nation, and; 2)
the Cordillera as a socio-cultural, political and economic entity. There
may be no need to distinguish the two levels for those who are
integrationist in perspective, but those who adhere to the concept of
internal colonialism would require a distinction. The concept of
identity should not be reduced to mere ethnolinguistic affiliation. The
area of culture is all-encompassing in the sense that it embraces such
aspects as indigenous institutions and mental structures.
Who is involved in problematizing? There are collectivities
and there are individual scholars. There are those that are academebased, and others are in the field of development work. There is a mix
of history-based scholars and non-historians, which indicate the
interdisciplinary nature of doing historical research. Lastly, with
reference to the culture of origin, there are the insiders and the
outsiders (although this is a rather cumbersome distinction). I shall be
referring to this as the etic-emic delineations in my analysis. This is
being tackled in the context of my agreement to the view that emic-etic
delineations are important if this leads to a relation of scholarships to
power and praxis. 11 Who are producing historical narratives? Is the
production empowering or disempowering? The subject is of course
the Cordillera peoples.
The following diagrams summarize the results of the
aforementioned assessment of Cordillera historiography:

11

Bond and Gilliam, Social Constructions, p. 11 and fully discussed in the contribution
of Michael Rowlands, The Politics of Identity in Archaeology in the aforementioned book.

78

Beyond Orientalism

Diagram I
Innermost circle:

The subject matter is the Cordillera past

Middle concentric circle:

The purposes of reconstructing the


Cordillera past

Outer circle:

Contributions of the reconstruction of the


Cordillera past

Florendo 79

Diagram II
Innermost circle:

The activity is the problematizing of Cordillera


history

2 nd concentric circle: The subject matter of the problematizing of


Cordillera history
3 rd concentric circle: Problematizing Cordillera history has led to
defining ethnicities and identity
Outermost circle:

Issues that have arisen from the problematizing


of Cordillera history

Spheres of etic and emic problematizing of Cordillera history

80

Beyond Orientalism

In Closing
Any historiographic work should produce a historical
narrative with some amount of theorizing. Regardless of social
purpose any historiographic work should meet the minimum demands
of historical scholarship. If it has to play the role of appropriating
power to the Cordillera peoples in terms of ensuring the peoples
control of the past, Cordillera historiography should include
empowerment and self-reflexivity as its social purpose. It is only in
this manner of approaching history that a marginalized past could be
reclaimed.
This may instigate debate, but partisanship is not
necessarily antithetical to historical scholarship.
Problematizing Cordillera history is not just the domain of the
academe, historians and scholars. It should be the effort of the people
who wish to define their identity, assuming that their history is not a
foreign country 12 to them.

Authors Name: MARIA NELA FLORENDO


Address: Division of Social Sciences
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
E-mail Address: mbf@baguio.upcb.edu.ph
Telephone No.: (074) 442-2427
Fax: (074) 442-2427/442-3888

12

1985).

David Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country, (Cambridge University Press,

Prospects, Perspectives and Problems of


Chinese Studies in the Cordillera
Anavic Bagamaspad
The first part of this paper includes the theoretical framework,
methodology and a summary of the history of the integration of the
Baguio Chinese into the Baguio community. The historical study covers
the period of the American administration beginning in 1898 up to
1982. From the initial historical study, directions of future studies may
be discerned. Thus, the second part presents possible areas of Chinese
Studies in the Cordillera. New frameworks and perspectives are also
presented.

Part I. The Integration of the Baguio Chinese: Research


F r a m e w o r k a n d M e t h o d o l o g i c a l C o n s i de r a t i o n s
The study and research on the Chinese in the Philippines has
been a continuing concern of social scientists as well as government.
The wide range of topics as represented in the output of studies and
researches reflects the concerns of those who conduct these.
Sociologists and anthropologists concentrate on issues of inter-ethnic
relations, assimilation and the like. Economists examine the impact of
Chinese participation in the economy. Psychologists study perceptions.
Historians look into the Chinese-Philippine relations in the remote and
recent past. Almost invariably political studies focus on the politicolegal status of the Chinese. Some Chinese organizations have initiated
their own researches with the goal of ameliorating the position of the
Chinese in the society. All these serve to emphasize the important place
the Chinese occupy in Philippine society. The historical research
presented here focused on the process of integration of the Baguio
Chinese into the Baguio community.

A. Theoretical Framework
Several scholars stand out as having significant contributions
in the study of Chinese integration in the Philippines. One is Fr.
Charles J. McCarthy. He refers to integration as a process of making a
social system one well-knit whole. He stated that:
A society is integrated when its members, regardless of their race,
creed or place of origin, move freely among one another, sharing the
same opportunities and privileges, bearing equal concern for one
anothers needs and assuming equal duties in promoting the
common good.

82

Chinese Studies in the Cordillera

Fr. Charles J. McCarthy made an effort to measure integration


by using 11 criteria, namely: (1) physical features (2) external signs of
Chineseness (3) family structures and practices (4) language (5)
occupation (6) awareness of local issues (7) residence areas (8) Chinese
organizations (9) contact with China (10) preferred system of
government and (11) political loyalty and commitment.
Another author, Wang Gungwu made use of a model for
determining the extent of Chinese integration with the following
classification of Chinese: (1) the China-centered, which refers to most
Chinese who are clearly oriented towards China either because of
citizenship or by the kinds of activities they engage in; (2) the host
countrys Chinese community-centered, comprised by those who
generally accept the necessity and possibly the desirability of being
loyal to their host countries; (3) the modernized or indigenized
Chinese, which consists of several sub-groups of Chinese that in their
own way had decided to identify politically with their host countries;
(4) the assimilated Chinese, which consists of those who, for all intents
and purposes, completely assimilated with the indigenous populations
and are only pointed from time to time as people who were originally
Chinese. The context of Wang Gungwus classification is Southeast
Asia.
Gerald Alan McBeath, on the other hand, presented a six-stage
model of integration, namely: (1) the adaptation of the minority group
to dominant national society and culture; (2) the formation of primary
and secondary contacts both of a social and economic nature which
provides entrance into the societal network of groups and institutions,
or social structure of the host society; (3) the possibility of marriage; (4)
the development of a sense of peoplehood based on the host society; (5)
the absence of discriminatory behavior and prejudiced attitudes; (6)
civic integration where the minority raises no demands concerning the
power structure of the host society. Integration in this model is
interpreted in terms of cultural pluralism, a possibility in the
Philippines, considering the multi-ethnic composition of the society. As
in McCarthys definition, McBeath also supposes the importance of
cultural differentiation within the framework of social unity.
It must be noted that in all models, the politico-legal nature of
integration is prominent. This must be because of the concomitant
privileges in the economic as well as social aspects extended to aliensturned citizens in a country that make them equal participants of the
society. All the models mentioned above assume that integration is
progressive.

Bagamaspad 83

In the study of the Baguio Chinese, integration refers to the


relations of different ethnic and racial groups within socio-political
units that allow for the exercise of the same opportunities, privileges
and equal duties in promoting the common good. This presupposes
that a certain set of relations has been achieved among the different
ethnic groups. These include socio-economic adaptability. By
adaptability is meant the process of changing certain aspects of the
minority peoples conditions and characteristics to enable active
participation in the socio-political unit to which they belong.
Integration into the larger community is a desired goal of the minority
group.
Integration is viewed in this study as a dynamic process
involving not only change with the minority group but also changes
with the host community. It is a process of interaction, sometimes
involving conflict, cooperation or competition between and among the
groups involved. A certain minority group is considered integrated
when it displays cultural, social, economic and political characteristics
that enable the members to participate in society on an equal basis.
The study, being historical, examined the integration process in
the context of the processes and movements in the historical
development of the Baguio Chinese. Thus, a comprehensive history is
written which emphasizes what is significant and decisive in the
different historical periods. The importance of peoples and events is
seen in the effects these have upon the community and the direction
these give to subsequent periods in history. From this vantage point the
historian is guided in the selection of valid content and is able to
provide analysis and interpretation.

B. Methodology
Two methods of securing data were employed: the interview
and the gathering of primary data from written sources. Interviews
were concentrated in gathering family histories. First, genealogical
charts or family trees were constructed, then corresponding family
histories written. Through this method information on significant
developments per generation were obtained and data on key
personages and important events were secured. The family tree
provided benchmarks in the informants memories. Family members
were interviewed. The choice of families was based on the following:
(1) prominence in the community (2) leadership (3) length of stay (4)
extent of family relations. Notable Chinese residents in the City were
asked to list down the names of twenty leading families. Local Filipino

84

Chinese Studies in the Cordillera

residents were likewise asked to list leading Chinese families. From the
list informant families were chosen.
The written sources include records from the 1950s to the 1970s
of the Chinese in the Alien Registration Section of the City Hall. From
the data gathered from the alien registration cards of about 1,200
Chinese registrants, graphs and maps pertaining to the composition,
migration patterns, residence, occupation and legal status of the
Chinese were prepared. The records of enrolment statistics of the
Baguio Patriotic School were significant in pointing out trends in the
composition of the Baguio Chinese. The news accounts of the local
paper Baguio Midland Courier were invaluable in forming a picture of
the local Chinese from 1947 to the time the study ended. The books
locally published Baguio and Mountain Province in the Making (1955)
and Baguio Memoirs (1964) were important records that make mention
of the early Chinese residents and their achievements in the City.
Government records, souvenir programs, school annuals were
important sources of data. Other written sources that were used were
books, journals and magazines dealing with national events that
affected the local Chinese.
From the oral and written sources, a composite history of the
Baguio Chinese was written.

C. Historical Periods
The discernible historical periods are (1) the period of the early
Chinese (2) the American period (3) the War Years and (4) the period of
the Philippine Republic. A conclusion provides the analysis on the
integration of the Chinese into the Baguio community.
No clear division is made between the pre-Spanish and
Spanish periods. The use of the term early is to denote the period of
time prior to the effective Spanish colonization in the Cordillera
characterized by continuing relations between the Chinese and the
natives. The short period of Spanish occupation in the Cordillera also
falls under the period of the early Sangley. Effective Spanish
government in the Cordillera only began in the 1840s. However,
Hispanic influence in the economic and in the socio-cultural life of the
natives had begun prior to this date. The Chinese had been of
significant influence to the native highlanders in pre-hispanic and
Hispanic Cordillera. Trading was conducted and a commercial system
between the Chinese and the Cordillera people was developed.
Through the efforts of the Spanish government quite a number of
Chinese were brought into the Cordillera. A company so-called
Sociedad Minero-Metalurgia Cantabero-Filipina de Mankayan was

Bagamaspad 85

established in July 1856 with 120 Chinese immigrants. The earliest


instances of integration in the area were the intermarriages between the
native women with the Chinese coolies brought to Mankayan to work
in the copper mines.
The American period defined the city that was Baguio. The
American period begins with a historical background which includes
the political and economic conditions of the city. Against this
backdrop, the history of the origins, entry and settlement and
development of the Chinese in Baguio is discussed. The forging of
social relations is significant during this period. Mestizo families were
established between the Cantonese migrants and the native women.
Social and cultural integration was mostly facilitated by the leveling
effect of the American colonial culture. Non-prohibitive attitudes of the
local administration allowed opportunities for legal and economic
participation which the Chinese availed of. Economic foundations of
the Chinese were laid during this period. The process is linked with the
nature of more Chinese, particularly the Fukinese in greater number in
the 1930s.
The Japanese period described as an interregnum by many, is
actually a significant break that ushered in a new period for the
Chinese in the Philippines. A common enemy and a sharing of the
same fate as objects of Japanese aggression thrust the Chinese on the
side of the Filipinos. The historical conflict of China with Japan and the
outbreak of the Second World War explain the attitudes of the local
Chinese towards the Japanese.
The period of the Philippine Republic was a time when forces
such as nationalism and patriotism were rapidly developing, affecting
the local Chinese economically because of the protective legislation
passed by government. Peculiar local arrangements rendered national
policies powerless most of the time. The series of nationalization laws
meant to isolate the Chinese in participating in economic activities
became stumbling blocks to integration. On one hand, however, the
naturalization provisions were availed of by some and this provided
legitimate means for participating in economic activities. Those unable
to avail of naturalization sought other means, even illegal, to pursue
economic activities.
The second half of the decade of the 1970s was a turning point
in the process of integration of the Baguio Chinese. Facilitated by the
relaxation of naturalization procedures, many Chinese became Filipino
citizens enjoying equal rights and responsibilities as Filipinos.

86

Chinese Studies in the Cordillera

From the history of the Baguio Chinese, three levels of


integration is discernible: (1) the overseas Chinese orientation (2) the
Philippine Chinese orientation and (3) the Filipino Chinese orientation.
The first is characterized by a regard of China as their point of
reference, their cultural source and the home to which they will return
in old age. The second is characterized by a regard of the Philippines as
an adopted country and a deep sense of loyalty to China consolidated
particularly during the years of conflict between China and Japan and
during the Second World War. The third is characterized by a regard of
the Philippines as their homeland.
The level of integration is the function of the historical
experiences of the Chinese. Thus it is apparent that one period or one
generation is characteristically described as having a particular
orientation. Nevertheless, the integration is not regarded as static but
rather a dynamic process. The process may begin with having an
overseas Chinese orientation and progress to having a Filipino Chinese
orientation. An individual Chinese may be at different points of the
integration continuum at different times, depending on his
circumstances and experiences. From findings of the research, it can be
said that the Chinese in Baguio are well on their way to greater
integration.
While the above patterns show similarities with the general
pattern of integration and acculturation of Chinese in the Philippines,
there are distinctive elements that emerged in the history of the Baguio
Chinese as summarized below:
1.

The extensive pre-hispanic trade between the Sangley and


the peoples of the Cordillera evidenced by the
preponderance of Chinese porcelain wares, jars and gongs
and pig iron.

2.

The participation of the Chinese as coolie labor in the


mineral-rich Lepanto District notably in the Sociedad
Minero Metalurgica Cantabro-Filipina de Mankayan.

3.

The significant role of the Chinese in the early


development of the city. (E.g., coolie labor in the building
of the Benguet Road, later known as Kennon Road, and
engagement in the service industries

4.

The part of the early Chinese migrants in the growth of the


vegetable industry.

5.

The Cantonese composition of early migrants into the city.

Bagamaspad 87

6.

The inter-marriage of the early Cantonese with the native


women.

7.

The consolidation of an all-Cantonese and mestizo


Cantonese ethnic identification.

8.

The entry of the Fukinese into Baguio during the mining


and logging boom in the 1930s and their rise in the
business sector.

9.

The particular historical experiences through the different


historical periods serving to integrate or hinder
integration.

10. The particular Chinese institutions that either served to


integrate or hinder the integration process.
The history of the Baguio Chinese shows that when a minority
group exists within the context of a larger society, the members of the
minority group work to achieve a status in that society that would
afford them the same opportunities and privileges enjoyed by other
members of that society. The Baguio Chinese achieved this status by
the process of integration, the process by which the Baguio Chinese as
a minority group assures their continued well-being.

Part II.P
II.P r o s p e c t s , P e r s p e c t i v e s a n d P r o b l e m s o f
Chinese Studies in the Cordillera
This section takes off from a) the historical study on the
integration of the Baguio Chinese presented in the first part of the
paper, b) various sources on the Philippine Chinese and c) various
sources on the overseas Chinese in different parts of the world.
The following section presents possible areas of research, new
perspectives and selected problems of Chinese Studies in the
Cordillera:

A. Possible Areas of Research


1. Historical Studies

Extent and nature of early trade relations between the


Sangley and the Cordillera peoples

Early entry into the Cordillera: e.g. Chinese entry and


settlement into the mineral-rich Lepanto area

Entry and settlement in different parts of the Cordillera

88

Chinese Studies in the Cordillera

2. Socio-Cultural Studies

Gender Relations and Family Strategies

The Role of Migrant Chinese Women

Demographic Changes

Acculturation and Cultural Transformations

Minority-Majority Relations

Integration

3. Ethnicity and Identities

Inter-ethnic relations

Chineseness: Self-ascription and ascription by others

Positive and negative content in the search for identity

Inter-ethnic marriages

4. Political and Structural

The role of the state and local government in legislation

Impact of Political Expediencies and Lack of a national


policy towards the Chinese

Citizenship Issues and National Identities

5. Economic Studies

Factors that explain the roles and successes of ethnic


Chinese in local economies

Objective conditions, subjective efforts in economic


successes/failures

Overseas Chinese economic networks

Capital Investments of the Chinese

6. Comparative Studies

Comparative Regional Studies in the Philippines

Comparative Studies on Philippine Chinese and the


Nanyang Chinese (Chinese in Southeast Asia) in
relation to migration, integration, ethnicity and other
related topics not only among the Chinese but across
cultures

Bagamaspad 89

B. Perspectives/Approaches
1. A Perspective Inclusive of a Variety of Histories
There are levels at which a meaningful history for the Chinese
could be viewed. For the ethnic Chinese the question to ask is: What
does it mean to identify ones present with history? What does it mean
to identify ones future with history? Wang Gungwu, noted scholar on
the haquiao (overseas Chinese) presents four ways for the Chinese to
link the past with the future. The first two are (1) looking back at
various aspects of history and identifying with selected parts of that
history; (2) seeking a new history together with their fellow citizens,
mostly of different cultural and historical backgrounds. These two
present an exclusive, either/or basis for choosing ones history. Apart
from these, however, Wang Gungwu offers two more inclusive ways of
seeing the past: (3) that the ethnic Chinese reach beyond all national
borders to embrace a common human history, as befitting an era of
globalization, and (4) that they will weave their own personal pasts in
an inclusive way. This is something that modern education and
technology have begun to make possible. An example of this is
concentrating on their personal memories and being flexible in
choosing which of the pasts available to them to include in their own
personalized past. (The point is that a personalized and inclusive past
could be enlightening and liberating without threatening ones
loyalties to community and nation state.)
Studies on the ethnic Chinese usually preclude identities
outside the dominant Chinese communities. An approach that is open
to studying varying ethnicities enriches the field of inquiry and
provides greater understanding of the dynamics of inter-ethnic
relations.
2. Multi-Factoral Approach
A multi-factoral approach takes different factors into
consideration to explain complex issues. Consideration of as many
factors to explain a single issue/issues brings clarity to the research
concern. This prevents narrow, ethno-centric tendencies. An example
of a lack of multi-factoral approach resulting in ethnocentrism is the
regard for the Chinese as inherently good in business.
3. A Multi-Vocal Approach
A multi-vocal approach is quite a new approach. It brings to
the fore the voice of individuals or groups involved in the history. It
makes sure to give space to different ways people see their place in

90

Chinese Studies in the Cordillera

history; for example, as an oppressed minority or as a dominant


majority, or even as the silenced gender in the case of Chinese women.

C. Selected Problems of Chinese Studies in the Cordillera


1. Starting Program

Chinese studies in the Cordillera could be pursued


under the rubric of Cordillera Studies so that it
becomes a meaningful part of the history of the region.

The build-up of material could be initiated to increase


access and dissemination of research information.

2. Networking

Linkages with academic and research institutions


should be established to provide opportunities to
mutually enrich as well as share expertise among
institutions in the country and around the world. (For
example, there is a need for archeologists to interpret
material remains of trading relations between the
Chinese and the peoples of the Cordillera.)

The integration of research and policy directions


necessitates networking with government.

Chinese Studies in the Cordillera should be seen in


light of the bigger phenomenon of Chinese diaspora. It
is therefore important to investigate the global
developments of the overseas Chinese in their host
communities and establish linkages with institutions
with similar interests.

3. Historiographic Issues

This is concerned about how the writing of Chinese


history in the Cordillera is done. The issues addressed
are:
What methodologies were used?
What topics did authors write about?
What perspectives were used?

The Chinese in the Cordillera is a vast and promising


area of study. It spans the pre-historic period to the present.
Chinese influence permeates different aspects of Cordillera life.
It is an area where expertise and scholarship are needed to gain

Bagamaspad 91

better understanding of not only the Chinese, but also of the


different people in the region.

References
Alip, Eufronio M. 1993. The Chinese in Manila. National Historical
Institute.
Ang See, Teresita and Baviera, Aileen S.P. 1992. China Across the Seas:
The Chinese as Filipinos. Quezon City: Philippine Association
for Chinese Studies.
Ang See, Teresita. 1997. Chinese in the Philippines Problems and
Perspectives. Vol. 1. Manila: Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran.
Ang See, Teresita, ed. 2000. Inter-cultural Relations, Cultural
Transformation and Identuy: The Ethnic Chinese. Manila:
Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran.
Bagamaspad, Anavic and Hamada-Pawid Zenaida. 1985. A Peoples
History of Benguet. Benguet: Baguio Printing and Publishing
Co., Inc.
Cheng, Charles L. and Bersamira, Katherine V. 1997. The Ethnic
Chinese in Baguio and in the Cordillera, Philippines. Baguio
City: Unique Printing Press.
Fry, Howard. 1983. A History of the Mountain Province. Quezon City:
New Day Publishers.
Go Bon Juan. Translated by Joaquin Sy. 1996. Myths About the Ethnic
Chinese. Manila: Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran.
Reed, Robert. 1999. City of Pines: The Origins of Baguio as a Colonial
Hill Station and Regional Capital. 2 nd ed. Baguio City: A-Seven
Publishing, 1999.
Scott, William Henry. 1974. The Discovery of the Igorots: Spanish
Contacts with the Pagans of Northern Luzon. Quezon City:
New Day Publishers.

92

Chinese Studies in the Cordillera

Tan, Antonio. 1994. Ang Mga Mestisong Tsino at ang Pakabuo ng


Kabansaang Pilipino. Manila: Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran.
Wickberg, Edgar. 2000. The Chinese in Philippine Life: 1850-1898.
Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Wong Kwok-Chu. 1999. The Chinese in the Philippine Economy: 18981941. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Yung Li Yuk-wai. 1996. The Huaquiao Warriors: Chinese Resistance
Movements in the Philippines: 1942-1945. Quezon City: Ateneo
de Manila University Press.

Authors Name: ANAVIC BAGAMASPAD


Address: Division of Social Sciences
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Telephone No.: (074) 442-2427
Fax: (074) 442-2427/442-3888

Mankayan Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology:


Insights from An Exploratory Project
Leah Enkiwe-Abayao
This poster presentation is based on results of the Benguet
Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology Project conducted in 1999. The
project was envisioned to contribute to the enrichment of researches on
Cordillera prehistory. It has three components: component 1 focused
on the identification and assessment of the archaeological work done in
the Cordillera region; component 2 aimed to equip the team of
researchers with the knowledge and skills in conducting field research;
and component 3 was an initial familiarization with field techniques in
archaeology and how these supplement or complement the techniques
of historical research.
The project was officially endorsed by the local government
unit of Mankayan. Links were made with researchers from the
National Museum and the Archaeology Studies Program of UP
Diliman.
Mankayan is one of the 13 municipalities of Benguet Province.
Located north of Baguio City, Mankayan can be reached through land
travel via the Halsema road. Colalo, the research site and one of the 12
barangays of the municipality, is in the northernmost section of
Mankayan. It is approximately 10 kilometers from the municipal center
and can be reached through travel in a rough and narrow third class
road.
Colalo was chosen as the research site because of its location
and early history. More importantly, previous work done in the area
(during the Benguet History Project in 1979-1980) gave important clues
on the prospects of merging history with archaeology, through
ethnoarchaeology in a pilot site.
Mankayan ranks among the oldest communities in northern
Benguet. Members of the older families in the area believe that early
inhabitant movement came from three directions: from Bontoc and
Gonogon (in the northeast) and from the Banao-Namiligan area (in the
northwest) to Nangkayang, before the 13th century. Subsequent shifts
can also be traced from Namiligan, southwards to Ampontoc, Dec-can,
Panat and Bag-ongan.
Based on family history data, the original sites which the first
settlers from Namiligan occupied were, therefore, Panat, Bag-ongan,
Dec-can and Ampontoc. Panat and Bag-ongan are located in the
southern side of Mankayan, about 15 kilometers by road in a level area

94

Mankayan Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology

close to the river. Dec-can, meanwhile, is a wide level area located in


the present-day barrio of Balili, about four kilometers to the east of
Mankayan. Ampontoc is located in the present-day barangay Colalo,
about 11 kilometers to the north of Mankayan. The natives apparently
settled here because of the water supply from the river, sourced from
the Dec-can waterfalls and the river originating from Lepanto.

Enkiwe-Abayao

95

Research Site: Colalo, Mankayan. Benguet

The settlers decided to stay permanently in Panat because of


the discovery of gold in the 14th century. They left their farming
activities and shifted to gold washing. Similarly, the discovery of
copper between the 14th and 17 th centuries led people to extend the
settled areas to the Kamangga-an section. Later, more people came
because of the attraction of trade, only to be dispersed later with the
occurrence of an epidemic.
While the epidemic is used to explain the spread of this
growing population out of the existing settlements, it is possible to
consider the incursions of Gimboan into Mankayan from Palatang, or
the activities of the Bontoc people who, like the Palatang people,
survived the hard times by rampant stealing and head-hunting. In this
period, even Ampontoc was to take part in the encroachment in
Mankayan. It appears from folk stories that the incidence of headhunting activities and stealing became more rampant from the mid1700s up to as late as the mid-1800s. In Mankayan, however, (unlike in
Bakun), those considered busol (enemy) were not the Bontocs but the
raiders from Buguias. The Bontocs were over-shadowed by the
Palatang people, led by Gimboan and, later, by Pendemen.

96

Mankayan Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology

Prospecting vs. Field Practicum


The concept of digging was familiar to the community in
relation to treasure- hunting. A suspected burial site was initially
dug where locals recovered a brown glazed jar. Thus, archaeological
diggings were associated with prospecting. The research team clarified
this matter with members of the local council. It was emphasized that
the ethnoarchaeology project did not aim to bring tangible products
like infrastructure and livelihood projects, but to provide a venue for
the Cordillera people to understand their beginnings. Further, an
assurance was made that the peoples control over physical
evidence/artifacts that would be unearthed would be respected.

Assorted glazed pottery sherds or various colors found during the field
practicum along grasslands, trails and backyards.

Just like other archaeological undertakings in the Philippines,


the archaeology research in Colalo was associated with treasurehunting. The commercial orientation of the community posed a
challenge to the research team. And, since the interest of the
community centered on the commercial value of the artifacts, it was
difficult to explain the social purpose and relevance of the study.

Enkiwe-Abayao

97

Of Pottery Sherds, Ceramics, Adzes and Rock Shelters


During the field practicum, exercises focused on archeological
site exploration, identification of surface finds and evaluation of
archeological sites. Site identification and exploration were conducted
along grasslands and foot trails in Ampontoc-Baguyos, Colalo,
Mankayan. Ampontoc was identified as an archeological site because
of previous undertakings (no published reports available) and the
participation of two members of this team in the Benguet history
project. Of particular interest was the account of Mr. Guanso on
folktales and myths that point to Colalo as a very old settlement area.
The grassland, pastureland and settlement areas in AmpontocBaguyos, Colalo were identified from an ocular survey. Colalo is
located along the confluence of two rivers, which makes it an ideal site
for an old settlement.
Since Colalo was earlier conceived as a Neolithic site, the team
spent time looking for ceramics, potsherds and stone tools. The exercise
on identification of surface finds entailed keen observation and was
guided by important questions (How can one identify a stone tool from an
ordinary stone, or a Neolithic potsherd from a modern one? Is it possible to
establish a periodic reference?)
In determining the story of these items in relation to the past
the team referred to ethnographic data. Thus was the need to get
information from the villagers. Unfortunately, most, if not all, of those
residing in the area are migrants from either Cervantes, Ilocos Sur or
Tadian, Mt. Province.

Rock Shelter 1. This rock


shelter is located 16o,
54.933 north and 120o
46.037 east with an
altitude of 2867 feet. The
picture shows the inside
area covered where
dusty bottles can be seen.
This picture also suggests
that the site has been
disturbed.

98

Mankayan Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology

The team noticed that the archeological sites were disturbed by


the local people as evidenced by the houses and roads built in some of
these sites. Still, other areas were used as swidden farms and
pastureland. There is also evidence of looting of clay pots and ceramic
wares. The people in the area were, in fact, selling ceramic wares and
jars to the team.
Rock Shelter 2. This rock
shelter is twice bigger than
rock shelter 1. The length
from the opening is 4.50
meters and 3.92 meters in
width. Stones are paved
along the sides and thick
dust cover the entire area.

Rock Shelter 3. It is located in a road area near Suyoc, Mankayan.

Enkiwe-Abayao

99

Conf ronting the Challenge of Ethnoarcheological Research


When some residents offered to sell their wares during the
field practicum, the team was faced with the problem of how to make
the residents appreciate and put value on their cultural heritage, even
with their commercial orientation. As was argued, the challenge in the
conduct of an ethnoarcheology project is to dislodge this orientation
and create a new consciousness toward an appreciation of the peoples
material culture. It was then suggested that a cultural dissemination
process be undertaken to make the community understand the value of
their material culture. The community members were also invited to
the team meetings, discussions and presentations.

One of the unearthed jars being sold by residents.

E t h n o a r c h a e o l o g y a n d C o r d i l l e r a R e s ea r c h
It is crucial that efforts be directed towards archeological
research in the Cordillera, considering the current commercialization of
the regions material culture. This should be done before archeological
data is either lost or distorted. This will certainly help in the
reconstruction of settlement patterns, prehistoric way of life, economic
patterns, etc. And even if prospects are bright for ethnoarchaeological
research in the Cordillera, there is also a demand for proper
collaboration and expertise on archeological research and its related
fields. This is the challenge put forth.

100 Mankayan Prehistory and Ethnoarchaeology

Pottery lid of various sizes

Authors Name: LEAH ENKIWE-ABAYAO


Address: Division of Social Sciences
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Telephone No.: (074) 442-2427
Fax: (074) 442-2427/442-3888

LOCAL
INSTITUTIONS
The paper, Notions of Justice in the
Cordillera, demonstrates the existence in the
Philippines of a more indigenous concept of democracy,
which did not involve the Western notion of political
parties and elections.
It also reveals how
westernization has contributed to the evolution of the
Cordillera notion of justice and dispute settlement
practices.
The current occurrence of rape (whose
frequency seems to defy the notion that these are all
isolated cases) is rampant in the Philippines. The
retaliation is death penalty. More than half of the
convicts on death row are rapists. Revolving around the
premise that rape is the worst crime against women, the
paper Rape and Death Penalty: Twin Cultural Traits,
proposes for the death penalty by public execution of the
most notorious and guilty offenders. This proposition is
seen as an adequate means of instilling and reinforcing
the evil of the crime in both potential offenders, as an
effective deterrent, and the population at-large.
Speaking from the perspective of an economist
and working under the ceteris paribus assumption, the
author of Economic Transaction Flows in a Typical
Cordillera Village, provides us with a framework to
analyze the resource flows in a village economy.
The Kankana-eys of Benguet have a detailed
development of mining and processing technologies
that, together with their social and ritual system, have
become strategies that enabled them to maintain their
tradition and provided for the long-term sustainability
of non-renewable resources. The paper Strategies of
Survival for a Community of Traditional Small-Scale
Miners explores the response of the Kankana-ey to
government policies that had either positive or negative
impact on their communities.

Apfu-ab-chi
Chokoh:
Mayoyaos
Ethnomedicine in a Changing Cultural Context
presents transitions in both ethnographic data and
paradigms on traditional health concepts. It shows
how indigenous pantheons have a bearing on the
health care practices and healing approaches of the
people of Mayoyao. The perception of the local
people regarding the relationship between the natural
and supernatural realm is illustrated. Components of
Mayoyao ethnomedicine are presented, together with
an analysis of the healing techniques and health
perspectives of traditional health specialists in the
area.
The paper, From Artifact to Art:
Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera,
seeks to determine the meaningful shifts in the
representation as the secular and ritualistic artifacts of
the Cordillera peoples are described and defined in
major or representative texts. A chronological survey
of the literature indicates a perceptible change in the
reading of these objects (baskets, agricultural
implements, ritual devices) that are treated as artifacts
of a purely utilitarian value, sometimes with token
references to the craftsmanship involved in their
construction. Most postwar accounts, on the other
hand, stress their interest in these objects as works of
art. This paper attempts to explain these
developments as well as the problems involved in
configuring the material culture of the Cordillera
either as primitive art or exotic artifact.
To follow the customs of the elders or to
embrace the new secular order this is the dilemma
reflected in the Ibaloi pop songs of today. The study,
Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs, focuses
on four Ibaloi pop songs to show the present
generations ambivalent feeling about the demands of
both life modes.
In Say What, II, the author concerns
herself with historical insights from the creative
process of dramatic writing, particularly those
gleaned from the decidedly grueling process of
writing a historical screenplay set against BaguioBenguet at the turn of the last century.

N o t i o n s o f Ju s t i c e i n t h e C o r d i l l e r a
Alejandro Ciencia, Jr.

Introduction
Media coverage of court cases has tremendously increased
since the latter part of the 1980s. The Filipino public has been
constantly bombarded with news about on-going trials, emerging legal
battles, and court verdicts. This phenomenon has extended to the last
decade of the century, and as a new millennium dawns, it is evident
that the trend continues.
Media's preoccupation with legal matters has unavoidably
raised in the consciousness of some Filipinos questions about the
Philippine legal system and its ability to ensure justice. Undeniably,
there is among Filipinos a prevailing feeling of dissatisfaction with the
existing system of justice in the Philippines.
Perfecto Fernandez argues that the dissatisfaction is rooted in
the fact that the existing legal system is a mere western transplantation
of legal concepts which are not wholly compatible with traditional
Filipino beliefs and values. Any effort to address the dissatisfaction
therefore requires an understanding of the incompatibilities between
folk legal culture and the western-style legal system.
This incompatibility is most evident in the Cordillera where
both national law and customary law are recognized and used.
Incidentally, Schlegel contends that the indigenous peoples of the
Philippines (like those in the Cordillera) are, to some extent, still
practicing the kind of culture that was representative of all pre-colonial
societies. Conflicts arise from the adherence to separate legal systems
the national and the customary in indigenous communities like those
in the Cordillera. Such conflicts resemble the uneasy relationship
between folk legal culture and state law in the lowland areas of the
Philippines.
If the aforementioned claims are accepted, an examination of
dispute-settlement
practices among Cordillera
groups
can,
therefore, provide information regarding pre-colonial systems of
justice. It is then possible to arrive at some explanation for the
dissatisfaction with the system and to obtain an understanding of the
incompatibilities between the traditional and contemporary legal
systems. Needless to say, any effort to fuse or link both systems should
first consider the issue of incompatibility.

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

Without doubt, dispute-settlement practices among indigenous


peoples have evolved through the years.
Contemporary disputesettlement practices no longer resemble the pre-colonial in their
entirety, and among existing indigenous groups, differences in
practices can be gleaned.
If however contemporary indigenous
societies share with pre-colonial societies some persistent and common
feature which has a bearing on dispute-settlement practices and
notions of justice, the indigenous or traditional systems can then offer a
better understanding of folk legal culture and the traditional Filipino
notion of justice.

Statement of the Problem


This paper attempts to identify the notions of justice in the
Cordillera. To identify the key elements which constitute these notions
of justice, the researcher conducted a content analysis of ethnographic
and other secondary data on Cordillera groups which deal with
customary laws, dispute processing, and the administration of justice.
This paper seeks to answer the general question: What do
groups in the Cordillera comprehend as just? To be able to answer this,
the following specific questions must first be addressed: (1) What
constitutes an offense or an unjust circumstance among the Cordillera
groups?; (2) What is their notion of a just remedy for injuries
inflicted?; (3) What procedures for the processing of disputes do they
accept as just? and, (4) Who do they regard as the legitimate executor
of justice?
In this study, the term "notions of justice" should suggest the
possibility that no single concept of justice is uniformly shared in the
Cordillera.
The researcher assumes that notions of justice and
interpretations of custom law differ from group to group, and within a
group it would be important to look at how notions of justice are
shared across class, gender, age, etc. It must also be added that
through time notions of justice and interpretations of custom law
change. Still, it can be argued that despite the diversity and the
changes, there is a general agreement as to the corpus of custom law.
Consequently, some elements which constituted traditional notions of
justice still persist today.

Research Objectives
The aim of the study is to abstract the key elements which
constitute the notions of justice from the ethnographic and other
secondary data in the Cordillera.

Ciencia

105

Research Method
The researcher conducted an analysis of secondary data on
Cordillera groups. Data for the study were obtained from three
sources: (1) ethnographic studies, (2) survey results, and (3) findings
of key-informant interviews.

Note on Materials
Using materials that are available at the U.P. College Baguio
Library and the Cordillera Studies Center, the researcher relied
immensely on the more exhaustive and earlier ethnographic studies.
This preference for the "earlier" ethnographic works is rooted in the
researcher's desire to have an understanding of Cordillera customary
law and practices at a time when colonial western influence on
traditional life was not yet very pervasive. However, for the sake of
brevity, only the analyses of ethnographic studies on the Ifugao,
Kalinga, and Bontok will be discussed in this paper. Nonetheless, such
presentation should suggest the prevalence of diversity in the
Cordillera.
The survey results and findings of key-informant interviews
were obtained exclusively from the joint Cordillera Studies Center
(CSC) and Social Weather Stations (SWS) project entitled "Ethnic
Variations in Citizen Attitudes to Government, Dispute Settlement, and
Mechanical Solidarity." The intention in using the survey results and
the key-informant interviews was to obtain data on Cordillera disputesettlement practices and attitudes in contemporary times, that is, after
some acculturation had already taken place.
The CSC-SWS survey covered all of the Cordillera provinces
except Apayao which was excluded due to travel constraints. Keyinformant interviews, meanwhile, were conducted in selected
communites in all of the research sites except Bontoc. Key-informants
were asked about contemporary dispute-processing practices in their
communities.
Unlike the presentation of the ethnographic data, the survey
results offer more representative and recent information regarding
dispute settlement behavior. On the other hand, while the community
data offer an in-depth look into dispute-settlement procedures and
behavior in the Cordillera at the barangay level, only the communities
in four provincial sites will be included in the presentation. Only
communities where the dominant ethnic group is large are considered
in the presentation. Thus, only the community data (results of key-

106

Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

informant interviews) on Tingguian Abra, Kalinga, Ifugao, and


Kankana-ey Mountain Province will be presented
It was the objective of the researcher to compare the "earlier"
ethnographic data on a particular group with the more contemporary
data on that same group. The goal was to discern similar principles
underlying dispute-settlement practices. It must be stressed here that
while there was an effort to compare contemporary practices with the
customary, the purpose was not to determine the extent of change, but
to uncover underlying principles.

Conducting the Content Analysis


In the actual analysis of the data, the researcher used a
schedule in abstracting from the materials the key elements which
constitute the notions of justice in the Cordillera. The researcher kept
in mind that notions of justice are community-specific, group-specific,
or time-specific. The researcher was, therefore, very conscious of the
peculiarity of the particular group or community being examined and
the period when those notions were held.
A set of questions was formulated as a guide in determining
what constitutes (1) an offense or a conflict situation; (2) a just remedy
or just punishment; (3) an acceptable processing of disputes; and, (4)
authority in the Cordillera.
It must be reiterated here that these
questions only served as guides. As such, questions were dispensed
with in the course of the study when they were shown to be not useful.
Notions of Offenses and Conflict Situations
Offenses may be regarded as violations of the values of life,
property and honor. But how are offenses defined in the Cordillera?
What value is violated or threatened when offenses are committed?
When a violation is committed,
a.

Who is regarded as the aggrieved? Is it an individual, a


family, a kinship group or the whole community? Who
has the right to seek redress?

b.

Who is regarded as the offender? Is it an individual?


family, a kinship group or the whole community?

c.

Is the offense public or private? Under what conditions


is an offense regarded as public or private? Is it a severe
offense or a mild one? What types of offenses are
insignificant?
Under what conditions is an offense
regarded as severe, mild or insignificant?

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Notions of Remedies and Punishments


a. How is an injury redressed in the Cordillera? Is it through
personal retributive action?
Is it through fines and
negotiation?
Under what conditions are fines and
negotiation justified?
b. Who is the recipient of punishment? Is it the offender
himself, his household or the community? Under what
conditions is an individual other than the original
aggressor punished?
c. What is the purpose of punishment? Is it to appease the
offender?
Is it retribution? Is it the reformation of the
culprit? Is it to deter future offenses?, etc.
d. As to fines, how are fines determined? Are distinctions
between males and females, young and old, upper rank
and
rank, insider
and outsider, etc. made in the
determination of fines?
Is a standard followed? Is intentionality recognized in the
determination of fines? Is recidivism or the repeated
commission of an offense considered in the determination
of fines?
Is the distinction between total and partial
liability recognized?
e. Who receives the fine? Is it the aggrieved himself, his kin,
the community or a combination?
f.

Who furnishes the fine? Is it the offender himself, his kin,


etc?

Notions of Acceptable Procedures


a.

Who can report cases of offenses or bring cases to the


legitimate executor of justice or case handler? Is it the
aggrieved himself, his kin, or can anyone report cases?

b.

In the processing of disputes involving a third party, what


methods are used?
Is it mediation and conciliation,
arbitration, adjudication, or something else? What is the
justification for the choice of procedure?

c.

In cases where negotiation fails, are other means resorted


to? E.g., trial by ordeals, recitation of oaths, etc.

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

Executor of Justice or Case Handler


a.

Who executes justice? Is it the aggrieved himself? Is it his


kin? Or, is justice executed or facilitated by a third party
or a political authority? Is this political authority an
individual or a collective? What are the qualifications of a
political authority?

b.

Under what conditions is the aggrieved justified in


inflicting injury on the offender? What is the justification
for such?

c.

Under what conditions is a third party justified in


executing justice? In whose behalf does he execute justice?
What is the justification?

d. Is the exercise of power by the political authority total or


partial?
e.

Is the political authority essentially a mediator or


conciliator, arbitrator or adjudicator?

f.

Do political authorities or intermediaries receive


compensation for their efforts? What is the justification for
such?

As already stated above, it was imperative that these notions of


justice were first studied in relation to (a) group or locality, and (b)
time. Hence, the researcher concentrated first on one particular
Cordillera group before tackling the others. He devoted his research to
answering the aforementioned questions.

Presentation of Findings Based on the Ethnographic Data


Ethnographic data on Cordillera groups show that there are
significant variations in the way these groups understood "offenses,"
"punishments," "procedure" and "authority."
Concept of Offenses
Offenses in Bontoc are, to a large extent, understood as
offenses against the ili or village.
An offense is a public offense
inasmuch as it injures the village. This is shown by the fact that the
fines in Bontoc go to the elders who are the decision-makers in the
community. The aggrieved individual and his family members rarely
benefit from these fines given the taboo against eating the food of an
enemy. It must be qualified however that this taboo actually allows the
aggrieved and family members to seek private settlement or, in earlier

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109

times, to exact personal vengeance on the offender. The mere fact that
the whole family is forbidden from partaking of the fines means that, to
some extent, the whole family has been offended and is allowed to
avenge the offense. However, unlike the Ifugaos and the Kalingas, the
Bontok do not treat offenses simply as offenses against the kinship
group.
The Bontok village is, however, divided into wards or ator and
a villager is necessarily affiliated to a ward. Now, an injury to a
member of the ator is handled both as an injury to the ator and to the
village. Nonetheless, in Bontoc violations including theft are generally
seen as offenses against a collectivity and against honor, i.e. not simply
against property.
In Ifugao, offenses are seen as offenses against the individual
and the kinship group. This means that the kinship group can seek
redress for any injury inflicted upon any of its members. Injuries are
also seen as violations on the honor of the kinship group. As Barton
contends, Ifugaos tend to regard petty offenses like non-payment of
debts as an insult. Conversely, the indemnities paid to the aggrieved
person must also be shared by his kin. Unlike the Bontok, the Ifugaos
have a vague notion of a political community and do not recognize a
territorial leader or a common authority. The Ifugaos therefore do not
also understand offenses as offenses against the community as the
Bontoks do.
The Kalingas, meanwhile, view offenses as offenses against
both the kinship group and the region, i.e. the territory traditionally
occupied by kinsmen. While the pangat or Kalinga chieftain is a
spokesman for his kinship group, he also endeavors to fix disputes and
maintain peace in the region. In fact, he may even injure his own
kinsmen if it would restore peace in the region. The handling of interregional disputes highlights the distinction between the Ifugaos and
the Kalingas. Among the Ifugaos, an injury inflicted on the kinship
group by an outsider is still an offense against the kinship group.
Among the Kalingas, an injury inflicted by an outsider is punished as
an injury to the district. Any member of the opposite district can
expect retaliation by merely being a member of the offending district.
The Kalinga practice of forging peace pacts reinforces this
understanding of collective offense. The pact holder is an agent of the
other district and also the protector of the home region. He can punish
offending village mates as an act of retaliation in behalf of the other
region. At the same time, he also punishes these offending village
mates in behalf of his home region for placing its security and
constituents at risk.

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

One can therefore argue that while there are differences in the
way offenses are viewed, these are generally seen as directed against a
collectivity. An injury is ultimately seen as directed against the kinship
group, the village, or the region, and rarely treated as the sole injury to
one individual.
While one can argue that offenses are committed by
individuals, under Cordillera custom law, the individual is not the
reference point but rather the collectivity - the kinship group, the
village or the region, especially when third parties are excluded, e.g.
go-between, community leaders, etc.
In fact, even in private
settlements or instances of vengeance, individuals other than the
aggrieved or the aggressor may be involved.
It must be qualified however that the above should not be
taken to mean that since offenses are generally directed against a
collectivity, Cordillera groups have an impersonal understanding of
law and offenses. On the contrary, the opposite is true. Offenses are
"personal." They are directed against persons. Violations under
modern law, like illegal possession of weapons for instance, would not
be regarded as an offense under custom law in the Cordillera since
there is no person (or group of persons) who is clearly the aggrieved
party.
Offenses must necessarily involve persons. When a person
feels aggrieved, he or she can bring the matter to the kinship group or
to the community for the leaders to determine whether a conflict case
exists. This suggests that custom law is flexible and can consider new
offenses as they arise.
Concept of Remedies/Punishment
Remedies are understood in relation to offenses. If the injury
of an individual is taken as the injury of a collectivity then that
collectivity, and not only the offended individual, must be appeased by
the remedies. In the same token, if the fault of one individual is the
fault of a collectivity then that collectivity should be punished
alongside the individual.
It can be gleaned from the ethnographic data that the
assessment of fines has replaced vengeance as punishment or remedy
for injuries inflicted on the aggrieved. Obviously, there are variations
in the way fines are determined and who should receive them. In
Bontoc, in petty cases of theft the victim secures replacement for his
stolen property from the offender. In serious cases, the offender is
usually fined a pig or a chicken which is butchered and eaten by the
elders. Again, the victim does not partake of the fines. Fines accrue to
the elders inasmuch as it is the village which has been offended.

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111

In Ifugao and Kalinga, cases of theft are generally punished


with the payment of fines. There are differences however in the way
fines are determined. In some places, differences in status, insideroutsider distinctions, kinship ties and the relative values attached to
objects affect the way fines are determined. In other places, fines are
standard. Barton contends that while a standard fine exists in Kalinga,
go-betweens and the pangats try to make fines regular. In actuality,
fines in Kalinga are determined by negotiations between kinship
groups. Apparently, this also holds true in Ifugao. The resolution of a
case must be amenable to both disputing parties for it to be final.
Nonetheless, fines are assessed and these go to the aggrieved kinship
group. It is significant therefore that in cases of murder in Kalinga and
Ifugao the size of the kinship group can affect the amount of fines or
weregilds paid.
It is important to note that there is no tradition of jailing
offenders. It is true that detentions occur especially when the offender
is an outsider. These are practiced however not as punishment per se
but as a tactic to pressure relatives and co-villagers of the offender to
redeem him with the payment of indemnities.
It has been observed that in some settlements in the Cordillera
an offender may pay his fines in terms of actual labor. The offender
works for the aggrieved until his work would have paid for his debts
or fines. This is significant for apart from ensuring that the offender
can "pay" for his offenses in such a way that the offended party benefits
from his punishment, reconciliation is generated as the result of
interaction in the sharing of work. It must be stressed again that
custom law in the Cordillera is flexible and adapts to new situations.
The observation that fines are negotiated by disputing parties
in certain parts of the Cordillera deserves comment. The practice leads
to reconciliation between disputants since, as stated earlier, a resolution
becomes final only when it is accepted by the disputing parties. The
mere fact that the disputing parties take an active part in determining
settlements increases the possibility that the fines are reasonable for
both parties. Stated differently, negotiations allow the parties to define
for themselves what they think is a reasonable resolution of a case.
It must be stressed that negotiations work well when a gobetween can convince both parties that immediate resolution and
compromise would be beneficial to their interest. It can be expected
that disputing parties are not always evenly matched. One party can
have more able-bodied members that it can threaten violence if their
demands are not met. One party may have fewer material resources
that it is easily pressured not to contest the claims of the stronger party,

112

Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

fearing more severe fines should it lose the case. A fair go-between is
indispensable then. Compensations for go-betweens serve as checks on
the actions of go-betweens. Fewer cases would be brought to a gobetween who has a reputation for being unfair.
Thus, his
compensation would not be large. Of course, an unfair go-between can
also expect the wrath of a dissatisfied party.
Throughout the Cordillera, the primary aims of punishments
and remedies then are the appeasement of the aggrieved, the
restoration of friendly relations between disputing parties, and the
deterrence of future offenses. Whether disputes are settled privately
between disputants or settled through the intervention of a third party,
the initial purpose for seeking redress is appeasement. This can mean
compensating the loss of the offended. When third parties are asked to
facilitate the settling of disputes, reconciliation and deterrence become
the aims of remedies. It must be stressed that punishment is rarely
employed for its own sake. Punishment results either in compensation
or some gains for the aggrieved or in reforming the offender and
deterring future offenses.
Concept of Authority/Case Handlers
Persons who are tasked with settling disputes may be classified
into two: (1) authorities having the sanction of the community, and (2)
functionaries in the service of kinship groups. It must be qualified that
these two categories are not always mutually exclusive.
The first type of case handlers includes old men in the village
who informally constitute the council of elders. Bontok leaders are the
best examples of this type. As separate individuals, an elder cannot
make binding decisions for the community. As a member of the village
council however, each elder contributes to the making of community
decisions. The decisions of the elders have the weight of law in the
community.
For a person to be a leader in the community, he must have
certain qualities. The qualifications of leaders, of course, vary from
village to village. In general however seniority is important. This is
because people attribute wisdom to old age and experience. Since a
leader is likewise a settler of disputes, he must have knowledge of
custom law and he must be an articulate and a persuasive speaker.
Traditionally, a leader must have an impressive war record.
He must have shown his courage and skill in battle. He must have the
reputation of a killer or a headhunter so as to instill fear in his village-

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113

mates and command their respect. Inasmuch as the males do most of


the fighting, the leaders are males.
Bontok elders are community leaders. They are vested with
authority as the decision-makers in the community. The Kalinga
pangat is likewise a leader in the community. Unlike the Ifugao gobetween, he is not simply a spokesman for a kinship group. At times,
he also represents the interests of the region. But unlike the Bontok
and Ibaloy elders, the pangats do not meet as a council to make
decisions for the community. Barton argues that pangats serve as
counsel to their kin in cases of domestic disputes and not as a council.
It is only in big gatherings of people where all pangats in the
community may be seen together. In such gatherings however anyone
can speak, not only the pangats.
Go-betweens, on the other hand, are mere functionaries of
disputing parties whether these are kinship groups, ators, villages or
regions. A go-between has no authority and is primarily in the service
of the disputing parties. He arranges settlements but his words have
no binding effects on the disputants. A go-between almost always has
personal interest in the swift resolution of disputes. An Ifugao gobetween receives compensation for his efforts. He gains more material
rewards when he attains the reputation for being an effective gobetween since more cases would be brought to him. A Bontok gobetween, on the other hand, is an individual related to both disputing
villages. He is usually born in one and married into the other. The
resolution of the disputes is enough compensation for him since he or
she, among all the people in village, would be greatly affected if ties
between the disputing villages were not restored.
With regard to the concept of authority or "case handler" in the
Cordillera, it is important to note that resolutions are always collective
or consensual. A Bontok elder, as already stated, cannot issue a verdict
on a conflict all by himself. Other members of the council must concur
with this decision. While it has been noted that a powerful elder, by
sheer force of character, can sway others in the council to his side, it can
still be argued that the others in the council allowed him to do so.
Majority rule is not followed in these meetings since a decision must be
agreeable to all - i.e. unanimity is the rule.
Decisions are consensual and negotiated. Go-betweens cannot
impose their will on the disputing parties for in the first place they
have no authority. Go-betweens can only facilitate the negotiations
and the terms of the final settlement must be agreeable to all. The
disputing parties must consent to the settlement, otherwise the case is
still unresolved.

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

Concept of Procedures
Apart from private settlements or personal vengeance, i.e.
remedies not involving third parties, there are two basic procedures
used in resolving disputes: (1) face-to-face hearings or trials, and (2)
private negotiations involving a go-between.
In face-to-face hearings, the disputing parties and their
witnesses are cross-examined by a council or by an interrogator
mutually selected by disputants. A verdict is issued at the end of the
cross-examination and exchange of claims and counterclaims. In places
where a council has the sanction of the community, either arbitration or
adjudication is employed. It must be stressed however that the verdict
is the collective decision of the council. In places where an interrogator
is employed by the disputing parties, the verdict is still subject to the
approval of both. Some form of negotiation then takes place until an
acceptable settlement is reached.
In private negotiations involving a go-between, negotiations
also occur but these are not made in face-to-face meetings. The gobetweens move to and fro between disputants, bringing news of new
demands or compromises.
Again, the final settlement must be
acceptable to both. When negotiations are involved, mediation is the
procedure used.
The use of ordeals and oaths is a matter of interest. The use of
such tests or rites are prevalent across the Cordillera. Although there
are differences in the objects used, the manner in which tests or rites
were conducted, and the way the results were interpreted, these were
resorted in cases where suspects deny their guilt or where there are no
suspects at all.
Yet, despite the belief that the gods are on the side of the
innocent, case handlers see to it that contestants are more or less evenly
matched as is the case in wrestling contests. With regard to the Bontok
practice of consulting the omen of the chicken gall, it must be
remembered that it is merely a confirmation of a verdict arrived at,
given the testimonies of parties involved. It can be expected that the in
most cases the gall is normal. On the other hand, it has been argued
that certain ordeals have scientific basis. In the rice-chewing ordeal,
the nervous offender is most likely to have the driest chewed-rice and
is thus pronounced guilty.
It must be stressed that the ordeals have significance only
when people believe in their results. There are reports of suspects
being caught putting certain applications on their hands and arms so
they would not be scalded, knowing that otherwise they would be

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injured severely. Nonetheless, once people attribute truth to their


outcomes, offenders are most likely to accept guilt rather than suffer
severe injuries. Hence, people fear the sapata or the practice of inviting
misfortunes if suspects are found to be lying since they have observed
that these misfortunes do occur to known offenders.
As to procedures, it must be stressed that outcomes are always
negotiated and unlike formal legal procedures, the indigenous system
tends to be non-adversarial so as to facilitate reconciliation and
settlement.

Presentation of Survey Results


Respondents were asked to identify "what is important for a
decision to be just." It must be stressed that the question is an openended one and tends to elicit rather abstract responses. Moreover, the
Ilocano equivalent of "just" is problematic since nalinteg means lawful
thus implying legality. Pre-test results however have shown that the
question as phrased above elicits more meaningful responses than
"what is just?" Despite the limitation, the question was still asked with
the objective of getting some idea as to what characteristics constitute a
just decision in a case of conflict.
It has been observed that responses to the aforementioned
question rarely include answers referring to the "legal basis" of such
decisions. (See TABLE 1). Only 3.8% of all responses have some
reference to a "legal basis." Some may argue that this is so because to
reply "it is the law" would be begging the question (given the
limitation mentioned above).
Still, the percentage of "tautologous"
responses is a lot lower than what would be expected in a survey and
to an open-ended question at that. Moreover, a "tautologous" response
like "it is the law," still requires qualification since it does not
specifically refer to customary law, national law, etc. Hence, the
answer "it is the law" is still meaningful especially when the specific
type of law is identified.
Codes for the processing of the responses were formulated
only after all fieldwork was accomplished. Four general categories
were identified: the maker of the decision, the legal basis, the
consequence of the decision, and certain procedural concerns.

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

Table 1: What is a Just Decision in the Cordillera

QUESTION: What is important for a decision to be just?


Frequency

Percentage

A. DECISION-MAKER (subtotal = 36.8%)


private settlement among parties
made by traditional leaders
made collectively by traditional leaders
made by state authority
made collectively by state authorities
made by traditional and state leaders
made by the community
made by knowledgeable handler

21
20
5
51
6
20
39
10

4.5
4.3
1.1
10.9
1.3
4.3
8.3
2.1

B. LEGAL BASIS (subtotal = 3.8%)


based on customary law
based on state law
based on precedents
based on Christian doctrines

2
12
1
3

0.4
2.6
0.2
0.6

6
38
4
111
31

1.3
8.1
9
23.8
6.6

75
2
3

16.1
0.4
0.6

4
3
467

0.9
0.6
99.9

C. CONSEQUENCE (subtotal = 40.7%)


aggrieved is appeased
offender is punished
offender is reformed
disputants reconcile
harmony in community
D. PROCEDURAL CONCERNS (subtotal = 17.2%)
with neutrality/fairness
reliance on evidence
witnesses utilized
E. OTHERS (subtotal = 1.5%)
no answer
do not know
TOTAL
*Weighted
**does not add to 100 percent due to Rounding Error

The results of the survey show that 40.7% of respondents


answered with some reference to the consequence of the decision.
36.8%, meanwhile, equated a just decision with the source or maker of
the decision. 17.1% of respondents identified certain procedural
concerns as essential to a just decision. As already stated, only 3.8
equated a just decision with its legal basis.
As to the consequences, a just decision must lead to the
reconciliation of disputants (23.8%), or the punishment of the offender
(8.1%). With regard to the maker of a just decision, 10.9% mentioned
"state authority." 8.3% cited the community as the giver of a just
decision. As to procedural concerns, 16.1% say that a decision is just
when it results from fair and unbiased deliberations.

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117

The top three responses therefore are "disputants reconcile"


(23.8%), "handled with neutrality and fairness" (16.1%), and "made by
a state authority" (10.9%). As to why there is no consensus as to what
constitutes a just decision, one can argue that the open-ended and
abstract nature of the question allowed such varied responses, or that
varied notions of justice abound in the Cordillera.
Significantly, in most instances one in every four persons
would equate justice with reconciliation. This orientation can be
attributed to customary dispute-settlement practices in the Cordillera
where terms of settlements are negotiated until these are acceptable to
both parties and where disputes are ended with feasts for the
disputants and/or the elders and the community.
Nearly one in every six persons equates justice with fairness
and neutrality by case handlers in the processing of disputes. Such
attitude cannot exactly be attributed to either custom or modern legal
practices. This needs further analysis.
One in every 10 persons says that a decision is just when
rendered by a state authority. The survey and the community data
have identified the barangay captain to be the state authority referred to
here. It must be emphasized that the national government discourages
the filing of complaints before bodies and entities in the community
other than the barangay captain. A decision rendered by traditional
leaders, whether as separate individuals or as a collective body, was
described as "just" by only 5.4% of the respondents. Clearly, the
powers of the elders have immensely decreased whereas the barangay
captain's influence has grown.
The other barangay officials do not seem to be very active in the
settlement of disputes. At least they cannot be active without the
barangay captain, and the barangay captain gives the final decision (or
the final decision is perceived by the people as emanating from the
barangay captain alone).
Nowadays, the elders participate in the
settling of disputes either as a separate body or in conjunction with
state authorities. Unlike barangay officials except the barangay captain,
the elders as a separate body still handle cases in certain parts in the
Cordillera.
Interestingly, the "community" is referred to in 14.9% of the
responses, e.g. "made by the community" (8.3%), and "generates
harmony in the community" (6.6%). These two responses are not
identical or totally compatible. A decision which generates harmony in
the community may be rendered by a person or body other than the
community. Moreover, the response "made by the community" is not

118

Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

very precise. Although it has been noted that in some areas in the
Cordillera like Malin-awa, Buaya and Magnao in Kalinga, the
community participates in the settlement of disputes, it is not clear
whether the body as a whole makes the final decision, or community
members only offer suggestions while final decision is issued by other
individuals, or whether decisions by leaders of the community are
regarded as decisions by the whole community. Still, the fact that the
"community" is explicitly mentioned in almost 15% of the responses, at
the very least, means that the welfare of the community is important in
some areas in the Cordillera. One can, in fact, compare the percentage
of respondents who identified "appeasement of the aggrieved" (1.3%)
as an important element of a just decision with the percentage of those
who mentioned "harmony in the community" (6.6%). Those who cite
"harmony in the community" are five times more than those who speak
of the "appeasement of the individual." Coincidentally, data on Bontok
reveal that the community is regarded by respondents as the aggrieved
in 51% of total cases of theft, land dispute, personal injury, murder,
rape and wife-battery.
That justice is viewed as reconciliation suggests that justice is
viewed as benefiting a collectivity, whether it is the community or the
disputing families. Justice is rarely understood as benefiting only
the individual. This notion is still consistent with customary practices.
Comparing the Cordillera data with data on the Ilocanos in
Abra, one however observes that reconciliation of disputants and
neutrality in the handling of disputes are not exclusive to the Cordillera
peoples. In fact, majority of respondents in Ilocano Abra speak of
justice only in terms of these two: "reconciliation" (42.4%); neutrality
(33.4%). This suggests a common understanding between Cordillerans
and non-Cordillerans with regard to the proper consequences of "legal"
decisions and as to how disputes should be handled.

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Table 2: What is Important for a Decision to be Just


IBALOY BENGUET
disputants reconcile
neutrality/fairness
made by state authority
offender is punished

Frequency
14
9
8
8

Percentage
(n=65)
21.5%
13.8%
12.3%
12.3%

KANKANA -EY BENGUET


disputants reconcile
made by state authority
harmony in the community

16
10
8

(n=53)
30.2%
18.9%
15.1%

KANKANA -EY MOUNTAIN PROVINCE


offender is punished
neutrality/fairness
disputants reconcile

15
13
9

(n=60)
25%
21.7%
15%

IFUGAO
disputants reconcile
made by state authority
made by community
neutrality/fairness

25
13
10
10

(n=111)
22.5%
11.7%
9%
9%

KALINGA
made by the community
made by state authority
made by trad'l&state leaders

13
10
7

(n=56)
23.2%
17.9%
12.5%

TINGGUIAN ABRA
made by traditional leaders
harmony in the community
neutrality/fairness
offender is punished

10
9
9
7

(n=60)
16.7%
15%
15%
11.7%

ILOCANO ABRA
disputants reconcile
neutrality/fairness
private agreement

25
20
4

(n=59)
42.4%
33.9%
6.8%

One can, of course, ask whether data on the Ilocanos in Abra


account for much of the Cordillera data. The Ilocanos, however,
constitute only about 15% of the total sample, and even if the Ilocano
responses were removed from the Cordillera data, the top three
responses remain intact in their positions.
The Tingguian Abra data reveal more traditional responses.
The top two responses: "made by traditional leaders" (16.7%) and
"generates harmony in the community" (15%) indicate that customary
dispute-settlement practices are still widely observed in the provincial

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

site. Nonetheless, another 15% report the importance of fairness and


neutrality.
In Kalinga, a just decision is equated with a decision made by
the community (23.2%). In some Kalinga barangays conflicts are heard
by the whole community. 17.9% refer to a decision made by the
barangay captain as "just" while 12.5% equate a "just" decision with
those made by the combination of traditional and state leaders. It can
be noticed that in Kalinga, a just decision is generally understood in
relation to the maker of the decision.
In Ifugao, a decision must reconcile disputants if it is to be
considered just (22.5%). It must also be made by a state authority
(11.7%). A matter of interest however is the response "made by the
community" (9%). This is intriguing since ethnographers contend that
the Ifugaos think more in terms of the kinship group than of the
community. The top response in Ifugao, i.e. "disputants reconcile," is to
be expected given that a kinship group is never safe when its security is
threatened by rival kinship groups. This "community" probably refers
to the ethnic region.
In Kankana-ey Mountain Province, a just decision must result in
the punishment of the offender (25%). It is understandable that justice
is equated with punishment since the remedy must primarily address
the injury. It is however unclear why punishment ranks first only in
Kankana-ey Mountain Province and not in any other provincial site. In
addition, this information does not hold in Kankana-ey Benguet.
Punishment does not appear in the top three Kankana-ey Benguet
responses.
It can be noticed, on the other hand, that data on Ibaloy
Benguet, with minor differences, somehow resemble
over-all
Cordillera data. Compared to the other provincial sites, the dominant
group in Ibaloy Benguet comprises only 53%, the lowest ratio of
dominant group to total population. One can hypothesize that perhaps
other groups are represented in the Ibaloy Benguet sample. Apart from
the Kankana-eys who constitute 27.3% of total Ibaloy Benguet
population, the Bontok (4.5%) and the Ilocanos (1.5%) are the only major
Cordillera groups represented.

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Analysis of the Community Data


Similarities in Dispute-Settlement Practices
The key-informants in the four provincial research sites report
that all cases are always brought first to the barangay captain. This
practice is obviously encouraged by the national government. This
does not necessarily mean, however, that all cases are settled by the
barangay captain or at the barangay level. In fact, the barangay captain
may refer the matter to various bodies - the elders, the barangay council,
to the courts, etc. Nonetheless, the barangay captain must always be
notified regarding complaints or disputes.
Interestingly, the lupon and the barangay council are separate
bodies in the Cordillera. The elders are oftentimes referred to as the
lupon or at least members of it alongside former barangay captains and
officials. Still, in almost all the communities in the four provincial sites,
the lupon and barangay captain handle dispute cases in joint meetings.
The barangay officials however do not always participate in disputesettlement in the Cordillera.
Significantly, in the provincial sites cited, the lallakay or elders
are referred to as the traditional decision-makers. Decision-making is
always collective. In most provincial sites, an individual elder cannot
by himself make decisions in behalf of the whole community. It is only
in Tingguian Abra where it is reported that an elder can make decisions
in behalf of the whole community. It is qualified however that the
other elders must be aware of his action.
Apparently, the practice of using go-betweens has become
infrequent in the Cordillera since most settlements take place in face-toface meetings between disputing parties with the elders and barangay
captain as witnesses. In addition, these encounters are generally nonconfrontational. On the other hand, the assessment of fines as
punishment for offenses seems to have become widespread even as
variations exist as to how these are determined and who receives them.
There is general agreement in the four provincial sites as to
how particular types of offenses are understood. Encroachments on
the boundary of the community, injuries involving outsiders, and the
destruction of private property are considered public offenses in the
Cordillera including Ifugao.
Theft of small items and offenses
resulting from drunkenness are regarded in all the sites as petty
offenses. There are public offenses which are also petty offenses.
Public disturbance resulting from drunkenness is considered as both
public and petty offense. Marital disputes, meanwhile, are considered

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

private matters, thus wife-battery in some communities is a private


offense and is not the concern of the rest of the community.
Almost all the key informants in the four sites say that the
individual is the aggrieved party in cases of injury. Some would add
that apart from the individual, property can also be harmed. When it
comes to who has the right to seek redress, almost all informants aver
that, apart from the individual, the family of the aggrieved has this
right. It is only in Tingguian Abra where it is reported that friends of
the aggrieved can also seek redress.
Differences in Dispute-Settlement Practices
Communities in Tingguian Abra, Ifugao, Kalinga and Kankanaey Mountain Province differ in the way they deal with dual citizenship,
ordeals and oaths, fines, vengeance, and questions regarding choice of
law and venue.

Table 3: Variations in Contemporary Dispute-Settlement Practices


TINGGUIAN

ORDEALS
SAPATA

FINES

VENGEANCE

CHOICE OF
LAW
EFFECTIVE
VENUE

IFUGAO

practiced by
most

practiced by
some

no standard
cash & kind:
elders &
aggrvd
allowed/
unpreventable
done by family
& friends
CL: all esp.
grave
NL: petty

negotiated
cash:aggrved
kind: feast

combination or
elders (CL
used)

combination or
barangay
officials

not allowed but


unpreventable
done by family
depends on
choice of
parties

KALINGA
practiced by
some but most
people believe
standard
cash: aggrvd
kind: feast
allowed by less
than half/
unpreventable
done by family
CL: grave esp.
murder
NL: all esp.
petty
combination

KANKANA-EY
MT.
PROVINCE
practiced by
very few
Standard
cash & kind:
aggrvd
not allowed

CL: theft &


land dispute
NL: murder
physical injury
combination

As to the sapata and other ordeals, most Tingguian


communities practice them while very few Mountain Province
Kankana-eys resort to them. Only some case handlers in Ifugao and
Kalinga resort to the sapata or ordeals when settling disputes.
Ironically, while only some practice the sapata in Kalinga, most people

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actually believe in it. The reason for this paradox is simple. The sapata
is rarely resorted to because people fear its consequences.
Fines in Kalinga and Kankana-ey Mountain Province are
standard.
It cannot be ascertained, however, if the standard is a
traditional one or based on the barangay ordinance. Nonetheless, in
Kalinga the offender pays cash fines which go to the aggrieved. He
also furnishes animals to be butchered for a feast. In Kankana-ey
Mountain Province, fines, whether in cash or in kind, go to the
aggrieved. In Tingguian Abra, there is no standard for determining
fines. Fines, whether cash or in kind, are shared by the aggrieved and
the elders. In Ifugao, fines are negotiated by disputants. Still, cash
fines go to the aggrieved while animal payments are butchered for
feasts.
Vengeance is generally not allowed in most of the communities
in the provincial sites. Apparently, vengeance does not usually happen
in Kankana-ey Mountain Province. Almost half of the key informants in
Kalinga say that vengeance is allowed. The rest say that vengeance is
not allowed but is unpreventable. Vengeance thus happens. Kalinga
informants say that vengeance is done by the family members of the
aggrieved. The Ifugaos say that vengeance is not allowed but it still
occurs and is carried out by family members. In Tingguian Abra,
vengeance is either allowed or is unpreventable in places where it is
not allowed. Apart from family members in Tingguian Abra, friends
can avenge the aggrieved.
Among the four, the Tingguians are
apparently most traditional with regard to their view on vengeance
while the Mountain Province Kankana-eys are least traditional.
There is greater variation when it comes to the law preferred
by disputants when their cases are being processed. Among the
Ifugaos, the disputing parties have a choice with respect to the type of
law to be used in their cases. Among the Kankana-eys of Mountain
Province, most prefer customary law for cases of theft and land dispute
and national law for cases of murder and physical injury. In Kalinga,
most prefer customary law for grave cases especially murder. National
law is preferred in all other cases especially the petty ones. In
Tingguian Abra, customary law is preferred for the handling of all
cases especially the grave ones while national law is used for petty
offenses. The last observation concerning the Tingguians strengthens
the claim that among the four they are most traditional in terms of their
attitudes toward dispute-settlement.
As to which venue, e.g. barangay council, elders, or a
combination of both, is deemed effective, the Kalingas and the Kankanaeys of Mountain Province say that the combination of the barangay

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

council and the elders is effective. The Ifugaos say that the barangay
council is effective whether it handles disputes with or without the
elders. In contrast, the Tingguians say that the elders are effective with
or without the help of barangay officials. Again it must be pointed out
that in Tingguian Abra, more people prefer customary law in the
settling of disputes.

Conclusion
An examination of the ethnographic data and secondary data
obtained from the Social Weather Stations-Cordillera Studies Center
Project: "Ethnic Variations in Citizen Attitudes to Government, Dispute
Settlement, and Mechanical Solidarity" suggests that while disputesettlement practices in the Cordillera vary from one ethnic group to
another, from village to village, and have evolved through the years,
some commonality may be gleaned with regard to the key elements
that constitute "justice." Arguably, the ethnographic information is, to
a large extent, consistent with the survey results. The results of the
survey can be explained by the ethnographic data.
The ethnographic data have shown that offenses are almost
always viewed as injuries directed against a collectivity. The data also
show that the individual is not the primary subject of custom law. A
collectivity assumes responsibility for individual actions that are
injurious to others. Kinsmen or village mates aid an offending member
fix disputes with other kinship groups or villages. The kindred or
village mates of the offender may also assist in the payment of the
fines.
At times, kinsmen or village mates
are punished for the
wrongs of an offender. Conversely, the kinship group or the village
benefits from indemnities paid to the aggrieved individual.
This however should not be taken to mean that the individual
has no place under custom law. It has been noted that individuals are
allowed to exact personal vengeance or to seek private settlement
with the offender. (Still, in these instances, the kinsmen or village
mates are expected to offer assistance.)
While the individual is
recognized, he is understood in relation to the larger collectivity. The
reason is basic - without the kinship group or the village, the
individual would not survive. To a large extent, rights and obligations
are bestowed on the individual by virtue of his membership in a
kinship group or a village. Rights enjoyed by an individual are exactly
the same rights possessed by kinsmen or village mates.
With regard to the family or kinship group, their importance in
Cordillera society is manifested by the fact that these primarily serve as
economic units tasked with providing for the basic needs of the

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individual. Apart from being the individual's source of subsistence,


the family and kinship group offer the individual security from rival
groups, and are expected to seek vindication when the individual is
harmed or murdered.
As to the exact value injured or threatened by the commission
of an offense, the values of life, property and honor cannot be totally
separated from each other. This is most evident in cases of theft. In
most instances, theft cannot be viewed as injurious to the value of
property alone. When the object stolen is essential to the subsistence
or well-being of the individual (e.g. food), apart from property, the
value of life is threatened.
Moreover, inasmuch as failure to seek
vindication puts into question the honor of the aggrieved person and
his kinship group or village, theft also threatens the value of honor.
Data on the contemporary practices and attitudes of
contemporary Cordillera groups show that offenses are still, in varying
degrees, viewed as offenses directed against a collectivity. This is more
apparent in situations where offenses are committed by outsiders. On
the level of the individual, however, the mere fact that family members
assist a victim in bringing a complaint to the authorities and in seeking
redress demonstrates that the injury of one is felt by other family
members.
There is growing consensus as to what constitute various types
of offenses. A public offense involves any threat or damage to the
security, interests and honor of the community. The concept of public
offense has also appeared in Ifugao. Petty offenses entail the presence
of mitigating circumstances, e.g. first offense, offense by a child,
destruction or theft of insignificant objects, drunkenness, etc.
Interestingly, drunkenness is an alleviating condition. Private offenses,
meanwhile, refer to offenses resulting from marital quarrels.
Wifebattery is thus generally regarded as a private matter and not primarily
the concern of the community. A crucial point that must be stressed
with the notion of offense is that offenses are seen as injuring persons
and not as transgressing an impersonal law.
Remedies, on the other hand, must be aimed at healing the
injuries suffered by the aggrieved. Since injury is shared by the
collectivity, the same collectivity must experience the healing. The
ethnographic data has shown that vengeance was more prevalent in
earlier times. Vengeance then was the principal remedy for injuries
suffered, especially when these result in death. It has been noted
nonetheless that even in earlier times, fines were accepted as
substitutes for vengeance especially in less grave cases. The way fines

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

were determined varied from group to group. The notion of who


should be the proper recipient of particular types of fines also differed.
Data on contemporary Cordillera communities reveal that fines
are still collected, and they usually come in the form of cash and animal
payments. Animal payments usually result in feasts for the whole
community while cash payments generally accrue to the aggrieved
party. There is nonetheless a growing tendency in some areas for case
handlers, specifically the barangay captain, to use barangay ordinances
in determining fines.
Whereas offenses are viewed as directed against persons,
remedies must essentially address persons and not technical
requirements of an impersonal law.
Survey results reveal that
remedies must primarily reconcile disputing persons, or to be more
precise, groups of persons. Remedies must be personal. These are
either issued by persons, i.e. a state authority, or result in appeasing,
reconciling or punishing persons or groups of persons. It is therefore
no surprise that no particular law is used exclusively as the legal basis
of decisions. In the first place, it is not the law which is regarded as the
aggrieved, thus upholding the law is not the primary consideration. In
addition, remedies to injuries must somehow result in some benefits
for the aggrieved party.
While remedies should initially appease the offended
individual, once the community acts on a complaint, punishment sets
in as a major consideration in its settlement. The offender must be
punished and, if possible, reformed and deterred from committing
violations in the future.
It must be reiterated that imprisonment as punishment was not
indigenous to the Cordillera peoples. In fact, in earlier accounts there
were instances when imprisonment was hardly regarded as
punishment. Detentions took place but not as punishments per se. The
ethnographic data reveal two types of procedures widely used in the
Cordillera for the settlement of disputes: (1) face-to-face hearings
conducted by elders, and
(2) mediated negotiations using gobetweens. The concept of procedure is related to the concept of
authority or handler of a case.
In face-to-face hearings, the case
handlers were most likely elders who were recognized by the
community as its leaders. Arbitration was generally employed by the
case handlers considering the authority they wielded. In mediated
private negotiations, the case handler is a go-between in the service of
disputing parties and bears no real authority. Mediation is thus the
normal method employed. There were of course combinations of the
two basic procedures.

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Nonetheless, whether settlements are reached in face-to-face


hearings or mediated private talks, the final decision had to be the
result of a consensus and is negotiated. In mediated negotiations, the
decision had to be agreeable to all. If a decision did not prove
acceptable to both disputing parties, the case remained unsettled. In
arbitrated hearings, the final decision must be made by a collective
body- the council of elders and/or the community.
The survey and community data reveal that most cases are
now handled by the barangay captain. Moreover, mediated private
negotiations have become infrequent. Apparently, the barangay captain
can settle disputes by his lonesome although most barangay captains
prefer to consult elders or to chair hearings attended by elders and
other barangay officials.
Interestingly, the survey data show that a decision given by the
barangay captain is "just." It must be asked however if the barangay is
perceived as issuing a decision, an individual decision, or an individual
decision bearing the sanction of the community. Moreover, it must
also be asked if the barangay captain is perceived as a representative of
the national government or a local notable or influential. The survey
and the key-informant interviews failed to capture such information.
Given the relative dominant position of the kinship group in the
Cordillera, it would also be important to know whether the incumbent
barangay captains are somehow related to the traditional community
leaders. Again, the survey and interviews failed to obtain this
information. As to the use of ordeals in settling disputes, the data
show that reliance on such practices is waning.
On the question of law and notions of justice, as already
stated, justice is rarely understood in terms of the exclusive use of a
particular law. As long as reconciliation results from a settlement
and fairness is practiced in the processing of disputes, a decision is
just regardless of the law used.
In sum, offenses in the Cordillera are generally viewed as
directed against a collectivity. A collectivity is ultimately the aggrieved
party. In the same token, responsibility for individual offenses are
attributed to a collectivity. Remedies must somehow heal the injury,
and since the aggrieved is always a collectivity, that collectivity must
experience the healing.
While dispute-settlement may either be
conducted by go-betweens or in face-to-face hearings between litigants,
the necessary consequence of such procedures must be the
reconciliation of the disputing collectivities. Given the tradition of
vengeful killing in the Cordillera and its ill effects on society, the
resolution of a conflict must be acceptable to the disputants. A

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Notions of Justice in the Cordillera

collectivity - the family, kinship group or village, has great interest in


the peaceful resolution of a conflict and in reconciliation since the
failure to arrive at reconciliation endangers members of that
collectivity.
Inasmuch as it has been argued that Cordillera culture is
representative of pre-colonial culture in the Philippines, this study
affirms the dominant role of a person's identification with a collectivy
like the kinship group in Philippine society. Comparison with the
Ilocanos in lowland Abra shows that the Ilocano's notion of justice is
qualitatively not significantly different from those of the Cordillera
groups. This suggests, that despite the acculturation, the importance of
collectivities in social relations has not yet been erased. This also
suggests that the dissatisfaction with the national legal system may in
part be attributed to the incompatibility between a folk culture that is
dominated by considerations of kinship and other affiliations and a
western-style legal system that treats the individual, and not a
collectivity, as the principal subject of law.

Authors Name: ALEJANDRO CIENCIA, JR.


Address: Division of Social Sciences
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
E-mail Address: ali@baguio.upcb.edu.ph
Telephone No.: 442-9280 09179104428
Fax: (074) 442-2427/442-3888

Rape and Death Penalty:


Twin Cultural Traits
**

Jules De Raedt

The current occurrence of rape - less of convictions - is rampant


in the Philippines. The frequency in occurrence seems to defy the
notion that these are all isolated cases. The retaliation or punishment is
death penalty. More than half of the convicts on death row are rapists.
This apparently unprecedented event demands understanding, and
invites one to some serious reflection. Two facts are to be considered
here, rape and the concomitant death penalty, both culturally
intimately related, as we shall see. The focus here is that in the
Philippines both are evil; they are twin negative cultural traits. A bold,
but modest proposal is offered here.
The argument that follows will first present the frequency and
distribution of the crime, to be followed by its exposition as the worst
crime against women; popular reasons given for the crime; the cultural
reason ( privileged ascendancy) underlying this and other heinous
crimes; the misdirected overkill reaction in both popular opinion and
the current law; a note on civilization, which is the central argument of
the abolitionists; and finally, a proposal for the death penalty by public
execution of the most notorious and guilty offenders as the adequate
means of instilling and reinforcing the evil of the crime in both
potential offenders, as an effective deterrent, and the population at
large. It is a human sacrifice, a temporary but necessary evil. The
people want to see the big fish in all the heinous crimes caught and
properly dealt with before they can believe in, and support, the
criminal justice system as it operates.
This is a very personal opinion that will elicit various reactions.
Let the debate continue. But let us give the professionals, not just the
politicians, pundits and sideline commentators some space. The matter
is too serious, to give it mere occasional pot shots. It needs to be fleshed
out. What follows is my own attempt of doing this.

* This article also appears in the December 1990 issue of the Saint Louis University
Research Journal (volume 30, number 2, page 313-330).

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Rape and Death Penalty

Frequency and Distribution


Let us first review a few obvious and known facts beside the
statistical frequency of convictions. The number of the cases still in
court is hard to come by, and not all the convictions receive
confirmation by the Supreme Court.
The distribution of convictions for heinous crimes across the
different levels of economic well-being (A to E), as researched and
published (see Table 1), seems to belie the notion that only low-level
income people commit such crimes, or are convicted.
Rape is an exception. Poor rapists do get convicted more
frequently for a number of reasons. Most often heard are the
incompetence or neglect of court-appointed lawyers, and wealthy
felons capacity to buy off or otherwise intimidate and discourage the
victims from lodging or pursuing a complaint. Also, girls raped by
family members, out of an ultimate sense of family loyalty and respect
for elders, are less inclined to send their victimizers to death.
The geographical distribution, in turn, does not reveal
preponderance in either urban or rural areas. Whether this is also true
for every little community cannot be ascertained, and might be
statistically irrelevant. There is, therefore, a quite even distribution,
both horizontally and vertically, in the occurrence of rape.

Worst Crime Against Women


Both traditional and modern societies carry sanctions for all
types of torts and crimes, including murder and rape. All these have
had occurrence since time immemorial. Traditionally, in the Cordillera,
rape called for the death of the culprit. Among the Ibaloi, even today,
the local community might band together to apprehend the rapist and
hack or club him to death in the case of incestuous rape since the
kinship parties on either side are powerless to act. In Kalinga, where I
was the equivalent of a DPA (deep penetration agent) for over four
years, I did not witness, nor hear about a case of incestuous rape. Just
the same, rape calls for the death of the rapist, it is part of their local
legal system, and is one of the few, about half a dozen specific
provisions in the peace pacts.
Rape is not as public an act as other heinous crimes, notably
murder. It is the most private, intimate invasion (violation) of the
personal right and dignity a woman (eventually, a man) can
experience. Even male animals virtually ask permission to copulate,
and wait for the right time, i.e., when the female is receptive. It is

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131

therefore a grave understatement to refer to rapists as animals. They


are worse than animals. Beasts or monsters are better terms to express
the ferocity. Rape leaves a deep motional/psychological wound in a
woman that can last for a lifetime, sometimes aggravated by a sexual
dysfunction.
The intensely felt disgrace leads to an almost instinctual desire
to keep it secret or within the family. The reporting of rape for a public
audience, at least in modern societies, has vastly increased in recent
years. Such reporting of rape takes place with the concomitant courage
of the disgraced victim to publicly testify notwithstanding the extreme
trauma in reliving the experience. For example, the well-known case of
the lady who was raped by the American President 21 years ago, and
who finally revealed it after he had become known as a chronic sex
offender against women, even though the case had already prescribed.
Her action had no doubt an element of revenge, with probably a fair
amount of much needed healing.

Stereotype Reasons for the Crime


The rapid increase of reporting rape as well as of the crime
itself shares the well-known pattern of events feeding on themselves.
This has been most observable in serial killings, because of wide
publicity. It is a copycat reaction. In reverse, the crime rate, as a whole,
in New York and other American major cities went down considerably
in recent years after diminished publicity.
Another factor that plays a role is drugs and alcohol. It has
been known ever since that some men about to commit a crime that
involves physical aggression, such as murder or rape, first get high on
alcohol in order to build up courage. Weaker men, low in self-esteem,
even do that before approaching a woman in courtship.
(Understandably, women with proper self-esteem do not feel attracted
to such men.) Nowadays, men with intent to rape also use other drugs.
Not every man has the courage to be violent to the extent of
raping or killing. This was also true during headhunting times in
northern Kalinga when killing was still a cultural imperative for the
sake of providing a human sacrifice to heal insanity and to end natural
calamities such as famines and epidemics. But killing was also resorted
to in order to avenge grave crimes against any member of the
community. (In southern Kalinga and Bontoc, both centrally located in
the Cordillera, killing for the sake of redress, etc., is still customary.)
There were always many young volunteers when a
headhunting raid was called for in order to avenge a grave crime, such

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Rape and Death Penalty

as murder, adultery or rape by a member of another community


against a member of the local community, or to reclaim a tract of land
or a water source. They were motivated by a desire to kill, and to
acquire the title mengol (headhunter) as the first stepping-stone to
prominence. Such motives were both culturally instilled. (Incidentally,
the Spaniards and Americans, the professed pacifiers during colonial
times, had their own punitive expeditions with the intent to kill or burn
recently echoed by events in Yugoslavia.)
The raiding party was led by senior, experienced fighters.
When they arrived at their destination before the attack, the leader
would line up the participants and take a close look at their eyes, face
and other body language in order to detect signs of fear. Those of
doubtful courage were then left behind. They were more likely to get
killed, because of their hesitation to kill. The desire had to be absolute.
After a kill, before running home away from possible pursuit,
the younger members of the group were invited to hack the body in
order to give them a taste of killing, and to build up their desire to kill.
The Buaya people readily acknowledged that not every man had the
courage to kill, though killers were both admired and feared. Actually,
rather few ever killed. During the freewheeling years between
liberation and martial law there were as many killings, on an annual
average, in the Ilocos region (with peaks during election campaigns) as
in the entire Cordillera. The notion of these mountaineers as inveterate
killers is a grossly exaggerated bias. It looks like what psychologists
would term a projection. In fact, in some if not most parts of lowland
Philippines, as in some parts of Central and South America and
elsewhere, life is rather cheap. People are known to kill over such
trivial matters as an unpaid restaurant bill, a minor traffic dispute, or
an unwelcome stare.
Several reasons for the currently rampant occurrence of rape in
the Cordillera and nationwide have been advanced.
The most commonly heard is that living in closed quarters, i.e.,
a single-room abode, as exists in city slums, induces rape. The
Cordillera people have lived in single-room houses for centuries, if not
for millennia. It has not produced incestuous rape as a custom.
Anyway, for all we know, incestuous rape is as common in multibedroom homes as in single-room dwellings. Throughout the
Philippines, households share an incest taboo, which permits sexual
relations only between spouses, done mostly discreetly and modestly
while the rest are asleep.

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133

The increased availability of pornographic cassettes as a cause


of rape can be dismissed. While it, no doubt, creates sexual curiosity
and arousal, leading to experimentation especially by the young, it
cannot be viewed as a determining cause of rape. More enticing are
sexually explicit, passionate love scenes in X-rated movies, generally
absent in pornographic material.
The latest suggestion is the most baffling. A reported group
study of the currently rampant incidence of rape throughout the
Cordillera offers as a reason that males now commit rape in order to
prove their manhood again, if only to themselves. Such males have
reportedly lost their self-esteem on account of social developments,
notably the decline of headhunting practices. This interpretation is
totally plucked out of thin air by lowland, anti-mountaineer bias, still
prevailing even in the lowland academe, such as the task force as the
study group calls itself. Headhunting ceased over two hundred years
ago among the Ibaloi, soon thereafter among the Kankanai, and around
the 1930s in northern Kalinga. This was not accompanied or followed
by a notable increase in the incidence of rape. It remains to be seen if
the study groups interpretation is biased on the hard fact of repeated
testimony or pure speculation. Inexperienced social researchers, doing
face-to-face personal interviews, tend to ask leading questions that
mostly bounce back the interviewers bias.
The task forces endeavour suffers from a second infirmity. It
has repeatedly been observed by anthropologists by and large, that
culturally-distant observers (outsiders), as opposed to the culturallyclose (insiders) can, independent of any personal talent, more easily
identify cultural traits different from those in their own culture as
taken for granted, universal, or, most perniciously, irrelevant to
analysis. This represents one advantage to doing social research
outside ones own cultural (or sub-cultural) territory. The task force
seems to have failed again in this respect.
More deserving of credence is the current absence of hundreds
of thousands of wives as overseas contract workers. The husbands are
left behind, mostly jobless and bored, to take care of the children. These
husbands experience sexual needs. This need makes daughters free and
easy targets.
Another factor, not widely recognized, is an inter-play between
a genetic constitution and the social environment, resulting in behavior
ranging all the way from criminality to super achievement. This
complex phenomenon of multiple manifestations, with physical base in
the brains biochemistry, is commonly referred to as obsessivecompulsive disorder (OCD), and is present throughout the human

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species. It is still not fully understood, but can be managed with


implications for the rehabilitation of convicts. Studies have revealed
that about 20% of jailed convicts in the United States, where the
condition has received wide attention, have this disorder. It is not
known how this distribution compares in the population at large. The
condition, most often accompanied by depression, may lead to
occasional temporary insanity, a mitigating circumstance in
criminality.
I have so far recounted an inexhaustive number of factors that
may be involved in the commission of the crime of rape. These are
opportunity, boredom and sexual deprivation, alcohol and other drugs;
explicit and passionate love scenes in X-rated movies, publicity
prompting copycat behavior, and OCD. However, none of these is
always present in each criminal act. They cannot be generalized. The
identification of a common cultural factor might have more
explanatory and convincing weight.

Privileged Ascendancy
In Philippine culture, there is a pervasive belief (and practice)
that people in a position of ascendancy (mannakabalin in Ilocano;
makapangyarihan in Tagalog; powerful in Filipino English) can bully
and abuse those below them. This comes with the concomitant belief
and practice that the criminalized have little recourse, and are helpless.
This is the most poignant in the cases of rape by fathers, guardians and
other ascendant family members (including women who do the
facilitating) of youngsters, mostly, and sometimes very young, minors.
When I express the opinion that, in the Philippines, rape is a
cultural phenomena I refer to culture as a body of shared beliefs and
concomitant practices. By this is meant not just the frequent occurrence
of rape as an act, but with it, and mainly, the underlying, pervasive
belief in a privileged ascendancy manifested in rape and other forms
of abuse, including the victims silent acceptance of their fate. This is
observable in numerous instances beyond rape, such as one jeepney
driver bullying another, because the abuser has connections (higher
up, of course), intimidation during elections, etc. Like capital
punishment, the cultural trait of a privileged ascendancy has
prehistoric roots. I have witnessed it repeatedly in northern Kalinga. As
noted historian, Dr. William H. Scott, with several decades of residence
in the Cordillera, succinctly and perceptively put it, the Cordillerans
are our contemporary ancestors.
Only persons of equal rank can afford to confront each other,
as was dramatically demonstrated when two macho Northern Luzon

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135

politicians, armed and accompanied by fully armed body guards, faced


each other on a bridge some years ago. Fortunately neither one shot
first, for it would have been a massacre, as they very well knew. Both
of them, after an angry exchange of shouted invectives spiced with
expletives walked away with a defeated hubris, their tail between the
legs, like the cowards they were. The warlords did not expose
themselves to danger. Their minion-bodyguards did the killings for
them, and eventually got killed themselves.
We here recall the unabashed declaration of a notorious
Central Luzon politician some decades ago: What are we in power
for? and again, more recently, the most raucous statement of another
Central Luzon politician, later convicted of rape with murder, I am
through. You can have her now.
Both politicians viewed their victims, be it the population at
large or any individual in it, as legitimate prey. Rapists view women as
commodities. Women, especially the young, because of their intrinsic
vulnerability and attractiveness, are easy prey. Among all the heinous
crimes, rape is the easiest to commit.
The statements coming from these men, as well as their actions,
evoke profound revulsion, also viewed as legitimate. The victims view
it as natural, as much as privileged ascendancy itself is viewed as
natural by these criminals. Rape evokes the demand for capital
punishment. Both cultural traits are intimately related. One evokes the
other.
As was stated earlier, women view rape as the ultimate
violation and invasion (no pun intended) of privacy. Significantly, the
favorite Filipino English term for genitals, including a womans breasts,
is private parts. Men share that view. Cordillera men will tell you:
We have to protect (the honor) of our women. In the Cordillera and
elsewhere, one does not stare at the genitals of either the same or the
other gender, including ones spouses. Modesty, even in copulation, is
the rule. It has to be done at night under a blanket. Hence, the outrage
when a womans sexual privacy is violated. Her private parts are to be
shared only with her spouses, and vice-versa. The breach of this rule
occurs in either rape or adultery. In either case, the death of the man,
considered the prime culprit because he committed the intrusion,
is/was mandatory.
In northern Kalinga, with the waning of killing since more than
five decades ago, the penalty for sex crimes has become relaxed, now
requiring only a standard material compensation chiefly in the form of
animals, aptly referred to as lives (biag). This change in their legal

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(i.e., cultural) system is not a case of becoming soft on crime, but rather
a realization that killing is no longer the imperative remedy for a grave
crime. It was a decision not to be savages anymore. As a nonagenarian
head-hunter and past leader, who had killed eight during his lifetime,
simply put it around 1950: We cannot keep on killing anymore.
Nobody will be left. There is a lesson here to be learned from these
primitives, so called. (This later became a degrading term, such as
natives to refer to their simple, primitive technology, and their
mainly kinship-based, simple social organization.) Such people have
their own way of becoming advanced, on their own initiative.
They precede our much-touted civilization. Moreover, some
of them are democratic, deciding matters by consensus-seeking, instead
of the colonial-introduced division of the house with victory of onehalf plus one. In northern Kalinga, the process of resolutions through
consensus takes less time than the protracted, adversarial debates by
grandstanding politicians in Congress, ultimately ending in the
simplistic division of the house a very revealing term for the
adversarial approach. The abolition of the death penalty for grave sex
crimes was arrived at through consensus, plain and simple. Both the
revision of the law and the process in reaching it were eminently
civilized.

Nave Overkill
After all has been said, the embarrassing fact remains that we
have too many rape convicts on death row, not to mention the total
number of death convicts, now over one thousand in three years time,
and rising. The apparent hesitancy to execute seems to bespeak this
embarrassment.
In the course of the preceding, two related cultural traits have
been exposed. First, the cultural trait of privileged ascendancy; and, the
second, the cultural response to this and other heinous crimes, both in
popular sentiment and opinion, and in law Kill the bastards!
The great number of convicts for all heinous crimes currently
on death row, more than half of them for rape, and probably more in
all the categories if the law were always properly implemented, is not
only embarrassing for the country, but also baffling to law makers and
law enforcers alike. It projects a distorted picture of a country of
rapists, and makes it a leading country in per capita death convicts. For
this reason alone, the furor against death penalty is not surprising. This
widens the scope of the present inquiry.

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137

The fault does not lie with the prosecutors and judges. They
have to implement the law. The question can be raised whether
Congress, both the Lower and Upper Houses, did not overshoot the
mark when it declared a number of type of crimes as heinous crimes
with an automatic death penalty attached. It was a once and for all
solution, with scant regard for proportionality. Literally, an overkill.
The law does provide for proportionality in crimes, including
rape, but this leaves two common sense questions: (1) does the
maximum penalty always have to be death; and (2) are the categories
of guilt always properly conceived? Since the first question implies the
second, they are best treated together.
Take for example, the extreme case of a man who abuses his
ascendancy and the familial trust of a four-year-old girl. Will his death
cure the childs trauma? On the other hand, his death is an easy
punishment from which he does not suffer, without the imposition of
any material compensation. Would it not be better for him to live in
shame, with enough time for him to come to his senses, develop sincere
remorse and repentance, and return to civilization with the prospect of
a legal pardon? Will the childs hurt not be cured better by forgiving a
living, repentant offender face to face? Does resentment against a now
dead person cure the hurt? Does his death restore the victims psyche
to normal living? I leave these questions for discussion by experienced
child psychologists and members of the judiciary.
There are further, admittedly delicate, questions to be raised.
According to current jurisprudence, it is sufficient that the penis only
partially penetrate or merely touch the vulva (labia majora), and not
the labia minora (the vagina proper) for the crime to be committed.
Does such an act committed on a prepubescent girl qualify for rape,
instead of, perhaps, grave molestation?
Is the penis, as an
instrument, under these conditions, very different from a finger? It
would seem that the line between rape, as currently defined, and
molestation is very thin indeed.
On the other hand, the abolition of the death penalty would
make more sense in the presence of other reforms. One is a more
effective system of counselling. The government pays much more
attention to the rehabilitation of drug addicts than the reformation of
convicts.
Another would be the institution of gainful work
opportunities, short of the much resented forced labor, so that convicts
can earn their keep, compensate their victims, and perhaps improve
their living conditions. The convicts present living conditions are a

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virtual torture, leading to a hardening rather than softening of criminal


attitudes. It was reported that many inmates at the Manila City Jail
actually go crazy. (As a sarcastic aside, physical labor which would be
more appropriate for most, prevents boredom, and creates enough
fatigue to put them to sleep at night, making them less prone to raping
their less macho cellmates, another display of privileged ascendancy!)
To summarize so far, (1) the criminal act of rape is rooted in the
cultural trait of privileged ascendancy; (2) its definition as a single
category of crime obscures an evident existence of proportionality; (3)
the blanket imposition of the death penalty on heinous crimes, as
defined by law, has the character of nave overkill; (4) both the
occurrence and frequency of rape crimes are affected by still other
factors, such as opportunity, loneliness, publicity, and copycat
behavior.

Civilization
Keeping things in perspective, the current legal treatment of
rape as one of the major crimes is part of the overall business of nation
building in a developing country. This is an ongoing process that does
not always move or advance in a steady progression, and involves
spurts and double takes. It is a process in maturation with objectives
only vaguely perceived, sometimes misperceived, by the builders in
the absence of a reliable compass.
Furthermore, development is a local product tailor made, in
need of constant fittings and eventual remodelling. Foreign models,
like someone elses tailor-made clothes, do not fit, and hang
awkwardly. It is an ongoing process whose exit-stage cannot be
immediately foreseen with finality. Its success lies in the effort rather
than the outcome.
The ample imposition of the death penalty on a good number
of major crimes, with more under consideration, seems to suffer from
cultural atavism. It was mentioned earlier that in tribal, non-literate (i.e.
without written records and legal codes) communities as still exist in
the Cordillera for one, crimes are dealt with in broad-stroke
categorizations. Small-scale societies, with at most a few thousand
members, cannot afford a fine-comb treatment of crimes. Their social
(not, mental) capacity is constrained. Hence, lump sum categorization,
and a simple treatment death. A modern, differentiated, more
sophisticated society can do better in adopting the cultural change of
more refinement in its legal system.

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139

I proffered privileged ascendancy as a cultural trait. The


inclination to kill as a recourse for offense, and the approval of this
type of retaliation for grievous offense, is another. Neither one, I
suppose, is unique to Philippine culture.
Recent calls in Congress for a thorough review of heinous
crimes with an overzealous, drastic, blanket death penalty attached
are most welcome. At the other extreme, an absolute, also blanket,
abolition of the death penalty seems equally too drastic at this point in
time. We notice that some judges, based on personal belief but without
foundation in law, refuse to impose the death penalty. They daringly
spearhead the clamor for abolition at their own peril. There was
wisdom in the decision of the authors of the 1987 Constitution to leave
the option open, with an implied desire for eventual, final abolition.
Given its occasional impulses, history, either biological or social, is
ultimately a gradual process.
Until very recently, biological evolution was largely the result
of a string of small, almost imperceptible accidents. There was an
unintentional interplay of chiefly genetic mutations and the survival of
the fittest. (Nowadays, genetic engineering can effect intentional
biological change.) In human evolution, there was a historical, intimate
interplay, a systematic causality between biological and cultural
factors, with increasing intensity over time. As a result, humanitys
behavior is now largely governed by its cultures (learned behavior),
replacing instinct (inborn impulses).
Civilization, the key word in the abolitionists argument, arose
with the emergence of large-scale societies. Those societies became
differentiated in their social structures, thus allowing for full time
individual engagements in the arts, science, intellectual pursuits,
adjudication, peace and order, national defense, education, etc. In
simple, tribal societies, unlike in the new complex societies, many
social and cultural roles are played by single individuals. There was,
again, a systematic causality at work, now between society and culture.
Civilization implies an increasing capacity to guide and control social
and cultural change. For example, the eventual shift from centralized to
democratic political institutions. We now call that development. The
Philippines is a case in point.
In western terms, earlier stages of refinement or civilization are
referred to as barbaric, medieval, etc. We do find, however, tribal
societies that abhor killing. They are found in isolated pockets, and
deal with physical violence by imposing physical restraint, such as
caging.

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Rape and Death Penalty

Irrespective of economic status, and the much ballyhooed


parameter of respectability in societies imbued with capitalism (or its
parent, feudalism), some members of society are more civilized than
others. They are those who abhor killing for whatever reason, be it
revenge or punishment, or even self-defense. Others abhor killing and
other heinous crimes, including rape, but approve of killing as a
punishment for the same crimes. Take them away for good; they do
not deserve to live, or other expressions of contempt or fear are heard.
Furthermore, they do not trust the penal system, as practiced. They
have the gut feeling that execution is the only appropriate sanction for
grievous crimes such as murder and, even more so, rape. Women are
harsher on rapists than on murderers. For them, it is the ultimate crime.
They can empathize, more than men can, because they know better
how the dehumanisation, degradation and flagrant abuse of what is
most private feels. The psychological wound remains, unlike the
wounds inflicted by other crimes. Filipinos admire Sarah Balabagan for
having killed her rapist-employer in self-defense, instead of
surrendering.
Cultures are not monoliths. The universe of inherited beliefs of
what is (the reality of things, the worldview), and what ought to be
done (the ethical, moral system), is not equally shared by all, even
though most of it is shared and transmitted to the next generation.
There are disparities in beliefs, including generation gaps. Those who
believe that their points of view are better, because advanced, wish
they could convert others to their opinions. The endeavor to spread
their declared higher levels of civilizations, even if correct, is, by
definition, an uphill battle. They are the proverbial youth, the hope of
the future, with emphasis on future, not an imminent present.
Cultures do not change overnight. Their momentum is slow mass
rather than speed. They have a drag, however frustrating. Only over
time can we notice radical changes.
We live in a time of transition. It remains the task of the
legislature to institute the required amendments in law, in this area as
in others, as the times and the mood of the nation demand.
Dispassionate public debate will help. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson
Mandela and others, are heroes not so much for their long suffering,
but because they succeeded. I lean toward pacifism myself.
I do not have war in my bones. But I must confess that when I
hear about the execution of a criminal about whom I have detailed
knowledge of extremely cruel and torturous deeds, without an ounce
of remorse, I do not feel any sympathy for him. He asked for it.

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141

I am also a gradualist. There are two kinds of gradualists. The


first kind, the conservatives, reluctantly accept inevitable changes. The
second kind, the progressives, with whom I arrange myself, strive for
the institution of small, advancing, changes that are currently
popularly acceptable, without losing sight of an ultimate goal in this
case, the final abolition of the death penalty, as soon as practicable, but
not yet in sight. The international tribunal for crimes against humanity
does not impose the death penalty for even the most extensive crimes.
It was a civilized, not a knee-jerk, decision on the part of the United
Nations world leaders. But, in a worldwide context, they are ahead of
their time.

A Human Sacrifice
Always trying to keep things in perspective, it is my personal
belief that perhaps death penalty in the Philippines should not be
abolished in one stroke today or tomorrow, in the way that it was
crudely re-imposed in one stroke in 1994.
I here recall what Emile Durkheim had to say one hundred
years ago. He was an eminent French sociologist/anthropologist, as
egalitarian perhaps as Karl Marx (Durkheim called it socialism, still
the dominant ideological and political force in Western Europe). But,
unlike Marx, he kept his social ideology, about which he produced
many tracts, separate from his scholarship.
Durkheim had something interesting to say. He believed,
stated, that the death penalty for grave crimes, such as murder, was
imposed not so much in order to punish or to take revenge on the
criminal ( an eye for an eye), but to reinforce in the population atlarge the notion of the evil of the crime. The target, he said, was not the
derelict criminal, but the crime. The execution would not, obviously,
reform the criminal, but was a drastic act, a human sacrifice, to impress
and, by its repetition, reinforce in the living the evil of the deed. (The
criminal, after all, does not suffer the punishment for long. He is dead.)
Apparently, it worked eventually for his own society, Western
Europe. Grave crimes, such as murder and rape, have come to be
viewed as national scandals. Having become rare, it puts the people in
shock.
I recall a moving event near my hometown in Belgium in 1969.
A couple, past middle age, modest and honest traders, was killed in
their truck. The killers were amateurs, with no apparent motive except
to kill. Routine police work led to their arrest. Neither the murder nor
the arrests were the main events in the story. When the date and time

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for the funeral for the hapless couple were announced, thousands of
people from neighboring villages, most of them men, took off from
work, and flocked to the church for the funeral rites. It was a religious
rite, as was customary before a burial, but their intentions were not
religious but secular. The small rural church could not accommodate
them all, but they stood together outside in silent, somber grief for the
couple most of them had never known. They stood in solemn, public
testimony to themselves, to each other, and to whoever would later
hear about it, to the evil of the deed. It was a collective peoples event, a
manifest demonstration of their belief and shock. Real cultural
convictions are rooted in and internalised through sentiments known
in psychology as the process of cathexis. It was a moving and
reinforcing event.
Durkheim wrote at the turn of the century. Later, during this
century, one Western European country after another abolished the
death penalty. By now, they are adamant about it, to the extent that
Italy refused to extradite Abdullah Ocalan to Turkey where he was
facing the death penalty for terrorism, and Boris Yeltsin suspended
executions in Russia so that his country could be admitted to the
European Council. The United Nations took the same course when it
instituted the international tribunal for war crimes and other crimes
against humanity, including outright genocide, pressured no doubt by
member countries who reject death penalty for even the most heinous
mass crimes imaginable.
Both the imposition of capital punishment and the demand for
the abolition of executions will definitely not bring down the crime rate
which is our prime concern. We are looking for an opposite sequence
of events. The position taken by some members of Congress, that it is
too early for the abolition of executions, therefore makes real sense. We
have not yet seen their effect in the long term and they have an
important role to play.
The real change that is hoped for, perhaps long in coming, is a
profound, pervasive, commonly shared cultural change a
transformation. Laws, however well intended and articulated, do not
effect attitudinal change by themselves. This reminds me of an old,
fictitious outcry, found in cartoons: There ought to be a law! There is,
of course, no such law, whatever it might seek to cover, because the
underlying common sense demand for it is simply not there. Laws that
have no roots in common beliefs are constantly flouted. We see it on a
daily basis. These laws, as against jaywalking, were not cathected.
Coming back to earth, the people still admire and fear the
smart guys who get away with things. They are powerful beyond

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143

reach. Hence, the popular sentiment: Kill them! It is an equally


uncivilized attitude. The notion that the civilized thing to do is to
abolish the death penalty is, therefore, misconstrued. It will definitely
not bring down the crime rate in the country.

Public Executions
Let us go back a little in time. Early during martial law,
Ferdinand Marcos had a drug manufacturer publicly executed by a
firing squad. (He was a Chinese; a poor choice.) It stopped all drug
manufacturing and dealing almost immediately. The people, including
potential criminals were stunned. The message got through. Similarly,
during the Japanese occupation, the Japanese police (kempetai)
apprehended a couple of Kalinga headhunters, and had them publicly
executed on the plaza of Lubuagan, then the main town of Kalinga.
Headhunting stopped for the duration of the occupation, to resume
with a vengeance after liberation. The fear, and government control,
had gone.
Public executions, not the secret ones in a room behind a wall,
do have effect. They strike fear in the potentially criminal and deepen
the convictions of all others.
I have some difficulty with the term punishment as applied
to executions. Punishment has its root in earlier times. During smallscale, tribal times, grave wrongs were avenged. The rule was to even
the score. It was personal. In Kalinga, for example, all the members of a
kinship group equally shared the guilt for a crime committed by any of
its members. The guilt was communal and so was the intent to seek
revenge on the other group. This made any member of the offending
group an equally fair target. This belief is shared by all, and also
applies in grave offenses between demes/tribes (geographically
different and politically independent communities).
As a notion, punishment embodies the evil attitude of revenge,
which is not criminalized in law. The resolve of a state, ancient or
modern, autocratic or democratic, to execute a criminal is the states
alone. The victims of the criminal, whoever they may be, are not
directly involved, and may be mere spectators at best. A third, neutral
party, the state, enacts the execution through its agencies. The actual
executioner used to wear a hood for the sake of anonymity and one of
the members of a firing squad was given a blank bullet so that none of
them will know if he killed. Anonymity is the foremost consideration.
It is absolutely not personal: walang personalan. Since the motive of
revenge has been taken out, the event should be called by a name other

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than the old punishment. I am at a loss for the proper word if that
exists.
In the old days, the color of the black hoods presented evil,
death and death to, or extermination of, evil. The criminal was seen as
evil personified. An execution had thus become a symbolic act
beneficial to all.
In the preceding, I have tried to articulate the twin, negative
cultural traits of privileged ascendancy (with focus on rape), and the
vengeful demand for the death of the criminal. The first is reluctantly
acknowledged, while the second is vigorously pursued. The latter is
the dark underside of the former. Both are equally evil. The modern
faceless action of an execution by a third, neutral party, the
government, has some redeeming value in that it is not personal.
Executions are still a must in this less than peaceful society. To
be effective, i.e., educational, they have to be public. But they should
be limited to the most horrifying crimes in order to be effective and
within the realm of the humane. The current meaning of heinous,
and the concomitant inclusive categories of such crimes are much too
broad, and smack of the old, vengeful component of punishment.
I expect flack for all this, but I am prepared. I do appreciate the
desire of the more civilized for the immediate abolition of the death
penalty. It is honest and humane. The bottom line in my argument is
that, as a nation, we cannot pretend to be what we are not. Law, also
with regard to the present issue, is not for the satisfaction of the few
who feel, and are, civilized, but for all. It is good to keep in mind what
the President once said in one of his spontaneous, off the cuff, street
level ejections (no pun intended), when confronted with the issue of the
death penalty, that This is (still) a developing country. This one did
not need, and was not given, later emendations by his spin-doctors. His
later vacillations were, no doubt, induced by pressure from nave dogooders (and probably his common sense perception that the current
law is a gross exaggeration). Their position, like that of Congress in
1994, is not calibrated.
We remember the by now obscure, but socially very
conscientious Durkheim of a century ago. Public executions, as he
witnessed them, are still a must as forceful reminders, until the arrival
of the hoped for double cultural transformation.
Civilization, the shedding of these traits attained by some, is
still not generally acquired. The two go hand in hand. May they fade
away in history, in the mutual embrace of contractual lover-suicides.

De Raedt

Table 1. Distribution of Death Convicts According to Occupation*


Occupation
Businessmen, Managers and Highly Skilled Professionals
Semi-skilled Workers
Subsistence Farmers and Fishermen
Policemen and Soldiers
Unskilled Laborers
Unemployed
Professional Criminals
Total
*based on a sample of 243 inmates
Source: Citizens Drugwatch Foudation, Inc.

Authors Name: JULES DE RAEDT


Associate Professor of Anthropology (retired)
Division of Social Sciences
University of the Philippines College Baguio
Address: Room 3202
Europa Condominium, Legarda Road
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Telephone No.: 447-0286

Percentage
9
18
15.5
7
33.5
8.5
8.5
100

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Economic Transaction Flows in


a Typical Cordillera Village
Bienvenido Tapang, Jr.

Introduction
There are three of us NRMP Fellows, each of whom is given
the assignment to propose a framework to allow comparison among
the three project sites in Sagada. We had worked together in the past in
interdisciplinary teams on natural resource management and are,
therefore, aware that the issues involved have economic, political and
social dimensions. But for the purpose of looking for the policy
implications from the findings of the teams that worked in the three
sites,1 I shall read what are, for me, the data that appear to guide the
economic decisions in the community. I will then draw economic
implications therefrom. I am aware that these decisions are done within
a social and political context within the political and social
framework of law, values and norms, and have consequences or a
feedback loop, if you will on the institutions of the village society in
particular, and the larger society in general. From the same pieces of
information, I shall leave it to Prof. Colongon to address the issues that
are essentially political in nature and to Dr. Brett, the social issues. But
that is only to say that I shall speak from my disciplines perspective,
aware of the ceteris paribus condition that an economist assumes.
I shall first try to locate my place among my colleagues who
have done the empirical work on this program.2 I shall not attempt to
synthesize their work that involves the contribution from the many
people from both the social and the natural sciences. However, I think I
can point out to the members of the NRMP II Team some areas where I
think some discussion among them is necessary, if only to strengthen
the basis of their individual positions, especially regarding their
reading of some of the basic, guiding principles. They must, of course,
correct any misreading of their respective work on my part.

In my attempt to locate the niche of a framework for economic policy-making, I


referred to the following: Proceedings of the Annual Conference Year 2, NRMP 2 Ancestral
Domain and Natural Resource Management Program in Sagada, Mountain Province; An Analysis
of the Social Arrangements in Natural Resource Management: Demang, Sagada; Social Relations
in Natural Resource Management Co Management of Natural Resources of Fidelisan, Sagada, Mt.
Province; Final Report on the Institutional Arrangement Analysis and the Ancestral Domain Issue,
Barangay Ankileng, Sagada, Mt. Province; and the reports on the three barangays from the
Community Profiling Project: Participatory Action Research in Community Resource Accounting.
2
Refer to Research Report No. 2: Community Studies on Resource
Management, 2001.

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Based on my previous involvement in studies on natural


resource management with the CSC and a reading of the reports of the
present team, I shall then try to do a schematic diagram of and
elaborate on the village economys resource flows.
In Cruz (2001), albeit implicitly, the report considers certain
natural resource endowments of the village economy as taking some of
the essential characteristics of a public good. Hence, she introduces
some notions that apply to public economics, viz: free good, the free
rider problem, rent seeking, among others. Since their explanation,
elaboration and application are in capable hands, I leave those tasks to
her.
I shall, instead, organize the economic data from these reports
around the concepts of missing information and missing markets to
account for areas of economic performance. The operation of this
organization this institution - that we call the economy takes on a
new meaning when considered from this perspective that draws from
the economics of information. When a market cannot do what it is
supposed to do allocate resources to production and distribute the
output of the process most efficiently there is a market failure.
Equilibrium price of a commodity or factor is higher, the quantity
exchanged is less, and over-all welfare level falls (under some a priori
conditions). This is true, not only on the level of the Sagada village
economy that is still partly subsistent. Even in developed economies,
markets fail.

C o- Management in NRMP 2
NRMP 2 uses the Community-Based Natural Resource
Management approach to the program, the objective of which is: To
develop and transfer technical, methodological, analytical, social/
institutional and policy innovations for more productive, equitable and
sustainable natural resource use ... (IDRC, 1977 cited in the
Proceedings). Ultimately, this is so that a community-based, comanagement system between local and national groups could be
instituted.
Let me now address the range of interpretation of the natural
resource that is subject to co-management, and the scope of
management according to NRMP 2 reports. I will probably keep
repeating myself when I say that the party or parties to a comanagement agreement from a community and the terms of a comanagement agreement will depend on how we define the parameters
of what constitute resources and management.

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Economic Transaction Flows

Among the social scientists, there seems to be an agreement on


the classification of a natural resource in terms of the claim to it,
regardless of the evidence of ownership, viz: individually-owned (or
more precisely, owned by a single household), corporately-owned by
related households or a clan, and those that are communally owned.
Based on the individual final reports on Cabalfin (2001), Cruz (2001)
and San Luis (2201) there are some variations as to which resource falls
under a category in the three communities.
Demang
In Demang, cultivation areas, i.e., the rice field, the vegetable
garden and the residential lot are owned by individuals or single
households. My impression is that there is no communal forest the
forests being sub-divided into saguday or clan forests. They are
jointly owned and managed by clans and, therefore, take on the
character of being corporately owned. Swiddens, grazing lands, and
water sources, together with the sacred places are communally owned.
Fidelisan
In Fidelisan, the rice field is clearly an individually-owned
property. Pine forests are claimed based on the principle of the saguday,
although there are two types of structures and each is subject to its own
set of rules. A dap-ay saguday is, historically, once a part of a communal
forest that was awarded - by whom? The report does not say - to a dapay. Is it, then, communal? But only to the level of the dap-ay? Or is it
corporate? With the households in a dap-ay as the corporate members?
In addition, the mossy forests, pagpag, are communally-owned by the
members of the Fidelisan ili.
The other type of claim on the pine forests is the sinpangapo
saguday. It is family- or kin-owned and was alienated from the dap-ay
saguday. It seems to me that it corresponds to the Demang saguday; its
corporate membership is confined to families that belong to the clanowner.
Since the swiddens or uma, are located within the forests, and
there are three types of forests according to ownership, is the claim to
an uma consistent with the classification of its location? The report
does not say. Water, likewise, is communally-owned and its
distribution mechanism, the lampisa, is the most elaborately presented.
Fidelisan has gold ore reserves. The mineral areas outside a
saguday are identified as communal - the community with the right of
access to the Fidelisan mining area consists of six barangays. Logically,

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then, mineral areas within a saguday are corporately-owned. This being


the case, in the mineralized areas, two sets of rules on access
theoretically operate. But since mining is a new community proposition
in Fidelisan, are there social norms that govern mine operations? The
San Luis (2001) paper contains rules only on access, but none on mine
operations, and no sanctions on over-exploitation.
Two immediate questions come to mind: One is, are there
community norms that define the clan members who are excluded
from staking a mining claim within a sinpangapo saguday, from the dapay saguday; and who among the residents of the six barangays are
subject to exclusion from the communal lands? Remember that under
the rules on access to forest resources, kin members with valid claims
on Sagadas forests can obtain lumber, even if they are out-migrants
from Sagada. Based on the same principle, do out-migrants from
Fidelisan (and from five other barangays) have valid claims on the ore
reserves proceeding from their claim on the land?
In the absence of such norms access, therefore, is open, albeit
limited to clan members, dap-ay members and the residents of six
Sagada barangays. The second question is, are community mechanisms
that regulate mining operations and exploitation in place? Otherwise,
the prospect of another tragedy of the commons that NRMP I found
in Mount Data may be in the offing.
Ankileng
In Cabalfin, 2001 is found a list of land uses in the community,
viz: forest, water, pastureland, rice field, bangaan/home lot gardens,
and swidden/uma.
As far as I can make out, forests are either communal, clanowned, or individually-owned. Clan forests appear to be corporate,
although a forest of this type could be tax-declared in the name of an
individual member of the owning family introducing a potential land
claim disputation in the future, based on historical precedents.
Corporate and individual forests were, before their aforestation
communal grasslands.
Grassland used as a pasture, at least before those lands were
aforested, therefore, was communal. But there are now also clanowned pastureland. It is further claimed that former communal
swiddens are now tayan, which are forest areas owned by private
individuals. The other type of swidden is the bangaan/homelot that,
like the ricefield that is also used to cultivate vegetables, is tax declared
and privately-owned.

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Economic Transaction Flows

Because I believe that the party or parties to a co-management


agreement, and the terms of an agreement will depend on some crucial
factors, let me point out three things that gave me pause when I was
reading the reports.
First, I think the term privately-owned needs some
specifications when the term is used because it could refer to: a) land
that is identified with an individual or a household, and b) land that is
identified with a group of related families or a clan. A resource is not
private only because it is owned by an individual or a single
household. That a resource belongs to a clan of related families, thus,
making it corporate does not necessarily erase its private nature.
For the sake of clarity, I suggest that the term privately-owned be
qualified whenever it is used.
The second thing that I want to point out is the range of natural
resources that is subject to co-management and, thirdly, the parties that
will be involved in co-management as contained in the reports.
Cruz (2001) states that co-management entails giving the
community exclusive jurisdiction over the management and
disposition of all (emphasis mine) natural resources in the domain
consistent with the dictates of customary law. All is encompassing in
terms of coverage of resources; community and customary laws seem
to set a limit to the parties in a co-management agreement although
the report does state that co-management is a system based mainly on
the social institutions (already) currently operating in the community.
San Luis (2001) was implicit on which resource is subject to comanagement, although the writer asks: Is there a need for a comanagement of common (emphasis mine) property resources? The
report is also specific that The co-management scheme can be handled
through the local government.
Cabalfin (2001) also does not specify which resource is subject
to co-management. But the writer seems to be saying that it is the
common pool of resources and identifies the pool to consist of forest,
water, swidden areas and the pastureland. But the writer has
previously identified that forests, swiddens and pastures are either
communal, corporate or private.
Economics teaches that for every course of action pursued
given the limits of resources and options there are expected benefits
and costs. Benefits and costs are both direct and indirect, monetary and
non-monetary and include the externalities experienced by a third
party arising from the decision of another. Externalities are a source of
market inefficiency. Thus, due to the externalities that may be present

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in a course of action, it does not always follow that the recipient of the
benefit and the payer of the cost are always one and the same.
(Imagine, for instance, the consequences the externalities to the
community of the separate, but many, individual decisions to engage
in small-scale mining operations in Fidelisan.)
It is interesting to note that despite the divergences in
interpretation of certain aspects of co-management among the writers,
they arrive at something common at the end: the implications of the
operation of market forces on resources that are now still corporate and
communal.
In Demang, for instance, if the operation of custom law on the
saguday were pursued to its logical end, Cruz (2001) claims that a
scenario can be created of the saguday being fragmented into pieces of
individual property and she correctly raises potential management
problems such as economies of size and externalities. But Cruz also
points to the new incentives that will emerge once the clan forest
becomes individual. Reciprocity will be replaced with more marketoriented exchanges.
In Fidelisan, the residents say that the present generation
cannot even use up the existing pine forests. But there is an implicit
ceteris paribus assumption to that statement: that the current uses of
lumber and other forest products and the rate of forest exploitation are
constant. However, as San Luis (2001) says, we have to recognize what
could impinge on the forests the worth of lumber in the market.
Introduced in Fidelisan, therefore, is a new social value the
economics of the forest. In Ankileng, the writer asks: Are the people
ready to enter a truly market-driven economy?
Therefore, when any of the recommendations above is
considered, investment is a concomitant act. Resources are committed
to it - but only after calculating its net return, the rate of return that
considers all costs and the assurance that the dividends from the
investment are received at the end of some foreseeable term.
There is also a hierarchy of need, and temporal considerations
in making an investment decision. Immediate survival from using the
resources that are accessible to a household precedes the issue of
sustainability of the same resources even if the user is aware that
there are future adverse consequences. NRMP I has taught us the
tension between productivity and sustainability as objectives in
resource management (see Rood, 1995).
In the next section, I shall be asking where resources are
currently being invested. The economist always assumes that the

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Economic Transaction Flows

rational investor will commit the resources available to him according


to the returns from an undertaking. I shall try to do a schematic
diagram of, and elaborate on the village economys resource flows. I
shall be using the results of the Community Profiling Project
Participatory Action Research in Community Resource Accounting
(1998) for these purposes.

Components of the NRMP Village Economy


Production is the core of any economic activity. It consists of
putting the resources - such as land, labor, capital and technology - to
use. Add the entrepreneurial decision to take risks in combining these
resources in an organized fashion. This essential economic activity is
described as: first, a process of exchange of resources and second, as
the transformation of these resources into goods.
The processes of exchange and transformation are performed
by interdependent units. A NRMP village is characterized by four
units that interact with one another in a variety of ways. These units
are the farming household and the village economy, the extra-village
institution, and the extensions of the farming households. These
components and the relationships among them are shown in Figure1.

Extension/s
of the
Household

Typical
Farming
Household

Village
Economy

Extra Village
Institutions

Figure. I. The Typical NRMP Farming Household: Its Input & Output Flow

It seems that the most useful way of looking at the interactions


among these four components in the village is to walk through this
flow diagram, which shows the transactions between one unit and
another. This is a heuristic devise that distinguishes the role of the
household as the locus of resource ownership from itself as a
resource user and the other village-based institutions which are also
resource users.

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The asset portfolio of a farming household at any one time


consists of its cash, and the access to cash or merchandise credit; its
labor resources, and claims to the village labor pool; its claims to the
natural resources, i.e., over different types of farm land, forests, grazing
and mineral land, and water rights under both the national and
customary legal systems; and farm technology.
The household in these communities, as a farm-firm, will carry
the risks of an investment decision. However, the members of the same
household already constitute the labor force. Our studies of the
Cordillera village have also taught us that no household is exempt
from doing multiple tasks and balancing a complex of livelihood
activities just to survive. In the village, there is very little division of
labor according to specialization.
The village economy is made up of the livelihood systems
found therein and which utilize the household-owned resources:
farming, non-farm and off-farm. To the household, the outputs of
production provide direct subsistence and cash revenue from sales.
Other engagements of resources yield wages, in kind or cash.
A set of relationships links, respectively, the village economy
and the farming household with extra-village institutions - such as the
market outside the village, the government and its instrumentalities
and other interest groups.
In the extra-village marketplace, the household sells the output
of the village economy on the one hand. From the same extra-village
marketplace, the household buys both the goods for its consumption
needs and the manufactured inputs required by the farm and the
mining operation in Fidelisan. Of special interest to this research
program are the government agencies whose policies impinge on the
households asset portfolio and on the village economy. They are, after
all, the potential partners in the co-management of the village
resources.
Finally, there are the extensions of the farming households typically, the family members who are absent from the household and
the village - who sustain their links with kin and village-based
institutions. They include the students enrolled in schools and workers
who are employed outside Sagada, and those who have moved
permanently out of the municipality. Being extensions - but who live
outside the village - they maintain their claims, in cash or kind, over
the natural resources, i.e., over part of the returns of the farm land,
forests (especially the clan-owned forest stands), grazing and mineral
land and water rights. In return, the farming household may expect

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Economic Transaction Flows

remittances to supplement its cash and the inventory of consumption


and production goods.

The Concept of Imperfect Information and Market Failure


In this section, we shall apply some concepts from the
economics of information toward a framework that we can use to
compare the results of the study of the three Sagada communities. We
shall keep reminding ourselves of the difference between the markets
where the developments in economic theory formation originate and
that of ours, especially in our agricultural sector. There, markets are
incomplete, if not absent whether for risks, funds, or productsand
where information is far from perfect. How do we make the most of
these developments in theory to look at NRMP communities?
I shall use as take-off point Stiglitzs Economic Organization,
Information and Development (1988). Stiglitz refers to his approach as
information-theoretic.
Stiglitzs information-theoretic is concerned
with the rural organization, beginning with the family. For Stiglitz,
understanding the family structure is central because the family
constitutes the basic production unit in LDCs. This contrasts sharply
with the economic convention that the business firm is the basic
production unit in the market system.3
The typical family in the rural sector performs many things
other than produce, particularly on a monocrop basis. It is not a
specialist not in the Adam Smith sense which is an important
qualification. It undertakes multiple functions, e.g., life insurance for
its members in the absence of insurance (and other) markets that would
have otherwise taken over. Stiglitz uses a family welfare model that
covers among other questions, how income is to be allocated within the
familyan intra-household equity issueand who, where and how
much each individual should work. This model explicitly states that
these decisions are made by the family - a situation that is natural
3

In the circular flow of transactions in the market system, the household is the basic
consumption unit according to current usage, other than owning the factors of production. The
formal literature of the orthodoxy, however, still uses the individual consumers utility function to
explain demand behavior - not yet the households utility function, although there are
developments in theory happening along this direction. There is a significant difference there that
begs to be reconciled. (Incidentally, this fuzziness provides a fertile ground for feminist critique,
and research utilizing feminist perspectives. If the family is indeed the basic consumption unit and there is a not insignificant distinction between household and family - and its consumption
preference is represented by a single utility function, whose utility function is that, feminist
scholars ask? The household head? But household heads are typically males, yet essentially in
whose domain is determining the patterns of household consumption? Or is the utility function a
composite of preferences? This debate simply means that the family utility function is not a
concept about which the last word has been said.)

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enough to us, intuitive to us, common sensical enough for us but in


the economic orthodoxy are functions of markets and decisions of
individuals whose rational behavior is defined by market forces.
The other concern of this information-theoretic is explaining
persistence of practices and institutions in LDCs perverse as they may
seem but are responses to problems associated with imperfect
information and incomplete markets. Stiglitz concentrated on tenancy
and sharecropping, and the practices and institutions that have
emerged and persisted as their consequences. For our part, we shall
keep to the production and marketing hierarchies in the Cordillera
vegetable industry and the missing market elements in the credit
system as evidences of market failures that make price competitiveness
severely limited.
Earlier I said that I should be asking where resources are
currently being invested in Demang, Fidelisan and Ankileng. I shall
now try to elaborate on the schematic diagram of the village economys
resource flows using the results of the Community Profiling Project
Participatory Action Research in Community Resource Accounting
(1998) for the purpose.
From the multiple responses obtained during a process of
community resource accounting, we confirm that the farming
household carries the risks of an investment decision in these
communities. The significance of this observation lies in its contrast
with markets which are complete, where the investment risks may be
cushioned through an insurance policy upon payment of a premium.
At the same time, members of the same household also already
constitute the labor force - its own unpaid farm labor, the floating por
dia work force for other farms and the communal pool that is subject to
customary law. As we have earlier stated, no household is exempt from
doing multiple tasks; it performs a complex of livelihood activities.
Demang. As of 1996, there were 143 households in the
barangay. Of this total, 101 households (70.6%) produced rice,
essentially on a subsistence level. Only five households (3%) stated
having earned some income from its sales. 4 Swine, the ritual animal
during major feasts, were raised by 121 households (84.6%), and
provided some cash income for a significant number, 62 (43.3%).
Seventy-eight of the households (54.5%) cultivated their uma. Output of
swidden cultivation is typically for home consumption. The vegetable
4

The information provided only the number of households with net income from sales
(where net income was obtained by subtracting cost of inputs from sales). Thus, the number of
households that actually sold may be larger, but the rest of the households may have sold at a loss.

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Economic Transaction Flows

cash crops were raised by 67 households (46.9%), with 56 households


(39.2%) registering a net income from their sales. From 86 households
(60.1%), at least one member earned a daily wage from por dia services.5
Income from all sources during the year was estimated at
P6,423,100. The three major sources of income were from sales of the
vegetable cash crops that contributed 11.8%, swine, 8%, and from other
sources, 67.0%. To be noted is the number of recipient households of
remittances which is 27 (18.9%). Loans outstanding as of the date of the
study was P435,500.
Fidelisan. There were 89 households in the barangay as of 1995
during the period when the study was undertaken. Seventy-seven
households (86.5%) cultivated the subsistence rice crop. Sixteen (18.0%)
stated having earned some income from their rice sales. Sixty-four
households (71.9%) raised swine that provided some cash income for
24 (27.0%). Eighty-five (95.5%) cultivated their uma. Mining was done
by 29 households (32.6%), while 65 (73%) were involved in some form
of cottage industry. From some 73 households (82.0%), at least one
member earned a daily wage, mostly from por dia services.
Income from all sources during the year was estimated at
P1,092,450. The three major sources of income were from mineral
production: 35.6%, from vegetables 2.6% and 51.6% from other sources.
Loans outstanding was P159,700. A significant number were recipients
of remittances (27 households or 18.9%).
Ankileng. As of 1997, there were 153 households in Ankileng.
All households produced rice and, essentially, on a subsistence level.
But a significant 47 households (30.7%) stated having earned some
income from their harvest. Swine raising was done by 138 households
(90.2%) and provided some cash income for 46 (30.1%). Ninety-six
households (62.7%) cultivated their uma. While the vegetable cash
crops were raised by 108 households (70.6%), only 89 households
(58.2%) registered a net income from their sales. From 54 households
(35.3%), at least one member earned a daily wage, mostly from por dia
services. Sixty-one households (39.9%) stated they also had other
sources.
Income from all sources during the year was estimated at
P2,173,3114. The major sources of income were from the sales of the
vegetable cash crops that contributed 40.9%, 17.1% from the rice crop,
swine-production raised 6% and 30.1% came from other sources. The
5

Other sources of livelihood for 101 households (70.6%) in Demang were office
employment, rental income, piece rate work, buy -and-sell, self-employment and more other, but
unspecified, sources.

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number of recipient households of remittances was not provided, but


total remittances reached P48,500. Loans outstanding as of the date of
the study was P436,000.
Since it is the production of cash crops common to our research
sites where resources are concentrated, and where a significant
proportion of income is earned, this section concentrates on the extravillage markets that impinge on the household and the village
economy.

Organization of the Rural Economy


In general, a Cordillera farm operators output intended for the
market, essentially the vegetable cash crops, faces a relatively elastic
demand curve. This means that the percentage drop in quantity that
consumers buy will always be greater than a percentage increase in the
vegetable price especially if, say, the farm operator tries to pass on a
part of an increase in his input cost. That is the nature of the
commodity he has for sale. The consumers have a wide latitude of
choice among vegetables; a price increase in cabbages today will drive
me to other vegetables, ceteris paribus.
On the other hand, the farm operators demand for the
manufactured inputs is relatively inelastic this means that the
percentage decrease in the quantity demanded of the chemical input
will always be less than a percentage increase in the input price.
Again, that is the nature of the commodity. The farm operator has a
narrower choice among inputs than consumers have among vegetables.
What are the close-enough substitutes for the manufactured inputs,
fertilizer and pesticides, that are available when their prices increase
today, say, in the middle of the production period? It is only over time
that the picture can change.
I attempted diagramming the respective hierarchies in the
market for the vegetable output, the market for manufactured inputs
and the market for credit. It is my way of summarizing the works of
Boquiren (1989) and Russell (1989). Both works that I am borrowing
from are, at least, a decade old and concentrates on Benguet, but I still
have to locate studies of more recent vintage that have the same
extensive coverage. Nonetheless, there are lessons from the market
operation contained in them that Sagada communities can learn from.

The Output Market


Figure II below is my attempt at diagramming the hierarchy in
the output market.

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Economic Transaction Flows

Supply:
Vegetable Producers

Large Farm Operators


1. Size: 3 has., with 10
has. as the modal rule of
thumb at the upper limit.
2. Tenure: Titled for
locals, leased for nonlocals who are of Chinese
origin.
3. Output: Cash crops,
monocropping
Medium Sized Farm
Operators
1. Size: 1 3 has.
2. Tenure: Tax-declared
3. Output: Cash crops
on mixed or staggered
cropping system
Small Farm Operators
1. Size: < 1 hectare
2. Tenure:
Tax - declared
3. Output:
Subsistence crop
and some cash
crops

Service Sector:
Trade, Transport,
Communication
and Storage

Demand:
Vegetable
Consumers

1. Financier/Wholesale Buyers
Retailers Wholesale buyers
who also extend production
credit, then breaks bulk to
retailers.
2. Wholesale Buyers
Retailers: Wholesale buyers
who then breaks bulk to retailers.
3. Dealer/Truck Farmer or
Farmer/Financier / Wholesale
Buyer Retailers: Large farm
operators. Some extend
production loans to smaller
operators. Some have vehicles
and so bulk their produce with
those of small operators, thus are
w holesale buyers, or perform part
of wholesale buying and then
deliver to bigger wholesale
buyers.
4. Agent Roadside Trader
Sub-assembler Wholesale
buyers Retailers:
Permutations on these marketing
systems.

Figure II. The Market for Vegetables6

Source of basic data: Rowena R. Boquiren, The History and Political Economy of
the Vegetable Industry, Working Paper 14, U.P. College Baguio: Cordillera Studies Center,
November 1989.

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Among the producers, size of operation differs, as you can see.


In some places, Buguias and Atok, for example, are a few large, singlefarm operators who monocrop. I did not find the same presence from
the studies on the NRMP communities. But their presence in the
Cordillera market for temperate vegetables has an impact on the other
growers, regardless of location.
Then, there are the medium-sized farm operators who do
mixed cropping . Whether the cropping mix involves all cash crops or a
mix of the subsistence crop and a cash crop, it is probably safe to
assume that volume per harvest per cash crop per medium-sized
farmer tends to be less than a large operator. And then there are the
small-farm operators who are primarily subsistence farmers whose
ventures into cash cropping are irregular.
In this case, price-taking in the perfectly competitive market
sense may not exactly be the appropriate term to apply to a large
operator, except maybe during those times when harvest is so
abundant that the output market becomes a buyers market. Otherwise,
the large operator certainly has some market power that cannot be
enjoyed by a small farm operator and, thus, the former can pricesearch.
And, theoretically, even if the medium-sized farm operator can
also search for his best price, the large operator can engage in more
extensive price searching. Literally. Being more mobile, he can go
beyond the La Trinidad trading post. He, thus, has some market power
that the smaller operators do not have. The smallest operators, most
likely, have to take the price offer at the farm gate; they are the pricetakers with no ability to price search. The latter appears to be the case
of the three Sagada communities, as there do not seem to be any
correspondence with the single, large producer that characterizes Atok
and Buguias.
On the demand side of the market, among intermediate buyers
not among us final consumers a hierarchy forms, from the large
farmer bulking by buying from the smaller farmers, to agents, to roadside bulkers to the Divisoria-based wholesale buyer.
There is no question that market power can be exercised
vertically at different degrees along the hierarchy. Each of the very few
wholesale buyers in Divisoria has a stronger market power than the
local large farmer buying from the small operator. How is that
possible?
The reason for these levels in the distributive network seems
lodged in the missing service sector: transport, storage and

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Economic Transaction Flows

communication. That is why economic models that disaggregate


behavior are useful in LDCs, as Baldwin suggests. In the developed
economies, these services are not missing and they integrate the output
market. Here, if you were a small farm operator without transport and
storage facilities and you have a product with a short shelf-life, you are
figuratively at the end of a gun pointed at you by a buyer who has
those facilities. And the big wholesaler himself, or through a network
he has established, is in the best position to exploit the missing market
elements.
Is the power of each of the few wholesale buyers in the market
- or their collective power if they cartelized - absolute? The answer is
no. There is a so-called shutdown price. Otherwise, we will not
encounter cases of farmers who say they simply plow their cabbages
under to serve as green manure (or delay delivery of potatoes that have
a longer shelf life) below a certain price. Even for a monopsonist, there
is a limit to market power.

The Market for Manufactured Inputs


Figure III is my attempt to diagram the levels of distribution in
the manufactured input market.7 A parallel situation holds true for the
suppliers of manufactured inputs fertilizers and pesticides with
that of the intermediate buyers of the vegetable output. As the number
of sellers falls, the higher the level of the marketing hierarchy is from
the many, small local outlets in the municipality, to the bigger
provincial distributors in La Trinidad and Baguio, to the Manila-based
head offices of chemical TNCs the greater is the market power
enjoyed by each.
Again, the reason appears to be traceable to the missing
elements in the service sector, trade and finance. The relationship
between the hierarchy of input suppliers and the farm operator is
through input financing. Still the power over input price is not absolute
- even for a monopolist, there is a limit. There is also a time horizon
involved.

The regulatory body introduces a distortion in the market, affecting final price and the
eventual distribution of fertilizer. Distortion is used here in the sense that the final price and
quantity will be different if only the forces of demand and supply are allowed to work. The
regulatory body's main target crops, however, are the food grain staples, not the Cordileera
vegetables.

Tapang

Supply:
Input Producers

Regulatory Agency:
Fertilizer and Pesticide
Authority
National Distributors
(16)
Provincial Distributors
(6 Benguet)
Local Outlets *
11, Baguio; 11, La
Trinidad;
3, Atok; 17, Buguias;
1, Kabayan
*Some local outlets may
grant suppliers credit on
selective basis to farm
operators; may be
owned by farm
operators.

161

Service Sector:
Trade, Transport,
Communication and
Storage

Demand:
Vegetable
Producers

Suppliers Financiers*
1. Porsiento: Sharing
System (Sales 30%
Sales)/2

Large Farm
Operators:
Some may be
Dealers, Truck
Farmers or Farmer/
Financier/ Wholesaler

2. Dinulinan system:
(Sales Loans)/2.
When loan value >
sales, the difference is
carried over as debt
outstanding in the next
period.

Medium -Sized Farm


Operators
Small Farm
Operators

3. Kabagyan system:
a variant of 1 & 2
above, the net sales to
be shared may be in
the farm-operators
favor.
*May be the same as,
or include Financiers/
Wholesale Buyers.

Dealers*
They advance cash or
inputs payable on
maturity with interest.
Borrowers may or may
not sell the harvest to a
dealer.
*May include the
Farmer/
Financier/Wholesale
Buyer or Truck
Farmers
* Source of basic data: Rowena R. Boquiren, The History and Political Economy of the
Vegetable Industry, Working Paper 14, U.P. College Baguio: Cordillera Studies Center,
November 1989.

Figure III. The Market for Manufactured Inputs.


e.g., Fertilizers and Pesticides*

162

Economic Transaction Flows

If chemical companies collude and continuously play with the


price, after some time and beyond some price level, adjustments among
the farmers are going to have to be made. The oil crisis of the 1970s,
while painful and dislocating, taught both the oil cartel and oil-users
important lessons.
For example, over time, car manufacturers
improved efficiency in getting more mileage per liter from the newer
car models, and alternative energy sources were searched in order to be
less dependent, both on a single energy source and the oil cartel. Of
course, those who did not adjust correctly or did not adjust at all these
last 30 years are still hostages to OPEC. But on the overall, oil demand
on OPEC has fallen since (Case and Fair, 1996).
For the farm operator, in the immediate and the short-term and
as a last recourse when input prices rise, he may go back to cyanide
vice pesticides, which he allegedly did a few years back but, as
always, at an economic risk. He will get stuck with unsold vegetables
when consumers become informed or the government steps in to ban
the sale of contaminated output.
Across time and monopolistic pricing, however, if the industry
is to survive it will have to adjust: shifting to new inputs, new input
combinations, probably new products. Put it this way: organic
fertilizers and IPM alternatives - now more costly financially, and also
of time and effort may eventually become the viable alternatives. I
say may, because they may not.
I am simply pointing out that if the cost of the present inputs is
the problem, their producer can eventually price himself out of the
market, and what are today the costlier alternatives will become viable.
The industry adjusts. Factor combinations and technology are not
immutable and unchanging. But not all current farm operators,
though, will probably afford such a shift. Todays high-cost farms or,
alternatively, the already low-productivity farms, will go under. The
smallest ones are probably the most vulnerable. But that is how the
market works. Competition culls the inefficient from the more efficient,
eliminating those that cannot adjust from those that can.
Well, I guess there is some advocacy implicit there: I am trying
to push for a view that is not always focused on the here and now but
toward some longer time horizon. Otherwise, we move from one crisis
management to another all the time, treating the symptoms, not the
disease. But thats another lecture entirely. In the here and now and
the literature on the Cordillera vegetable industry, past and present,
mostly deals with the here and now, there are those vertical levels in
the distribution channels to contend with.

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163

Of special significance to the present NRMP sites are the


recommendations of the teams that did the studies on them. To address
the environmental constraints of the various land types - even those
where subsistence production is the norm, such as the rice land and the
swidden, and the corporate and communal resources - some
manufactured input from the extra-village market is called for. So do
the agroforestry component.

The Market for Funds


Figure IV is my attempt to diagram the transactions in the
funds market. You may have noted that the hierarchies presented
earlier are here again. In the three different markets, the identities of
the participants that make up these hierarchies are the same
persistent evidence of market failures. We have noted that their
presence in the input market is generally to finance the inputs for farm
operators; and their presence in the output market is explained by the
simple reality that they collect the principal and interest from input
financing there. It appears, then, that imperfections and asymmetries in
the goods market are eventually traced to the funds market.
The funds market mirrors the economies of LDCs (Ghatak,
1982; Myint, 1971). The funds market - like the economy as a whole - is
characterized by dualism: a) the organized, formal financial and
banking system that is pliable to monetary policy and regulation, and
b) the larger, unorganized, informal sector that cannot be regulated
directly by policy and the monetary authorities.
The latter consists of moneylenders, indigenous bankers,
traders and merchants, landlords, friends and relatives who may be
one and the same; again, since division of labor and specialization do
not exist. The unorganized, informal sector controls a significant
section of the funds market, mainly because of its grip over agriculture
- the dominant production sector in the economy, and because of the
absence of the formal banking sector in the typically small, collateraldeficient, agricultural sector.
The main features of that informal sector are a) flexibility in
transactions; b) personalized dealings with borrowers; c) a crude
system of accounts keeping, if any; d) the blending of money-lending
and other economic transactions, e.g., trading; and e) secrecy.
It is further observed that, in many LDCs, the interest rate even
in the formal sector is administered, rather than market-determined
(World Bank, 1993).
This means that market distortions are
introduced, thus, demand for and supply of funds do not fully explain

164

Economic Transaction Flows

the interest rate. Meantime, in the unorganized market, interest rate is


determined by both economic and institutional variables; hence,
availability rather than the cost is more likely to influence demand for
funds (Bottomley, 1971). Demand for funds is, thus, interest-inelastic
(Ghatak, 1982).

Sources of
Funds
1. Deposits
2. Capital
contribution
3. Others
(Loans for
relending)

Intermediaries
Formal
Financial
Sector
1. Banks
2. Credit
unions

Intermediaries:
Non-Formal
Financial Sector
1. Manila-based
Wholesale
Buyers, (may be
the same as, or
include supplierfinanciers or
financierwholesale
buyers)
2. Local Traders
(may be the same
as, or include
dealers, truck
farmers or farmer/
financier/
whole-sale
buyers)
3. Kin Network
4. Others: e.g.,
money-lenders

Users of
Funds
1. Large Farm
Operators
2. MediumSized Farm
Operators
3. Small Farm
Operators

Fig. IV. The Market for Funds 8

Let me now tie these to what I said in the earlier sections on


what a more-or-less complete funds market can accomplish. The
middleman in the Cordillera vegetable industry charges a high rate
of interest from financing farm operations. All literature says that, and
I will accept high as a given.
8

Sources of basic data: Rowena R. Boquiren, The History and Political Economy of
the Vegetable Industry, Working Paper 14, U.P. College Baguio: Cordillera Studies Center,
November 1989; Susan D. Russell, Informal Credit and Commodity Trade in Benguet, Upland
Luzon, Cordillera Monograph 03, UP College Baguio: Cordillera Studies Center, March 1989.

Tapang

165

But that is an observation in an aggregated form;


disaggregating it might lead us to other policy options and
recommendations. So, I suggest that we decompose that high interest
rate. The value added of CSC research might be higher if we peeled
away the layers of transactions and determine the transaction cost of
each layer that sums up to that final, high interest rate that the
middleman charges.
Is crop insurance in force? If not, the middleman who lends
cash, inputs and even consumer goods to the farm operator has to
carry the risk without the guarantee of insurance in case of crop failure.
Carrying that has a cost because insurance has a price.
In my Money and Banking classes where students organize a
lecture series as a requirement, I always make it a point to ask the
resource person from the rural bank if they provide production loans
collateralized by the crop, as the finance texts teach, and of late, the
answer had been no. They have suspended granting this type of a
loan. What I am suggesting is that the middleman-wholesale buyerinput supplier-moneylender rolled into one is, therefore, taking over
some banking functions, and in banking there are intermediation costs.
(That explains, among others, the margin between interest paid by
banks on savings and the interest collected on loans.) So, the farm
operator, in effect, is paying that intermediation cost. After all, the
moneylender, like a bank, has to source the funds he lends at cost.
If the middleman is, at the same time, also a distributor of farm
inputs, a buyer and transporter of farm output and an information
source, there is some value-added from each of the service, too. These
services are not free. Therefore, those charges that the middleman
exacts are not only due to the intermediation costs of funds but for nonfinancial services rendered.
Do middleman cost-share, like the landlord in a share-tenancy
system? Some do, and not only do they share the farm operators
production cost, but also partly advance their consumption
expenditure (Brett et al., 1994). Cost sharing does not come free; there
is an opportunity cost to money.
The middleman shares in the risk, and that is said not in
defense of the middleman. There is not only the risk of default, which
risks crop insurance could have eliminated. And, unlike the formal
financial institution, the middleman can also seldom foreclose, given
the legal status of the real estate used as collateral. CSC and other
scholars have done research on the extent of land titling in a region that

166

Economic Transaction Flows

is a forest reserve (Rood, 1995). So, the middleman may have no option
but to refinance the next crop.
There is also a risk that is called price risk. It is the risk that at
harvest, output price might plunge. Again, from the studies done the
porsiento system and the supply system look like instances when the
middleman shares price risks. These are methods of providing credit,
and then computing interest due, not on the loan principal, but on the
proceeds of sales at harvest time. Since revenue from sales is the
product of quantity and price, the lower the price, the lower the
revenue from which the interest computation is based.
And
middlemen, being rational and astute in reading market information, I
bet that among the financing options, these will disappear sooner than
later.
Since the formal credit market generally screens out the farm
operator from borrowing against crops and documentation of the Real
Estate Mortgage (REM) cannot be perfected, a common recourse is to
use suppliers credit. Still, that is a common, sound business practice.
But that is for a term and at interest. Not all input sales are in cash
terms all the time and, that, too, is common, sound business practice.
Technically, the supplier-creditor can then go to the bank -in
agriculture, typically to a rural bank - and discount the borrowers
promissory note or the suppliers acceptance draft. In effect, sell the
debt at a premium and reduce the risks.
As previously mentioned, when markets are complete and
documents are negotiable in the funds market, the credit risk can be
passed on to financial institutions with progressively greater capacity
to bear those risks. I did that all the time in the bank, discounting for,
say, a supplier of cassava flour to food manufacturers. The bank, in its
turn, rediscounted the same note with the Central Bank.
What do you accomplish through this? The supplier does not
have to wait until maturity to monetize the loan and the immediate
proceeds are then used to replenish inventory and service more clients.
The note that the bank then rediscounts with the Central Bank provides
more loanable funds. That is the service provided by the financial
system. If the lender is stuck with the promise to pay until maturity, he
not only bears the risk; it also reduces the funds flow and the number
of transactions.
Of course, a complication that can arise here is with the
documentation requirements. This discounting facility may screen out
the middleman himself from the formal credit sources if he cannot
perfect the legal requirements documenting the transaction. He, then,

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167

has to carry the risk burden of the loan to maturity. The features of the
informal sector: flexibility, informality, personalized transacting, crude
accounting system, secrecy, can also screen out the middleman from
the formal sector. It costs.
So, I hope I have given you some idea where the high rates
in the informal sector can come from. A part of them is explained by
the fact that they are a composite of the payments due for the
composite of services provided and the risks involved. The other part
comes from the opportunities for monopolistic practices afforded by
information asymmetry, market imperfections, and missing markets.
How much to assign to the each factor in the face of current interest
costs in the informal market still have no answers. Now.

Concluding Remarks
My assignment as a Research Fellow is to propose a framework
to allow comparison among the three project sites in Sagada. And,
based on my previous involvement in studies on natural resource
management with the CSC, and a reading of the reports of the present
team, I tried to do a schematic diagram of, and elaborated somewhat
on the village economys resource flows.
I organized the economic data from these reports around the
concepts of missing information and missing markets. That is, when a
market cannot do what it is supposed to do allocate resources to
production, and distribute the output of the process most efficiently
there is a market failure. The households in the NRMP research sites
are not exempt from the effects of these failures. We have pointed out
some of their sources.
Because the CSC has declared that it uses a Community-Based
Natural Resource Management approach to the NRMP so that
ultimately, a community-based, co-management system between local
and national groups could be instituted; it has to explore the avenues
for addressing the problems of missing information and missing
markets. A starting point could be linking up with those who are
already doing work elsewhere in the Cordillera on the operation of
Grameen-type financial organizations. Financial resources could be
akin to, say the scarce water resources where, in the local communities,
an effective distribution system is in place and the rules on resource
use are strictly enforced. The CSC should proceed with studies of
institutions and institutional analysis to determine if the mechanisms
that made resource distribution work in the past can find some

168

Economic Transaction Flows

resonance in the distribution of non-traditional resources in the same


communities today.
Let me end this with a quote from the economist Silk (Leonard
Silks Introduction to Susan Lee, ABZs of Economics [New York:
Pocket Books, 1988]): Economics is a slice of life, not the whole of it,
but a big bloody slice. Lord knows, the public needs all the help it can
get if it is to understand what economics is all about.

References
Boquiren, Rowena R. The History and Political Economy of the
Vegetable Industry. Working Paper 14. Cordillera Studies
Center (CSC), University of the Philippines College Baguio
(UPCB), November 1989.
Brett, June Prill; Cruz, Gladys A.; Crisologo-Mendoza, Lorelei; and
Tapang, Bienvenido, Jr. A Comparative Study of Agricultural
Commercialization in Selected Highland Communities of the
Cordillera-Ilocos Region. CSC Working Paper 24. Cordillera
Studies Center (CSC), University of the Philippines College
Baguio (UPCB), October 1994.
Cabalfin, Michael R. An Analysis of the Social Arrangements for the
Management of Natural Resources: The Case of Ankileng,
Sagada. Natural Resource Management Program II Final
Research Report. Cordillera Studies Center (CSC), University
of the Philippines College Baguio (UPCB), February 2001.
Case, Karl E. and Fair, Ray C. Principles of Economics. 4th ed. New
Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1996.
Cruz, Gladys A. The Social Arrangements in Natural Resource
Management: The Case of Demang, Sagada. Natural
Resource Management Program II Final Research Report.
Cordillera Studies Center (CSC), University of the Philippines
College Baguio (UPCB), February 2001.

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169

Floresca, Emmanuel J. Final Report on the Institutional Arrangement


Analysis and the Ancestral Domain Issue: Barangay Ankileng,
Sagada, Mt. Province. Cordillera Studies Center (CSC),
University of the Philippines College Baguio (UPCB),
December 1999.
Ghatak, Subrata. Monetary Economics in Developing Countries.
London: The MacMillan Press Ltd.; Southeast Asian Reprint,
1982.
Lee, Susan. ABZs of Economics. New York: Pocket Books, 1988
"Community Profiling Project: Participatory Action Research in
Community Resource Accounting." Development Studies
Component. Cordillera Studies Program. U.P. College Baguio.
University of the Philippines System Center for Integrative and
Development Studies (UPCIDS) and the Local Government
Unit of the Municipality of Sagada., October 1997 (Revised
October 1998).
Myint, H. Economic Theory and the Underdeveloped Country.
London: Oxford University Press, 1971.
U.P. College Baguio. Cordillera Studies Center. Proceedings of the
Annual Conference of the Ancestral Domain and Resource
Management Program in Sagada, Mountain Province, Year 2.
Social Science Division Audio-Visual Room, May 26, 1999.
Rood, Steven. Indigenous Practices and State Policy in the Sustainabale
Management of Agricultural Lands and Forests in the
Cordillera: A Summary Report. CSC Working Paper 25.
Cordillera Studies Center (CSC), University of the Philippines
College Baguio (UPCB), March 1995.
Russell, Susan D. Informal Credit and Commodity Trade in Benguet,
Upland Luzon. Cordillera Monograph 03. U Cordillera Studies
Center (CSC), University of the Philippines College Baguio
(UPCB), March 1989.
San Luis, Ma. Cecilia. Social Relations in Natural Resource
Management Co-Management of Natural Resources of
Fidelisan, Sagada, Mt. Province. Natural Resource
Management Program II Final Research Report, Cordillera
Studies Center (CSC), University of the Philippines College
Baguio (UPCB), May 26, 1999.

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Economic Transaction Flows

Silk, Leonard. The Economists. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1976.
Stiglitz, Joseph E. Economic Organization, Information and
Development. In Handbook of Development Economics.
Edited by H. Chenery and
T.N. Srinivasan. I. Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., 1988.
Tapang, Bienvenido P. Economics of Information: An Introduction.
Professorial Chair Lecture. U.P. College Baguio: Division of
Social Sciences, December 4, 1996.
World Bank. World Development Report, 1993.

Authors Name: BIENVENIDO TAPANG, JR.


Address: Division of Social Sciences
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Telephone No.: (074) 442-2427
Fax: (074) 442-2427/442-3888

Strategies of Survival for a


C o m m u n i t y o f T r a d i t i o n a l S m a l l - Scale Miners
Evelyn Caballero
According to John van Willigen (1993) Applied Anthropology
is both pragmatic and democratic. it is pragmatic in that it stresses
practices that work to achieve peoples goals. It is democratic in that all
the approaches, whether these are for research or intervention, have at
their core the commitment to discover and communicate the
communitys perspective (van Willigen, 1993: ix).
In order to discover and communicate a communitys
perspective there is a need to understand the cultures we work in.

History
To begin with a brief background of the adaptive strategies of
the Kankana-eys in the context of their culture is necessary. Small-scale
mining in Benguet Province dates back at least 400 years. Historical
evidence suggests that when the Spaniards entered the area in the 17th
century, gold mining was already a thriving production process in the
municipality of Itogon (Quirante, 1624).
The accounts of Quirante in 1624 describe Ygolotes digging
tunnels in several sites. Some of these sites are still mined today. He
describes wooden pickaxes tipped with iron used by the miners to chip
the ore in the tunnels. A stout rock and other small stones then
crushed the ore by hand until the ore was reduced to powder. This was
then washed in streams where the gold grains were recognized by their
gleam in the sunlight. The large grains of ore were milled and washed
several times until very little of the metal was left.
Many of these traditional practices exist today. The grinding
rocks described by Quirante are still being used by the present-day
Kankana-ey. Earthenware pottery containers (gangi) for roasting gold
into gold beads were found in an archeological site in Itogon, and are
similar to those still being used by the Kankana-ey small-scale miners
(Caballero, 1996; Reynolds and Caballero, 1993).

Ethnographic Data
Ethnographic data indicates that there is a great deal of social
control by the elders (panglakayan) over gold production and
distribution. Consultation and the resolution of conflicts regarding
mining are through the elders.

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Strategies of Survival

The interplay between social control, production and gender


relations also emerges from the ethnographic data. Among the unique
features of the Kankana-ey traditional miners are the social
mechanisms that allow them to share gold. One such sharing practice is
sagaok where the villagers go from one tunnel to another to request for
ore with gold. Another mechanism is makilinang where gold
concentrates are shared among the villagers. In both practices, elder
women always had first priority to these shared ore or concentrates.
In the Dalicno community, events like marriage, death and
rituals are also community events as are matters related to the
infrastructure maintenance, health and education. They have, as a
community, been able to organize and accomplish community projects
with minimal external assistance, like the building and concreting of
their roads, the construction of a church, school, health facilities and a
meeting hall.

Rituals
Rituals are predominant among the Kankana-eys. Once, a
Kankana-ey told me, There will always be gold. We will never run out
of gold, but you have to mine it the right way. To mine the right way
refers not only to the technological or productive system; it also
involves their social and ritual subsystem. To mine the right way
means management of the resources by the panglakayan who are
present among the living and in the spirit world. The social and ritual
subsystems are interlinked. The deities and the anitos give the gold and
other natural resources to the community. The panglakayan continue to
play a predominant role even while in the spirit world as anitos. As
anitos they are always called upon to guide and manage the community
and are invoked and appeased through rituals so that good fortune
will always abound in all the endeavors of the community.

Technology
The Kankana-ey use physical separation techniques to separate
gold from ore. This method eliminates the use of mercury in the
extraction process which is a major source of pollution emanating from
the use of gold rush mining technology. The Kankana-ey use
painstaking measures to recover gold from all solids and also recycle
the water used in this process. They scrape the surface of the soil
around the work and roasting areas, collect this soil in sacks and
process it for gold content. They crush and regrind the used crucible
and recycle the middling and panning tails. They then re-mill and repan the primary panning tails in the holding tank (Caballero, 1996).

Caballero

173

The detailed development of the Kankana-ey mining and


processing technologies, along with their social and ritual systems are
the strategies that have enabled them first, to maintain their tradition
(that is hundreds of years old) through time and second, to provide for
the long-term sustainability of non-renewable resources.
One of the most striking features of the Kankana-ey traditional
miners is their use of strategies for resource acquisition, production
and distribution that they have maintained through time. In spite of
their proximity to large commercial mines, they have continued,
through generations, to use their simple and inexpensive tools. While it
is true that an increasing number have installed rodmills and ballmils,
the mining and gold recovery process is still done with traditional
tools. Today while the larger commercial mines around them have shut
down, they continue to live and mine in the same area.
The strategies which enable them to survive through time are
recycling and the use of efficient technology with less waste and less
pollution. In addition, their socio-cultural system that includes their
technology, social organization, religious practices and other aspects of
their culture that influence mining practices in the area provides
regulatory mechanisms for the control and equitable sharing of the
mineral resource. The social mechanisms (such as sagaok and
makilinang) of communal ownership have allowed them to mine in the
area for generations. As a result of this process they have developed
permanent settlements and stable socio-cultural conditions. This paper
will show how the communitys concept of sharing and working
together has enabled them to employ strategies to adapt to
environmental and social changes.

Following Events
With this brief background on the adaptive strategies of the
Kankana-ey, I would like to explore their response to government
policies that had either a positive or a negative impact on their
communities. I will proceed with an explanation of these policies
and/or laws and the processes that occurred in later events. The focus
of the work will be on the community of Dalicno in the municipality of
Itogon.
Other stakeholders in this discussion include the government,
particularly the Bureau of Mines of the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources (DENR), non-government organizations
(NGOs) and the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC).

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Strategies of Survival

In order to fully appreciate the impact of the following


discussion of government policy, law and mining it is important to
note that the sitio of Dalicno is located between two commercial mining
firms - Benguet Corporation and Itogon-Suyoc Mining Industries
(ISMI). Thus, the governments legal and policy framework related to
mining affects the corporate mines. When dealing with government
legislation and policies, this has a direct impact on Dalicno because of
the spatial proximity.
The national policies and/or laws and events that affected
Dalicno in the past are:
1. In 1991, the introduction of RA 7076, also known as the
Peoples Small-Scale Mining Act
2.
In 1990, the granting to Benguet Corporation of an
Environmental Compliance Certificate (EEC) to conduct reverse
circulating drilling and trenching in Dalicno
3. In 1990, the discovery of archeological sites in the immediate
area of Dalicno with material culture similar to those being used by the
traditional small-scale miners
4. In 1993, the start of the ISMI load and haul operations
5. In 1993, the collapse of the tailings dam of ISMI
6. In 1995, the passage of RA 7942, also known as the
Philippine Mining Act

RA 7076
In the third quarter of 1991, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau
invited the PSSC as a representative of the non-government sector to
the Inter-Agency Committee tasked to formulate the implementing
rules and regulations (IRR) of the Small-Scale Mining Law. I
represented PSSC and Atty. Augusto Gatmaytan, the Legal Rights
Center (LRC). In our examination, the law was found to have a
negative impact on traditional small-scale miners. The law ignored the
existence of traditional small-scale miners as all the provisions of the
statute were premised on the misconception that all miners are gold
rush miners. Utilizing anthropological data, several reasons for the
inapplicability of the law to traditional small-scale miners were cited.
Based on this information, the PSSC recommended for a repeal of the
statute or, at the very least, that necessary and substantial amendments
be made. As this process would entail considerable time, PSSC worked
with the Inter-Agency Committee drafting the IRR. Through the efforts

Caballero

175

of PSSC, the following were embodied in Department Administrative


Order (DAO) 34, the current IRR of RA 7076:
1.

A distinction is made between gold rush and small-scale


miners and traditional small-scale miners. Traditional
small-scale miners are given the same rights as ancestral
domain holders, in that their areas may not be declared
small-scale mining areas without prior consent. This is
with the corollary provision that should they withhold
consent, their customary rights under their mining
traditions should be recognized and protected. This is
embodied in Section 6.6 of DAO 34.

2.

There was only a minimal cut in the tax and other


impositions that the PSSC recommended for reduction. Tax
exemptions for technologies that use environment-friendly
techniques (like the physical separation of gold from ore
employed by the Kankana-ey) and/or ecological concepts,
like recycling that produce less waste and less pollution,
were not adopted. However, it is interesting to note that in
the present mining code, there are tax exemptions
addressing these prior recommendations of PSSC.

3.

PSSC also recommended for the reduction of reportorial


requirements. DAO 34 incorporates some, but not all, of
these recommendations. The justification offered by PSSC
for the reduction was that monthly and annual production
and financial reports are beyond most of the clerical skills
of small-scale miners. Failure to comply with the
reportorial requirements is made a ground for revocation
of the mining rights granted under the law.

A signature sheet of endorsement by individuals from the


social science community was attached to PSSCs position paper. More
importantly, there was an overwhelming support for the recommended
provisions of PSSC by the traditional small-scale miners in Benguet
Province. Some of them even wrote their own position papers. In the
1991 public hearing in Baguio City the traditional small-scale miners
said that, when confronted with the new law, their customary sharing
practices and values will be destroyed. To meet the fiscal provisions
stated in the implementing rules and regulations, one miner from the
Mankayan-Suyoc area simply said, You will force us to be selfish. We
will not be able to give linang to our elder women.

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Strategies of Survival

Benguet Corporations Drilling Operations, Archeological Sites


At about the time the Kankana-ey miners were responding to
the potential negative impact of RA 7076, the community of Dalicno
felt that it was going to be displaced by the drilling and trenching
operations of Benguet Corporation which started in 1990 and later in
1993 by the load and haul operations of ISMI. The community
responded to the operations of Benguet Corporation with a road
barricade that stopped part of its explorations
In 1990, archeological sites were also discovered in the Dalicno
area. The road that Benguet Corporation was building for its drilling
operations had a negative impact on a number of cave burial sites, as
well as habitation sites that were parallel to the then proposed LHD
operations of ISMI. A letter was forwarded to then DENR Secretary
Factoran to suspend the operations of Benguet Corporation because of
the archeological sites. There was also continuous consultation by the
community and the archeologists with the National Museum which
endorsed the letters to the DENR Secretary, together with archeological
site information and the communitys concerns on the adverse effects
of Benguet Corporationss development activities in the area. The
adverse impact of these operations would decrease the water supply to
the fields of the residents, destroy their main source of livelihood if
their subsurface tunnels were destroyed or when sedimentation would
clog up the river. By the third quarter of 1991, a multisectoral
investigation of the area was conducted among the residents of
Dalicno, the anthropologists who discovered the site, the National
Museum, Benguet Corporation, the mining office of this region and the
regional branch of the Environmental Management Bureau. Soon after,
the operations of Benguet Corporation were suspended.
During this time, we had community and group discussions
within Dalicno. Much of our discussion as a community centered
around learning about the present laws and policies and the impact
these have on Kankana-ey culture. Apart from RA 7076, discussions
also centered on Presidential Decree 1586 or the Environmental Impact
System (EIS). The process clarified that there was an ECC in the drilling
operations of Benguet Corporation but it ignored the presence of
archeological sites. On the other hand, there was no ECC for the load
and haul operations of ISMI. Between 1990 and 1993, these group
discussions were intermittent but repetitive in content. In the
beginning, the significance of the archeological sites and the identity of
the Dalicno residents as traditional small-scale miners were not key
points in their arguments as well as in the resolutions they submitted
to the local government unit of Itogon requesting Benguet Corporation

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177

to stop operations. To them, the key issues were that the operations of
the mining company threatened the stability of the soil, will reduce
their water supply and is life threatening to some of the inhabitants of
the community. At this time, they were working on their own as a
community trying to get local government support in their struggle to
survive.

Itogon-Suyoc Miness Load and Haul Operations


In 1993, ISMI started its load and haul operations. The
residents of Dalicno saw the negative impact of the LHD operations on
their water sources and mining tunnels. The Dalicno community,
together with efforts of the Municipal Secretary and a Municipal
Kagawad, sought assistance from the local government unit of Itogon
in the presentation of their concerns to the national government. The
Dalicno community was mobilized and it was successful in halting
ISMIs load and haul operation. The people barricaded the area where
the companys machinery was operating. In addition key individuals
from the local leadership who participated in the 1990-1993 community
discussions used information (from these discussions) plus
anthropological documents and other relevant data to argue against
the continued operations of ISMI. The community resolution did not
only state the threat to their watershed. This time the community and
the local government unit of Itogon wanted to protect their cultural
heritage.

Collapse of Tailings Dam


In 1993, the tailings dam of ISMI collapsed during the load and
haul operations and endangered the municipality of Itogon. The
predominantly Ibaloi residents of Itogon, along with the local
government representatives and the Dalicno community, joined hands
to oppose the operations of ISMI. They were successful. It was during
this time that the local government and the community inquired and
learned more about the provisions of the DENR EIS system. Those
from Itogon were also successful in upholding their rights as occupants
of the area prior to the operations of ISMI. They cited anthropological
data and other publications to back up their claim. A significant
consequence of all these collective efforts is that in mid-1994 a court
order, filed by the mining company against the people, was
withdrawn. The intense resistance of the residents of Itogon and
Dalicno attracted NGOs and other individuals from Baguio and
elsewhere. Some of these organizations even made the communitys

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efforts a cause for their own advocacy efforts against mining and
environmental degradation.

Philippine Mining Act of 1995 or RA 7942


In 1995, RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act was passed.
Upon the invitation of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau I, again,
represented the PSSC in the DENR Implementing Rules and
Regulations (IRR) Committee that reviewed the draft rules and
regulations until its approval by the Cabinet. PSSC, in turn, invited
LRC to collaborate in the lobby for more equitable provisions in the
IRR. By this time, LRC has received several requests from other NGOs
and peoples organizations (POs) from the Cordillera and Mindanao to
assist them in understanding as well as in lobbying for the IRR. LRC
was trying for some time to arrange meetings with DENR officials and
welcomed the invitation of PSSC. While working with the Committee,
both PSSC and LRC lobbied separately, vis-a-vis discussions and
position papers. During the discussions of the IRR of the Mining Act,
PSSC also facilitated the participation of representatives from POs in
Dalicno. The position paper of the Dalicno residents advocated for the
recognition of their right, their heritage and their culture as traditional
small-scale miner. They also advocated for the same rights as ancestral
landholders and requested for more genuine public information and
consultation in the provincial, municipal and community level when
there are laws, orders, etc. that will affect the traditional and/or
indigenous cultural communities concerned. As one resident claimed,
We were not informed or aware of the one held in Baguio last week.
This law will affect our livelihood and may affect our survival as
traditional small-scale miners. We need time to review this very thick
document in order for us as a community to get an idea of the
acceptability and adjustments of the proposed implementing rules and
regulations. Therefore, we are requesting for another public hearing at
the regional level (Dalicno Proper Traditional Miners Association,
1995). They participated in the public hearings, as did several other
communities and NGOs from the Cordillera.
The 1995 Mining Act has been frequently attacked. There has
also been a strong opposition to mining, especially large-scale
operations in many parts of the country. Efforts of communities like in
Dalicno have been replicated with various levels of intensity through
linkages with NGOs and other sectoral groups from communities, to
the academe in various parts of the country.

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179

Analysis and Conclusion


In this section of the paper I would like to bring together the
above data to analyze why Dalicno has been so successful in adapting
to the changing physical and socio-political environment they are
immersed in.
As noted the Dalicno community has had a long tradition of
implementing cultural mechanisms to share gold and they engage in
community projects to make life better. These are adaptive strategies
that have allowed them to maintain a stable community for many
years. These strategies influence and affect resource acquisition,
production and distribution, and involve recyling and the use of
efficient technology. What this results to then, is a community that has
a long tradition adapted to working together to solve problems and has
the potential to incorporate new ideas into their problem-solving
strategies.
Thus, they have a cultural heritage that they are able to bring
to bear in terms of how the government mining policies, laws and
internal and external events affect them.
In response to changes in their environment caused by the
development efforts of the national government, vis--vis policy and
legislation, and the commercial mines in terms of exploration and
operations, the Kankana-ey traditional small-scale miners resorted to
organized resistance as an adaptive strategy. Their mobilization was
quick and effective as they used indigenous social and political
structures already in place. This organized resistance is reinforced with
a strategy of information dissemination.
As earlier stated, applied anthropologists have, at their core,
the commitment to discover and communicate the communitys
perspective.
In order to discover, understand and communicate the
communitys perspective, knowledge and techniques relevant to a
particular setting are important. This means a methodology or
methodologies that relate information, policy, and action. These three
are related in the following way: information is obtained through
research and documentation, information is then used to formulate
policy, and policy guides action.
At the community level, a crucial strategy in this methodology
is the active participation of individuals in a given community.
Applied anthropology in development is not about getting people to
change their will - it is about working with people to facilitate the

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expression of their respective voices, to express their will. Communities


need to be informed, need to be aware and participate in the research
process.
Communities need to know how the information from research
becomes incorporated in policy, and how policies or laws affect them.
When information content is detailed and relevant to the issues,
decisions are likely to be appropriate to the ends sought or the
consequences visualized (as in policy change as affected in the
implementing rules and regulations of RA 7076 and RA 7942 or in
utilizing national policies to peacefully resist negative impacts of
development efforts of commercial firms).
As strategies, the use of information without applicable
knowledge and understanding is moot. Knowledge through
information should be communicated in a way that facilitates action for
the stakeholder, whether this be a government agency the social
science community wants to influence or lobby for social equity, or a
community threatened by loss of resources or displacement.
The strategic utilization of information is also time dependent.
If the goal is the application of information, time becomes a crucial
factor. The period from 1990 to 1993 was a stressful period for the
Dalicno community. Organized efforts of the community to rehabilitate
their area from damages incurred after the 1990 earthquake was
followed by another collective effort to seek recognition of their rights
as traditional small-scale miners with the passage of RA 7076 in 1991.
This was followed by organized resistance, first towards the diamond
drilling operation of Benguet Corporation in 1991 and, later in 1993 to
the LHD operations of ISMI. It was coincidental but timely that the
archaeological sites were discovered in the 1900s. In light of the
situation in Dalico, this information needed to be brought immediately
to the attention of Secretary Factoran, the National Museum and other
concerned sectors. The discovery of the archaeological sites served as a
justification for suspending the operations of Benguet Corporation. The
community discussions and what they learned about the EIS process
and their cultural heritage were also critical during this period.
While my goal as an applied anthropologist was for the
communitys increased awareness and knowledge of their heritage and
of laws and policies affecting them, the end result was not predicted in
terms of how the community used these information. The Dalicno
community utilized this information by incorporating it as a strategy in
their organized efforts to stop the activities of the two mining
companies. This process provided a range of alternatives to the
community that they ultimately used to solve their own problems.

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181

Perhaps, through the experiences of a community of Kankanaey small-scale miners we can also begin to reflect on the fact that, in the
Philippines and elsewhere in the world, there already exists strong
organized communities, empowered communities equipped with
adaptive strategies to survive through time management, participation
and voluntarily determination of their own place in relation to their
environment.

R e f e r e n c es
Caballero, Evelyn J. 1996. Gold from the Gods: Traditional Small-Scale
Miners from Benguet Province, Philippines. Quezon City:
Giraffe Publishers.
Quirante, Alonso Martin. 1624. Expeditions to the Mines of the
Igorrotes. In The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, vol. 51. Emma
H. Blair and James A. Robertson, eds. Cleveland.
Reynolds, William E. and Caballero E. J. 1993. An Archeological Survey
in Sitio Dalicno, Barrio Ampucao, Itogon Municipality,
Benguet Province. National Museaum of the Philippines.
Van Willigen, John. 1993. Applied Anthropology. London: Bergin &
Garvey.
Position Paper of Dalicno Proper Traditional Miners Association. May
1994.

Authors Name: EVELYN CABALLERO


Address: Institute of Philippine Culture
Department of Sociology/Anthropology
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
E-mail Address: evcab@admu.edu.ph
Telephone No.: (02) 426-1273/6067

Apfu - ab chi Chokoh : Mayoyaos Ethnomedicine in a


Changing Cultural Context
Leah Enkiwe-Abayao
This paper is entitled apfu-ab chi chokoh because the local
construction of ethnomedicine always involves invocations of various
forms. Invocations are always an important element in the local health
system, especially in the healing process. Mayoyao ethnomedicine
represents the local peoples medical knowledge and practices based
on practical knowledge and observations handed down from one
generation to another. It is therefore dynamic as it absorbs new
concepts and adapts new innovations. In this paper, I wish to present
ethnomedicine in its dynamic character instead of the usual outlook
that romanticizes it in its exotic form.
Mayoyao is one of the municipalities comprising Ifugao
province. It is located in the northernmost part of Ifugao.
Illness causation is associated with a strong belief in spiritual
causation. The determination of illness is established by careful
examination and questioning by the healers. Aside from physical
observations, divination is sometimes used by the healers to
complement other mechanisms. To the patients and healers, it is not
enough to find out what caused the illness? but also who caused the illness?
and how it was caused? This is because illness could be traced to
disharmony or conflict in the spiritual world. It is not unusual that
illness is blamed on the wrath of the spirits of the deceased relatives.
Thus good health comes down as an index of proper relationship
between people and their ancestors and the environment. Life is seen
as inseparable from religion and the preservation, restoration and
enhancement of natural environment. Healing therefore is a composite
activity.
There is a holistic concept in healing such that the healer
considers the patients mind, body and soul in the healing process.
Even the dead are implicated. The dead are perceived to be essentially
an integral part of the community. They are only gone physically but
are recognized to be participating in the lives of the living in various
forms with their intelligence, guidance and advice. This partly
explains the continuity of the elaborate funeral rites observed by the
people of Mayoyao Pfu-ar, hangcher and pfu-a are some of the funeral
practices that are observed to aid in the restoration of balance and
order.

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Ritual myths are essential components of Mayoyao


ethnomedicine. In fact, healing rites and rituals cannot function
without these being recited. Myths are narratives that explain natural
and supernatural phenomena. Ritual myths in Mayoyao include a
genealogy of healers and/or genealogy of ancestors including the
legendary ancestors. Mircea Elidea (1961 cited in Berber, 1995)
distinguishes two realms of being: the sacred and profane. The
profane involves the world of science, rationality, of empiricism, while
the sacred involves matters such as religious feeling, the irrational and
unnatural aspects of life. A realm that is numerous reveals the
existence of divine power and involves both time and space, which are
existentially sacred. Eliade further explains the relation that exists
between the sacred and myths as follows:
myths relate a sacred history, that is, primordial event that took
place in the beginning of time, ab intio. But to relate a sacred history
is equivalent to revealing a mystery. For the persons of the myth are
not human beings; they are gods and culture heroes and for this
reason, the myth, then, is what took place in illo tempore, the
recitation of the god of the semi-divine beings at the beginning of
time. To tell a myth is to proclaim what happened ab origine. Once
told, that is, revealed, the myth becomes apodictic; it establishes a
truth that is absolute (p. 148).

Thus myth explains how things got started and operates as a


model for future action. The supernatural beings contained in the
myth give examples of what is right.

Medicinal Plants
Plants certainly play a principal role in the Mayoyao
indigenous health system. They are important elements for remedies
and curing as well as healing. Holo is a common term used to refer to
the medicinal plants in Mayoyao. Medicinal plants can be classified
into two: the introduced and the indigenous.
The indigenous
medicinal plants are noted for being dispensed only by a herbalist with
proper incantations and procedures. The introduced medicinal plants
are home-based and can be dispensed by anybody without
incantations. Most of these plants act as pain relievers and remedies to
symptomatic illnesses. Despite the fact that some of these plants are
adopted from nearby communities including lowland areas, the locals
claim that these are traditional. It is because these plants have been
used and promoted in the locality for years. The indigenous health
practitioners however would know which plants are indigenous in the
locality.

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The use of herbs involves a combination of the power of the


human spirit, assistance from the gods and other unseen forces. The
effectivity of herbal plants is based not just on their pharmacological
components but more importantly on the acquired properties imparted
by the healer through incantations, invocations and rites. Thus healers
play an important role in the use of medicinal plants. Interestingly, the
methods involved in the preparation of poultices is kept a secret,
allowing no venue for cultural exchange. It thus makes the training of
new healers difficult, empirical and non-systematized.

M o n - a k h a h: T h e T r a d i t i o n a l H e a l e r s
Traditional healers in Mayoyao may specialize in a particular
healing practice but some would know two or three healing practices.
The traditional healers power is determined not by the number of
healing rites and rituals and herbs he or she knows but by the breadth
of his understanding of the natural laws affecting man and his ability
to utilize them. His functions are not limited to the diagnosis and
prescription of drugs. The healer normally provides the answers to the
adversities imposed on the community by undesirable forces (e.g. evil
spirits) that are beyond the comprehension of ordinary people. (In
general, the traditional healer is concerned with the restoration of
human vitality, wholeness and continuity.) Healing is such a religious
act and is a very important concern to the people. It is a fundamental
belief that a supreme being, deities and ancestral spirits exist. The core
element of Mayoyao indigenous religion is a religious pantheon often
recited or invoked during healing rites and rituals. This pantheon
shows how local people perceive the relationship between the natural
and the supernatural realm. The supernatural commands superiority
over the natural realm. Thus people who are directly in contact to the
natural have to forge a favorable relationship with the elements of the
natural realm in order to insure the appeasement of the supernatural
beings. The pantheon includes the following (Lambrecht: 1938:450451):
Wigan is the supreme being and the mythological ancestor. He is the
chief of all supernatural beings and other supernatural beings are
considered inferior to her. The people of Mayoyao believe Wigan and
his sister Bugan as their direct ancestors. The other supernatural
beings are the following: 1) Aninito ad Chalom a female deity of the
underworld or goddess of the earthquake and hell; 2) Aninito ad
Angachar a male deity of the skyworld or the god of lightning,
thunder and heaven; 3) Mapatar a male sun deity who kills people
stealing the neighbors chicken; he also bring misfortunes to the
guilty and is known to cause general body ailments; 4) Lingan ad
Ampfullan a female moon deity, the wife of Mapatar. This deity is

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185

believed to help people who are jobless. She is said to use the fog to
cover the eyes and mouth of a person. She causes mental illness; 5)
Milalaphih a constellation deity or gods of the stars and the milky
way responsible for causing ailments to people who despise the
gods. This deity causes mental illness; 6) Aphat the deity of the
wild animals in the forest like deer, boar, birds, etc. This god also
helps women in the cultivation of sweet potatoes, monggo, corn, and
other crops grown in the swiddens; 7) Umichaw the deity of war
who is responsible for the victory or defeat of people in times of
strife. He also helps the hunter in his search for deer and wild
berries; 8) Pfunpfunih the god of the farming system. He is
responsible for the staple food of the people; 9) Namajang the
creator god who made the people, plants, and animals on earth. He
is given the least sacrifice because he stands neutral on human
affairs; 10) Penachang fairy deity; and 11) Chumatong the evil spirit
likened to Satan. He steals the soul of a person in the night. He may
come in the form of a ferocious black dog that hunts for human souls.

The Monakhah and health care practitioners have their own


specialization in the different aspects of health problems concerning
the eyes, skin, bones, veins, internal organs, genital organs, and
childbirth among others. Healing of special cases of socio-culturally
defined illnesses entails the performance of rituals or healing rites.
Rituals are the primary component of the healing process.
Furthermore, the rituals often include the recitation of ritual myths
which may also involve going into a trance, and the use of
paraphernalia. The rituals are offered to the specific deity, ancestor or
spirit who caused the illness. Each ritual is designed for a specific
illness. Indigenous healers however, may be experts of more than two
ritual myths and consequently are able to perform two healing rituals.
The ritual myths contain an elaboration of how the illness originated,
why it was inflicted, and conditions of the social as well as
environmental resources of the people to their fellow citizens and to
their environment. These myths are kept sacred by the indigenous
healers and they are passed on through rigorous training and personal
achievement. Informants say that the gifted are given the opportunity
to learn and practice the healing rituals.
The concept of health, illness and health care is grounded on
the peoples belief system as well as their concept of ecological
conservation. Ancestors and deities were conceived to cause illnesses
when people disturb the order of the ecosystem and the supernatural
realm. Thus people still talk of omchon chi pinuchu (forest).
omchon chi pajaw (ricefield), a belief that when ricefields are left
uncultivated, whether cleaned or maintained, this act will cause illness.
Healing rites and rituals are performed to bring back the order of the

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Mayoyaos Ethnomedicine

distorted ecosystem and consequently please the supernatural beings.


Thus, the offerings in the form of sacrificial animals are presented to
appease the supernatural beings.
In the early years of American colonization in the Old Mt.
Province, both officials and missionaries sought to convince the people
of the modern medical health system. Among others, they distributed
medicines, established hospitals, sent promising young people to
Manila to be trained as doctors or nurses, or were given courses on
Practicanties (medical orderlies) and sanitary inspectors, and
introduced hygiene as a school subject. Relatedly, the account of
Lambretch (1955) shows that the people of Mayoyao had become
convinced then of using modern medicines to cure illnesses, especially
the injection to cure malaria and dysentery. However, he pointed out
that the performance of healing rituals had not changed.
It is also interesting to note that the revival of missionary work
in the old Mt. Province during the American period paved the way for
the gradual introduction of the modern health system. Keesing and
Keesing (1934) mentioned that most of the missionaries were well
educated and had special qualifications for medical and educational
work. However, while the missionaries had a number of converts
which they used as models to get more people converted to
Christianity, it has been noted that most communities in the old Mt.
Province especially Bontoc, Kalinga, Apayao and Ifugao still adhere to
in their indigenous religion.
The indigenous beliefs and practices on health started to
change significantly in the early 1950s when the people of Mayoyao
were exposed to western medicine introduced by the Belgian
Missionaries. Their efforts were influential to the local health system.
New forms of sanitation measures were introduced during the
American occupation. These were frequent bathing, the application of
western medications such as skin ointment and medicated soap and
fencing off domesticated swine. These became an important solution
to their problem of skin ailments. Skin ailments used to be attended to
only when these had developed into serious skin problems. Lambrecht
(1955) noted the indifference of the people of Mayoyao to modern
medicine and religious beliefs during his early stay in Mayoyao. It
took sometime before the people of Mayoyao tried some of the
medicine and it took some time before they were convinced of its
healing efficacy. When the people were satisfied with the medicine for
malaria and dysentery, they also wanted to try other medicines. One
informant still remembered his mother who went to ask for medicine
for skin diseases because she heard about a neighbor who applied the

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187

ointment and used soap for bathing. The Belgian priest did not give
medicine but asked the patient to go to the convent for medical
attention. The priest could have intentionally done this to make sure
that the medicine was properly applied by the medical assistants. The
people tried more and more medicines until they were already
convinced of the curative mon-akhah (a healer). In the process, the
people adopted the sanitary measures introduced by the priests. Thus,
people especially kids had to take a bath more regularly. Nevertheless,
the people never completely abandoned the performance of rituals nor
did they stop practicing and believing in their own traditional way of
healing. Lambrecht, (1955) also noted this in his research. It also took a
long period until the beliefs and practices gradually declined and some
naturally died out. It was apparent however that they were open to
incorporating modern healing practices.
The introduction of a foreign culture including a new
paradigm of health is seen as a very crucial social input to the local
indigenous health system. The introduction of the Roman Catholic
religion for instance reoriented the value system and the local
ideological perspective, which is the base of the indigenous health
system. Given this reorientation, later health systems changed.

Chokhoh: The Local Construction of Illness


The indigenous term chokhoh (illness) has changed in meaning
but only to accommodate western-constructed diseases such as ulcer,
hypertension, kidney trouble, urinary tract infection, cancer and others.
As their concept of chokoh changed, so did their concept of akhah. While
akhah was used a long time ago to refer to indigenous curing, use of the
term has now been extended to cover modern medicines. An ill person
is referred to as monchokoh and the act to seek the help of the
professional and or indigenous healer is referred to as monpa-akhah.
The role of kinsmen in health care and healing practices has
diminished. This could be traced to a long process of exposure to the
mainstream westernized culture developed in education and for
migration to urban centers. A large number of people with higher
educational attainment have migrated to the urbanized areas to seek
jobs. This pattern makes information regarding experiences on health
problems from kinsmen inaccessible. People now seek assistance from
the nearby hospital or health centers.
There are illnesses that informants say were not present in the
past but are now afflicting them. Malaria was experienced by the
people in the late 50s when Mayoyaos were engaged in seasonal
migration to the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela. Seasonal

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Mayoyaos Ethnomedicine

migration was seen as a source of livelihood from which they could


work in farms and in construction sites in the lowlands. In the early
90s, cancer, ulcer, hypertension were identified by informants as
among the new health problems. The leading causes of mortality as
well as morbidity was bronchopneumonia, acute bronchitis, and
malaria (Mayoyao District Hospital Statistical Reports, 1990-1992).
This traditional concept of illness changed basically because of
the shift in the ideological attributes of illness. This shift is primarily
set forth by the introduction of foreign religions and western education
through time. My informants say that many people have been
converted to the different religious sects in the community and no
longer believe in the powers of the supernatural beings especially
ancestor worship. The introduction of formal education has also
reoriented the worldview of the people in the sense that concerns have
been directed to the rational explanation of the cause of the illness and
its consequent curing mechanisms.
The rational basis became
biological or scientific as taught in part by the educational curriculum
and as experienced by the people in the process of going through the
formal education system of the national government. The indigenous
practice of deliberate form of illness causation in the form of sorcery
and witchcraft has long been discarded. However, some informants
claim that there are still sorcerers who do not want to be identified or
recognized.

Health Care Beliefs and Practices


The indigenous view of attributing health care and healing to
the ancestors has changed gradually. Bathing with the use of loglog
(clay), and observing taboos such as keeping specific areas (ancestral
graves, houses of the deceased practitioners of heblot) sacred, is no
longer practiced. Children are no longer fed by ehpaan (mouth to
mouth practice with pre-masticated food). Accordingly, this practice of
ehpaan lasted until the late 1950s when the people learned the cooking
of lugaw (rice porridge) from the lowland traders. Today, there are
only few families who can afford to mix breast feeding with bottle
feeding using commercial babys milk. Bottle feeding can now be
prolonged and can be used to substitute for lugaw. Many mothers,
especially government employees, nowadays practice bottle feeding
more than breast feeding because they usually leave their babies under
the care of a takhala (maid/helper).

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A significant change in the practice of health care is noted in


the peoples diet. My informants recount the practice of ehpaan that
changed when the people of Mayoyao learned how to make inlugaw
or lugaw from their lowland trade partners. They also mentioned
that beginning in the late eighties, a lot of edible plants were no longer
abundant. Among these are indigenous fruits such as the following:
pfunog, pfulon, pfugtayyun, pfinor, atu-ang, unah, ampao, pfittukhan,
peppenet, pfittukhan, pfinnulu, pfugnay, pfallangpfang; indigenous
vegetables such as papao, umi, onchoy, pekhoy, porcha, and food from
game animals such as iju-an (source of honey), allakha (red ants),
khidkhija (dark brown beetle), lomeng (mushroom variety), oong
(mushroom variety). One of my informants once told me that these
traditional foods have natural ingredients, and they do not pose dietary
problems to users. People nowadays are not conscious of these plants.
In an interview with Lakay Mainggang of Guinihon Ifugao, I learned
about these interesting insights on the relationship of diet and illness:

Q. Anakha kaykhu ta ollom un hini chokoh hetod Majawjaw ja me-alah


ayni khun cha anum?
(What makes you say that in Mayoyao, illnesses are drawn from the
changes in the food intake?)
A.Gapo ta hini khun cha anun an khun magninaan ja choor chi
nidnidchum an achi me-annong hi ay tay achor. Omat ay hayhana pee-we
ja corn bits an penpenhod chi ungah. Maphod heto tao ja hemot ngem achih
heto unig chi achor. Choor chi nidchum an bitchin ja ahin agkhuy pay
inilah nu maleneh hini enat chan nagngephod.
(It is because those foods that they eat are processed with foreign
ingredients that give a very good taste but are very incompatible to
the internal system of the body. Just like the pee-wee and the corn
bits that are highly liked by the kids, they may have very good taste
but they bring bad effects to the internal parts of the body. The
ingredients such as vetsin are harmful and we dont even know if
they processed it clean.

A decrease in the supply of indigenous fruits, vegetables, game


animals and fishes could be traced to the changes in the forest that
provides for ecological balance. It is interesting to note that the late
eighties was also the period when excessive cutting of trees was
experienced in the community. This is due to failure of the generation
to continue with the practice of indigenous forest conservation
especially in transplanting tree seedlings for every tree that was cut.
The forest provided for an environment where forest products would

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Mayoyaos Ethnomedicine

grow and for a watershed critical to the rice fields, rivers and creeks
where the marine food was taken. This environment change also
prompted the decrease in the medical herbs.
The elders also mentioned about the negative effects of the
changes in the peoples intake of alcohol that has affected the health
conditions of people mostly with ages thirty-five and above. This
condition may also explain the fact that very few people reach the age
of fifty. An informant claimed that the life expectancy rate is very low.
In the traditional society, the social and cultural meaning of the practice
of ricewine (pfupfud) drinking changed with the introduction of
commercial liquor such as Ginebra San Miguel and San Miguel
Beer. In the past, households normally make their own ricewine as a
necessary drink during occasions such as rituals. Elders say that
ricewine drinking facilitated social interaction and elderly discussions.
It is a traditional practice that young men were not allowed to drink
wine. Even the ancestors are also given a share of the wine. It was
never meant to make people drunk. Nowadays, commercial liquor
could be easily bought from the sari-sari stores in the community and
anybody including the young generation can just buy these drinks.
Furthermore, drinking sessions do not necessarily provide venues for
productive social interaction. Besides, these really make people drunk
and often cause social disturbance in the community.

The Healing Rituals


The healing ritual honga began to decline in practice.
According to one of my informants, the decline could be traced to the
increased evangelizing activities of the different sects such as the
Pentecost, the Espiritista and the Born Again. My informant remembers
what used to be emphasized by these religious sects, people were
taught that ancestor worship was contrary to the teachings of God the
savior of mankind. The early 1980s also marked the declined in the
number of mumpfunih who performs the honga healing rites. An
informant recalls that there were only two practitioners in 1994 and
they were even afflicted with old age illnesses such as hearing
problems, memory loss, etc. It is also my observation that people may
have gradually stopped practicing the honga because it entails
butchering an unlimited number of pigs and chicken. Thus only those
who can really afford to buy the pigs and chicken can perform the said
healing ritual. It is my observation that people have developed an
alternative to honga. This is the practice of Devotion especially
among families in the poblacion area and suburbs. On this occasion,
they ask a religious priest or pastor to say or lead a prayer and/or
singing of religious songs. This involves the butchering of at least a

Enkiw e-Abayao

191

number of chicken or pigs served in a meal for all those who have
attended. There were cases where they invited the mumpfunih but only
to say a very short prayer and to interpret the bile of the butchered
animal.

The Institutionalization of the Professional Sector


It was the Belgian Missionaries in the early 1950s who first
introduced modern medicine in Mayoyao (Pinon: Acta Manilana) and
Lambrecht (1950). The informants also remember Father Lambrechts
teachings of cleanliness. Accordingly, he emphasized that keeping a
clean body will reduce cases of illnesses. And he made a point that
they practice this after they seek help from him especially on skin
diseases.
Beginning 1974, the professional sector was mainly composed
of the personnel at the Mayoyao District Hospital (MDH) and those at
the Rural Health Unit (RHU). Both institutions were under the
structural supervision of the Department of Health (DOH) of the
Philippine government and under the financial assistance of the Local
Government. The MDH was built in 1962 at Acacoy and was known as
the Jaycee-Care Hospital. Its operation was later transferred to the old
barracks building since this was more spacious. In 1996, when the
construction of a new and more spacious building at its old site at
Acacoy was finished, it was again transferred there. It continues its
operation up to the present. This hospital does not only offer its
services to the people of Mayoyao but also to the people of Aguinaldo,
the nearby municipality which was once a part of Mayoyao, and those
who do not have any hospital in their vicinity.
The institutionalization of the Professional Health Sector
offered a different perspective of looking at healing. Households that
are accessible to the hospital and are financially capable will tend to
seek the services offered by the medical professionals on any illness
experienced which they cannot cure with medications at the household
level. But in cases where the patient has not been cured at the hospital,
they will either refer the patient to other hospitals such as the
Provincial Hospital at Lagawe, Ifugao, or they seek the help of the
indigenous healers.

Religion and Ideological Change


In a study about religion of Tikopian society, Firth (1959)
pointed out some of the effects of western influences. He mentioned
that Christian Missionaries have succeeded in eliminating the

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Mayoyaos Ethnomedicine

traditional population control devices such as abortion, infanticide and


male celibacy. In the case of Mayoyao, the introduction of various
religious groups in the community led to the decline of the practice of
healing rituals and other health beliefs and practices. The introduction
of the Roman Catholic religion to Mayoyao gave birth to a new
perspective about the concept of illness and eventually to the concept
of health care and healing beliefs practices. The Belgian Missionaries
carried with them their western idea of healing and medicine. The
people were taught that illness was not being caused by the
supernatural beings but mostly by unsanitary practices and that
western medicine can easily heal in comparison to healing rituals and
herbs. Through time, the Roman Catholic religion was a factor in the
decreasing practice of healing rituals. Many have been converted to
this religion and their faith in the supernatural beingGod is not
complementary to the belief in traditional ritual requirements.
However, the introduction of another religious sect in the
community did not have the same effect as that of the Catholic religion.
This is the case of the Espiritista group. Through time, this group
exerted efforts to revitalize or restore the indigenous health system
because they frown on members who subscribe to western
medications. Instead, they encourage the use of herbs and of tranceprayers. This effect may only be an unintended consequence but its
sociocultural implication is considerable as their converts move away
from modern medicine. Thus, while the Roman Catholic religion
impedes traditional healing, the Spiritista does otherwise. The other
religious sects such as the United Church of Christ in the Philippines
(UCCP), Evangelicals, Free Believers are directly discouraging the
practice of indigenous healing because theoretically they deny any
value in the traditional practices. The Evangelical sect is the nonpoblacion counterpart of the UCCP pastors in Mayoyao. The Free
Believers are protestants who claim to have been born again because
they are baptized again under a different pastor.
Commercialization in Mayoyao has also brought changes in
the condition of their forest reserves, whether this be acha (communal)
or pinuchu (private). It resulted to extensive cutting of trees inclusive of
trees found to be medicinal such as the pallay.
In effect,
commercialization led to the decrease in the communitys herbal
resources. The cutting of trees was not only for a households firewood
needs but more for logs used for modern house construction in and
outside the community. This could also be related to the increase in the
human population and the increasing production of commercial
swine as a source of income. Swine is in high demand in the
community since these are needed during occasions such as burial

Enkiw e-Abayao

193

rituals, healing rituals (honga), marriage, religious devotions and


community celebrations. The locals need wood to construct pigpens
and to cook the food of the swine. In effect, commercialization
provided venues for easier access to cash, which in turn facilitated the
access to western medicines.
Through time, this pattern was
strengthened by the changes in the communitys ideological sphere
discussed earlier. The changes in the ideological sphere was basically
affected by the introduction of religion and education which was
foreign to the community, but gradually accepted by the community.
Ethnomedicine consists of dynamic systems that change
through time under various circumstances. There are three important
points that characterize Mayoyaos ethnomedicine as a dynamic
institution:
1.

There were changes that occurred as a product of the


gradual processes of diffusion, acculturation and
assimilation.

2.

The borrowing of other health beliefs and practices were


not limited to modern medicine. It also includes local
health practices from neighboring towns such as Banaue
and Natonin, Cambulo and lowland communities.

3.

The people are selective borrowers of health care beliefs


and practices from their neighbors and trade partners.
They adopted into their health care system those that they
found beneficial.

Healing References
A simple survey I conducted in 1998 looked into the
preferences of household heads on the type of healing sought when an
illness is experienced.
I grouped the type of illness to cover
symptomatic illness, muscular and skeletal illnesses, skin illnesses and
other illnesses (to cover ulcer, kidney trouble, hypertension).
The results show that indigenous healing is preferred in the
non-poblacion areas for all the illness groupings except for the
grouping on other illness. In the poblacion areas, preference for
combined (indigenous and modern) is also evident for skin and
muscular-skeletal illnesses. The tables are shown in the succeeding
pages.

194

Mayoyaos Ethnomedicine

Table 1. Type of Healing sought when household heads experience symptomatic


illnesses in non-poblacion and poblacion areas.

Type of healing sought in experience


symptomatic illness
Indigenous healing
Combined (Indigenous & modern)
Modern healing
TOTAL

Non- Poblacion
Areas
Percentage

Poblacion Areas

50.7
28.4
20.9
100 (n=67)

1.8
35.7
62.5
100 (n=56)

Percentage

Table 2. Type of Healing sought when household heads experience skin illnesses
in non-poblacion and poblacion areas.

Type of healing sought in experience


symptomatic illness
Indigenous healing
Combined (Indigenous & modern)
Modern healing
Did not experience
TOTAL

Non- Poblacion
Areas
Percentage

Poblacion Areas

26.9
9.0
1.5
62.7
100 (n=67)

21.4
23.2
9.6
35.7
100 (n=56)

Percentage

Table 3. Type of Healing sought when household heads experience muscular and
skeletal illnesses in non-poblacion and poblacion areas.

Type of healing sought in experience


symptomatic illness
Indigenous healing
Combined (Indigenous & modern)
Modern healing
Did not experience
TOTAL

Non- Poblacion
Areas
Percentage

Poblacion Areas

22.4
11.9
1.5
64.2
100 (n=67)

14.3
14.3
12.5
58.9
100 (n=56)

Percentage

Enkiw e-Abayao

195

Table 4 . Type of Healing sought when household heads experience other illnesses
(ulcer, kidney trouble, hypertension) in non-poblacion and poblacion
areas.

Type of healing sought in


experience symptomatic illness
Indigenous healing
Combined (Indigenous & modern)
Modern healing
Did not experience
TOTAL

Non- Poblacion
Areas
Percentage

Poblacion Areas

4.5
35.8
9.0
50.7
100 (n=67)

7.1
14.3
26.8
51.8
100 (n=56)

Percentage

References
Barton, Roy Franklin. 1943. The Religion of the Ifugaos. American
Anthropologist New Series Vol. 48 No. 4 Oct
________. 1930. The Halfway Sun: Life Among the Headhunters of the
Philippines. Brewer and Warren Inc., New York.
________. 1940. Myths and Their Use in Ifugao in Philippine Magazine,
Vol. 37 No. 389, September.
Berger, Arthur Asa. 1995. Cultural Criticism. Foundation of Popular
Culture, Vol. 4 . USA: Sage Publications.
Conklin, Harold. Ifugao Ethnobotany, 1905-1965. 1979. In Studies in
Philippine Anthropology. Alemar Phoenix Press.
De Raedt, Jules. 1964. Religious Representations I Northern Luzon,
Saint Louis Quarterly, Vol. 2 No. 3, September.
Dunn, Frederich. 1979. Traditional Asian Medicine and Cosmopolitan
Medicine as Adoptive Systems in Asian Medical System: A
comparative study by Charles Leslie.
Ember, Carol and Ember, Mervin. Anthropolgy. 1988. USA: Prentice
Hall.

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Fox, Richard. Ed. 1991. Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the


Present. School of American Research Press, USA.
Gaioni, Dominic. A Structural-Ideational and Interactional Analysis
of the Indigenous Health Care Systems in the Mt. Province. A
paper presented during the 1996 Anthropological Conference.
Harris,, Marvin. 1968. The Rise of Anthropological Theory. Thomas Y.
USA: Cromwell Company, Inc.
Harvey, Lee. 1990. Critical Social Research: Contemporary Social
Research. Unwin Hyman Ltd., London United Kingdom.
Jenista, Frank Lawrence. 1987. The White Apos: American Governors
in the Cordillera Central. New Day Publishers, Quezon City.
Jocano F. Landa. 1973. Folk Medicine in a Filipino Municiplaity.
Manila: National Museum Publications.
Kaplan, David and Manners, Robert. 1972. Culture Theory: Foundation
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Klein, Norman. 1979. Culture, Curers and Contagion: Readings for
Medical Science. Chandler and Sharp Publishers, Inc.
Kleinman, Arthur. 1980. Patients and Healers in the Context of
Cultures: An Exploration of the Borderland Between
Anthropology, Medicine and Psychiatry. London: University
of California Press.
Konen, Norber. 1986. Igorot Tradition Way of Life and Healing Among
the Philippine Mountain Tribes. West Germany: SDK.
Kottak, Conrad Phillip. 1991. Anthropology: The Exploration of
Human Diversity. USA: McGraw Hill, Inc.
Lambrecht, Francis. 1955. Mayawyaw Rituals. Journal of East Asiatic
Studies (14:4).
Landy, David, ed. 1977. Culture, Disease and Healing: Studies in
Medical Anthropology. USA: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.
Levis, Strauss, Claude. 1963. Structural Anthropology. USA: New York
Books, Inc. Publishers.
Loofs, Helmut H.E. 1979. The First Medicine of the People of
Mayoyao. In Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society (3:4).
McElro, Ann. 1985. Medical Anthropology in Ecological Perspective.
London: Westview Press.

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197

Mead, Margaret, ed. 1955. Cultural Patterns and Technical Change. The
New American Library.
Pion, Antonio, translator. 1966. Mayoyao in 1950. In ACTA
Manilana.

Authors Name: LEAH ABAYAO-ENKIWE


Address: Division of Social Sciences
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Telephone No.: (074) 442-2427
Fax: (074) 442-2427/442-3888

From Artifact to Art:


Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera
Delfin Tolentino, Jr.
This paper is an offshoot of a research project involving a
preliminary bibliographic survey of studies on the material culture of
the different ethnolinguistic groups in the Cordillera. By material
culture, I refer to the artifactual representations of the beliefs,
knowledge, traditions, and values shared by a distinct ethnolinguistic
group. In this sense, material culture may be said to consist of objects
potteries, utilitarian vessels, agricultural tools, ceremonial items,
musical instruments, and the likethat serve as tangible signifiers of
ethnic identity. The bibliographic survey that I conducted was meant to
examine the scope of scholarship on Cordillera material culture, to
describe and evaluate the available materials, and to identify areas of
research that can be pursued by future studies. The survey was
prompted by the initial observation, admittedly not adequately
validated at the time, that the material culture of the Northern Luzon
highlands had received limited treatment compared to the attention
given to other aspects of Cordillera societies such as social practices
and political institutions.
In retrospect it can be said that this earlier study was conceived
in a state of blissful innocence. After all, its principal intention was to
construct a bibliographic tool that researchers could use in pursuing
Cordillera studies. Clearly, it was not a research project propelled by a
contentious issue. However, as I reviewed the more important works
on the subject, from ethnographies written during the early American
period (e.g., Albert Ernest Jenks book on the Bontoc and Fay-Cooper
Coles studies on the Tingguian) to more recent works (e.g., the hefty
coffee table books Sinaunang Habi and Form and Splendor), it dawned on
me that my project could no longer be just another exercise in
bibliographic research, that it had in fact begun to spawn another
research assignment that would require me to take a closer look at the
ideological underpinnings of the texts I had assembled. What became
clear to me, as I perused the books and articles I had gathered, is this:
that over time there has been a significant change in the textual reconstruction of Cordillera material culture, and this change involves a
new perception and a shift in emphasis, as cultural objects previously
treated as artifacts of a barbaric culture are reconfigured as objects of
art fit for display in civilized places.

Tolentino

199

In this paper I will discuss the representation of the material


culture of the Cordillera in selected texts, which include 19th-century
European travel writing, colonial ethnographies, and contemporary
accounts. My intention is not to provide a comprehensive or general
narrative but to trace the evolution of a particular perspective that
culminates in the elevation of certain items of Cordillera material
culture from artifact to art.

P r e - 2 0 tt hh - C e n t u r y E u r o p e a n A c c o u n t s
In the early 17th century a group of Jesuits issued a statement in
which they described The Igorots living in the mountain ranges of
Luzon [as] highwaymen, murderers, and men who make little use of
their native intellect, and. [possessing] other characteristics totally
barbarian and, indeed, contrary to the natural light. 1 This
description of the natives of the Cordillera as savage and irrational may
be regarded as a typical Eurocentric statement, and its variations may
be found in countless colonial documents whose ultimate objective was
to project the barbarism of native societies and thus to justify their
conquest by the agents of civilization.
Given this thrust of colonial tracts, it is not surprising that very
little attention was given to Cordillera material culture in Spanish
colonial documents, which concentrated on the depiction of the
natives peculiar habits and customs in order to highlight their
inferiority or viciousness. Such is what we find in Sinibaldo de Mas
Informe sobre el Estado de las Islas Filipinas en 1842 in which he devoted a
brief section on pagan Filipinos, 2 with cursory notes on their grimy
hovels and scanty clothes. Even a comprehensive work such as the late
18 th-century compendium Notices of the Pagan Igorots in the Interior of the
Island of Manila,3 consisting of manuscripts and documents written or
compiled by the Dominican historian Fr. Francisco Antolinhad little
interest in material culture to show, providing only a few token
references to metal implements, items of clothing, and instruments of
warfare.
For more substantial accounts of Cordillera material culture we
have to turn to Carl Semper, Hans Meyer, and Alexander Schadenberg,
1

Opinion Signed by Eight Fathers of the Society of Jesus about the Pacification of the
Igorots and Their Mines, in Fr. Francisco Antolin, O.P., Notices of the Pagan Igorots in the
Interior of the Island of Manila , trans. William Henry Scott (Manila: University of Sto. Tomas
Press, 1988), 137.
2
See Pagans, in William Henry Scott, ed., German Travelers on the Cordillera
(Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild, 1975), 1-16.
3
See footnote 1.

200

Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera

German travelers who conducted scientific expeditions in the


Cordillera in the 19th century, whose reports, subsequently published
in European journals, went beyond amateur curiosity and the usual
boundaries of travel writing.4 Spurred by academic interest and
unencumbered by missionary or military motives, Semper, Meyer, and
Schadenberg sought to identify and describe the various objects and
activities that they saw and observed during their visits. Their scientific
inclinations dictated the tenor of their reports, which provided details
completely ignored in prior accounts. For example, in Trip Through
the Northern Provinces of the Island of Luzon Semper took notice of
various features of clothing and ornamentation among the natives he
observed in Benguet, and also gave a sketch of house construction in
the area. In A Trip to the Igorots in the Interior Meyer, on the other
hand, gave a description of the brass and bead ornaments, hats and
rain capes, blankets, skirts, spears and shields of the Guinaang
(Kalinga) at the time of his visit.
For a clearer idea of the big leap in the representation of
Cordillera material culture which is embodied in these European
accounts, we have to consider another work of Meyer, The Igorots,
and Schadenbergs several articles which collectively provide a general
report on the peoples of the Cordillera. In terms of its organization
Meyers work has all the appearances of a systematic treatise,
prefiguring the form of later ethnographic writing. Various aspects of
Cordillera society are treated in separate sections, with meticulous
attention given to elements of material culture. In his discussion of the
clothing of the natives of Lepanto and Benguet Meyer, for instance,
gives us a full account, identifying each item of apparel, naming its
function, material, design, color, and size, and describing how it is
worn. This approach is followed in the discussion of weapons, house
construction and furnishings, and household items. The section on
tools and utensils is particularly significant because this represents
what is perhaps the earliest thorough accounting of utilitarian objects
in the Cordillera household. It is, by all means, a valuable inventory,
adequate in its description of items and commendable for identifying
the objects by their native termsMeyer, for example, does not simply
use a generic western term for native wooden spoons but carefully
notes that they are called saklung in Benguet, idos or bakong in Lepanto,
the latter being bigger than the idos and saklung. This kind of
meticulous attention to detail is carried further in Schadenbergs
comprehensive reports where his descriptive powers are evident.
4

These accounts have been translated into English and put together in one volume by
Scott, op. cit. All references to the German accounts are from this edition.

Tolentino

201

Citing a girdle worn by Guinaang women under their tapis,


Schadenberg carefully notes that it is composed of about 30 separate
plaits of palm-bast fastened together in front and behind with
bejuco. Calling attention to a native harp, he describes it as a piece of
bamboo some 50-60 cm. long, closed on both ends by the nodes,
beyond which about a hands-breadth of wood protrudes. Several
longitudinal strips about 1 mm. wide are cut loose from the surface and
held up by bridges; in the middle there is a sound-hole. Figures and
measurements play a prominent role in Schadenbergs writings,
attesting to his penchant for accuracy.
As scientists, these German travelers paid special attention to
objectsmute testaments of culturewhich they could describe with a
relatively high degree of reliability and impartiality, unlike social
practices, political institutions, and religious beliefs which they could
access only through the subjective mediation of informants and
interpreters.5
Nevertheless, certain subjectivities did manage to
infiltrate their otherwise systematic descriptions of the material culture
of the Cordillera. Meyer could not contain his admiration for the
beauty of native artifacts like the figural spoons, tobacco pipes, and
body ornaments, and for the skill evident in the manufacture of baskets
and wooden carvings. When he likens native representations of the
human figures to the figural sculpture of the Dayak of Borneo, Meyer
indirectly invests these local artifacts with the attributes of art.
Surprisingly, although these objects of his admiration are discussed
under a heading which includes the word art, not once is this word
used in the text to refer to the objects in question, with Meyer simply
acknowledging them as marks of artistic sense. Like Meyer,
Schadenberg was full of admiration for the craftsmanship evident in
the natives wooden carvings, articles of furniture, utilitarian vessels,
and basketry. Unlike Meyer, he was more forthright in categorizing
them as artistic products. Both, however, were one in lamenting
what they perceived as a rapid deterioration in form and design,
leading them to conclude that the artifacts they saw and so greatly
admired were, in fact, already the remnants of a dying industry or
culture.

American Colonial Ethnographies


The works of Meyer and Schadenberg may be said to have
anticipated the colonial ethnographies produced during the early part
of American rule in the Philippines. One of the first projects of the

Scott, xv.

202

Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera

American colonial government, obviously done to facilitate the


pacification of local populations, was the conduct of an ethnological
survey of the various ethnic groups in the country. A significant output
of this survey was the volume produced by Albert Ernest Jenks on the
Bontoc Igorot,6 based on research done in 1903.
Jenks work clearly surpasses its predecessors in breadth and
scope. The social, economic, political, aesthetic, religious, and mental
aspects of Bontoc life are delineated one by one, supported by a
plenitude of information that could only have been generated by a
rigorously conducted comprehensive inquiry. In terms of its depiction
of the material culture of the Bontoc, Jenks work definitely constitutes
a significant contribution. His description of the afong, Bontoc
dwellings, is a mine of information on indigenous architecture. Equally
informative are his discussions of clothing, wooden and metal
implements and utensils, pottery, basketwork, and weapons. The
objects are not only described; detailed notes on their manufacture and
use, and on the customary practices associated with them, are also
provided. The methodical approach is further reinforced by a
consistent attempt to classify the objects according to medium or
function. In these respects, Jenks account approximates the scientific
direction of the earlier European ethnographies. There is also an
apparent attempt to sustain an impartial voice, with Jenks hardly
commenting on the objects described. If a stray comment is detected, it
usually has to do with the crudeness of the objects referred to, as when
Jenks comments in passing on the general quality of Bontoc basketry
and metalwork. Unlike Meyer and Schadenberg, Jenks saw little reason
to praise the objects crafted by the Bontoc, arguing that the Igorot has
almost nothing in his culture for purely aesthetic purposes. It is no
surprise, then, that in the chapter on the aesthetic life of the Bontoc,
personal adornments (such as the fi-kum, mother-of-pearl shell disks)
are the only objects that Jenks would bother to discuss.
Similar in purpose and orientation, and equally admirable in
its comprehensiveness, is Fay-Cooper Coles work on another
Cordillera group, the Tingguian.7 Here, various aspects of Tingguian
material culture are discussed in connection with specific activities.
Thus, knives, head-axes, spears, and shields are discussed in the
section on warfare; chicken and bird snares, blowguns, fish traps, and
eel baskets in the section on hunting and fishing; and agricultural
implements in the section on farming. A chapter on Products of
6

The Bontoc Igorot (Manila: Bureau of Public Printing, 1905).


The Tinguian: Social, Religious and Economic Life of a Philippine Tribe (Chicago:
Field Museum of Natural History, 1922).
7

Tolentino

203

Industry includes a discussion of the tools, implements, and materials


connected to ironwork, weaving, and the manufacture of rope and
string, bark cloth, baskets, mats, nets, pottery, and tobacco pipes.
The chapter on Decorative Art is obviously the most
pertinent to the present discussion. Cole declares that compared to the
Bontoc and Ifugao, the Tingguian is deficient or lacking: he does no
wood carving, tattooing is scanty, while his basket work is plain. He
does call attention to the designs and motifs incised on various objects
used by the Tingguian, such as jars, bamboo containers, pipes, and
walking sticks, but quickly qualifies that generally ornamentation is
uncommon and of minor importance. The only place, he says, where
ornamentation plays a significant role is in weaving, and he provides a
sketchy but nevertheless instructive account of the various patterns
and motifs integrated into the textiles woven by the natives of Abra.
From the 19th-century European accounts to the early 20thcentury ethnographies produced by the Americans, what we see then is
an effort to comprehend the material culture of the Cordillera through
a descriptive and analytical inventory of the various objects implicated
in the other aspects of native culture and inextricably connected to the
natives utilitarian values. The craftsmanship involved in the
manufacture of many of these objects is recognized, as are the formal
and design elements found in some of them. This recognition,
however, is not enough to compel the early ethnographers to regard
the artifacts as anything other than what they are. In other words, there
is an obvious reticence on their part to consider these artifacts as objects
of art.

Contemporary Developments
The outright reference to Cordillera artifacts as art objects was
to come later, when the category of primitive art became firmly
established, first in the West and later in the Philippines. To
understand this movement from artifact to art, several developments in
the international art scene must be cited.
In 1907 Picasso, then already a leading light in the modern art
movement, discovered African art at the Trocadero Museum in Paris.
Thereafter, there was, as many art historians have noted, a perceptible
change in Picassos art, with elements of African tribal sculpture
influencing his experiments in Cubism. Other European modernist
painters soon followed suit, acknowledging what they considered as
the invigorating effect on their works of the nave or the primal in tribal

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Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera

artifacts.8 It was not difficult after this for Westerners to start looking at
objects coming from non-Western societies as art works in a different
mode. And with this change in perception, non-Western artifacts
assumed a new ontological status. Previously exhibited in museums of
natural history where they were presented as curiosities coming
from uncivilized societies, they moved on to art museums where they
were often de-contextualized, their artistic integrity highlighted so they
could be properly appreciated by a discerning public. Because they
operate on the basis of a different aesthetic, they had to be given a new
name, hence, the appearance of the new category of primitive art.
Specialized museums of primitive art were then established. The
Museum of Primitive Art in New York opened in 1957, and in 1982 one
of the greatest art museums in the world, the New York Metropolitan
Museum, opened its Michael C. Rockefeller Wing of Primitive Art.9
These developments have to be cited because what I have
already suggested as a significant change in the treatment of Cordillera
material culture in contemporary accounts is but a reflection of the
change in perception indicated by these developments elsewhere in the
world. Beginning in the 1970s, there has been an increasing number of
works on the material culture of the Cordillera. Contemporary
ethnographies have largely sustained the mode or pattern of discussion
established by earlier works,10 and recent scholarship on Cordillera
cultural objects continues to focus on these as sociological or historical
artifacts (e.g., William Longacres studies on Kalinga pottery, or the
articles in Basketry of the Luzon Cordillera, Philippines, published in 1998
by the UCLA Fowler Museum). However, one could not help noticing
that many of the more prominent volumes and articles that have
appeared in the last 20 years are primarily interested in the aesthetic
aspect of these objects. Expectedly, most were written or published in
connection with art exhibitions. William G. Beyers article, Ifugao
Art, was published in the catalog of the Manila Oriental Antiques
Exhibition & Auction held in 1981.What is arguably a seminal work,
Arts and Peoples of the Northern Philippines by George Ellis,
appeared in a volume put out by the University of California to
accompany a major exhibition of Philippine art in the United States in
8

A full account of this discovery and the subsequent appropriation of tribal artifacts as
primitive art may be found in Colin Rhodes, Primitivism and Modern Art (London: Thames and
Hudson, 1994); see especially Chapters 4 (Savage Exoticism) and 5 (In Search of the
Primordial).
9
For a synoptic history of the birth and rise of primitive art, see Shelly Errington, The
Death of Authentic Primitive Art and Other Tales of Progress (Berkeley and Los Angeles:
University of California Press, 1998), 64-69.
10
See, for example, Angelo J. and Aloma M. de los Reyes, eds., A People Who Daily
Touch the Earth and the Sky, vol. 1, Ethnography (Baguio City: Cordillera Schools Group, n.d.).

Tolentino

205

1981-82. Monpaot: Cordillera Functional Sculpture by David Barradas


appeared in conjunction with an exhibit of utilitarian and ritual objects
at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The more recent Form and
Splendor is a lavish catalog of an exhibition of Cordillera personal
adornment and jewelry at the Manila Metropolitan Museum.
In many ways, the recognition of Cordillera artifacts as art
objects was a foreign invention. It can be safely said that even Filipino
writers and art enthusiasts began to take a serious interest in these
artifacts as art only after they had been valorized as such by Western
authoritiesart critics and historians, museum curators and collectors.
In the early 70s William Fagg, one of the worlds greatest authorities on
primitive art, made a selection of 80 wooden sculptures which he
considered as the best representatives of the genre in the collection of
the British Museums Department of Ethnography (Museum of
Mankind).11 His selection included four specimens of the bul-ol from
the Cordillera. More recently, the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva,
acknowledged as the most outstanding repository of tribal sculpture in
the world, came out with a tome presenting the masterpieces in its
collection.12 Among these masterpieces are six objects from the
Philippines: a priests box (punamhan), three human figures (bul-ul) and
a figural ladle from Ifugao, and a Kankanai door panel. International
recognition also came by way of full-length articles in foreign art
journals and magazines, most notably Christian Rolls Rice Gods of
the Ifugao, 13 Pynky Gomez-Garcias Northern Philippine Primitive
Wooden Art, 14 and Joaquin G. Palencias The Ifugao Bulul and its
Regional Styles. 15 Palencia is also the author of a recent cover story on
the bul-ul in Tribal Art, the pre-eminent journal on primitive art.16
The elevation of Cordillera artifacts to objects of art has
naturally brought about the formation of a new discourse surrounding
these objects. Unfortunately, the theoretical or conceptual basis of this
new discourse is left largely unarticulated in the available literature on
the subject. William Fagg and Douglas Newton, in their annotations to
the outstanding Philippine specimens in the collections of the British
11

The selection, accompanied by photographs and annotations, can be found in


William Fagg, The Tribal Image: Wooden Sculpture of the World , 2 nd ed. (London: British
Museum Publications, 1977).
12
Douglas Newton and Hermione Waterfield, Tribal Sculpture: Masterpieces from
Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific in the Barbier-Mueller Museum (London: Thames and
Hudson, 1995).
13
Arts of Asia, January-February 1974, 20-29.
14
Arts of Asia, July-August 1983, 84-93.
15
Arts of Asia, November-December 1989, 142-147.
16
Art as Life: The Ifugao Bul-ul, Tribal Art, Spring 1998, 52-63.

206

Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera

and Barbier-Mueller Museums, provide only ethnographic data. The


works of George Ellis,17 despite the breadth of their scholarship and the
extent of their coverage, could only explain the artistic nature of the
artifacts they discuss in terms of their craftsmanship and decorative
elements. Barradas, on the other hand, proceeds in a similar manner,
but adds that In the process of creation, elements of aesthetics are
intentionally applied resulting in objects that are not only functional
but highly aesthetic as well. It is this kind of objectsfunctional and
aesthetically pleasingthat are specifically sculptural in form. 18
This is an attempt at explanation; unfortunately, it is circuitous,
redundant, and ultimately useless.
This brings us to the dilemma that will have to be confronted
by anyone doing a study of Cordillera artifacts as art: When artifacts
are re-configured as art objects, whose perspectives or viewpoints are
implicatedthe makers or the beholders? As the preceding
discussion has tried to suggest, the whole notion of primitive art is an
imposed category, a construction that often says more about the
beholder who speaks about the objects and who, by so speaking,
endows those objects with values that might have been farthest from
the thoughts of their makers.19
To illustrate my point, I would like to cite two cases.
The first is an article by Floy Quintos on Ifugao and Kankanaey
functional objects which appeared in a glossy magazine put out a
decade ago by the Department of Tourism.20 In calling attention to the
artistry or craftsmanship of these objects, Quintos resorts to Western
artistic categories: one particular triple bowl from Hapao
approximated Dali-esque surrealism; the carvings of Tinoc in Ifugao
are More cubist in approach than the sophisticated pieces in Central
Ifugao; and even when an object is unadorned, the sheer symmetry
and balance are enough to beautify it. Similar in tone are the notes on
an exhibit of Ifugao and Kankanaey tribal sculpture held at Manilas

17

Arts and Peoples of the Northern Philippines, in The People and Arts of the
Philippines, ed. Fr. Gabriel Casal and Regalado T. Jose, Jr. (Los Angeles: Museum of Cultural
History, University of California Los Angeles, 1982), 182-263; and Ifugao Art, in Islands and
Ancestors: Indigenous Styles of Southeast Asia , ed. Jean Paul Barbier and Douglas Newton (New
York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988), 170-183.
18
Monpaot: Cordillera Functional Sculpture (Manila: Cultural Center of the
Philippines, n.d.), 4.
19
For a deconstructive critique of the discourse of primitive art, see Errington, op. cit.,
and Sally Price, Primitive Art in Civilized Places (Chicago and London: University of Chicago
Press, 1989).
20
Floy Quintos, Whimsy in Wood, Philippines, vol. 2, 42-47.

Tolentino

207

Gallery Dua in 1998.21 Also written by Quintos, the catalog refers to the
Ifugao as the minimalists of the North and describes their carvings
largely in formalist terms (marked by an elegant restraint and by a
strong adherence to surface and suggestion).
In foregrounding these remarks of Quintos, I have chosen a
rather obvious example to illustrate my point, but the tendencies noted
in these articles may be detected in varying degrees in other accounts
of Cordillera artifacts as art. The problem partly lies in the fact that the
notion of primitive art is a problematic one, occupying as it does a
conceptual space that is remote from the original location of the objects
that are so defined. The problem is also rooted in the fact that when we
talk about art, we do so mainly from a perspective that emanates from
a decidedly Western tradition.22 This naturally poses tremendous
obstacles in understanding what is not part of that tradition. If, for
example, we ask the Ifugao carver if he considers his bul-ul a work of
art, he will most likely consider the question meaningless because art,
as we know it, is not part of his native societys network of paradigms.
This is the predicament articulated in the second case that I
would like to citeJoaquin Palencias aforementioned articles on the
Ifugao bul-ul. In the earlier work, The Ifugao Bulul and Its Regional
Styles, the author makes a preliminary attempt to define what we may
call the bul-ul aesthetic. Much is made of the bul-uls traditional form.
These anthropomorphic figures are carved without any precise
reference to body proportions; surface details are kept to a minimum;
parts of anatomy may be distorted depending on demands of
representation (or beliefs, etc.). Palencia also speaks of a collective
sense of rightness in relation to how a bul-ul is to be carved, but fails
to articulate fully what this is all about. In his most recent work, Art as
Life: The Ifugao Bul-ul, he makes another attempt at defining Ifugao
aesthetic through bul-ul iconology. From a Western perspective, he
openly declares, this aesthetic would appear to be an aesthetic of
function, with utility and efficiency as the major criteria. However,
from the point of view of the native, this may not be so. He refers to an
invisibility of aesthetics among the Ifugao which, he explains, does
not represent absence but a complete aesthetic integration [that] is
present in all aspects of Ifugao existence. Palencias effort to bring in a
native viewpoint is commendable, even if it is not adequate.

21

Floy Quintos, In Situ: Masterpieces of Cordillera Tribal Sculpture in Philippine


Collections, Exhibition Catalog, Gallery Dua, Manila, 1998.
22
A brief but enlightening discussion of the evolution of the meanings that have
accrued to the word art may be found in Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of
Culture and Society (London: Fontana/Croom Helm, 1976).

208

Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera

How then should we view the artifacts of indigenous societies


such as what we find in the Cordillera? And how does one talk about
them? Very clearly, it is imperative that we first try to ascertain what
their makers think of them, and how they make sense of those artifacts
not merely as utilitarian objects but more so as indicators of their
cultural values. And if they consider them beautiful, what makes them
say so?
In 1966-67 Aurora Roxas-Lim conducted field work in Banaue
to undertake a preliminary survey of Ifugao art. Among the more
significant findings of her research are the categories used by the
Ifugao in referring to objects that may be said to be of an artistic nature,
e.g., (a) bakkutna: lit. products not derived from agriculture; fabricated;
made for the tourist trade; (b) yamada: man-made as opposed to
something found in nature; (c) ginako or ginakona: term most widely
used for the arts and crafts; lit., belongings or property; (d) maphod:
objects that are well-built and made of lasting materials; also
something appealing, attractive; and in its noun form denoting moral
quality such as goodness.23 Many researchers have already said that
when the Cordillera native is asked to explain the form of, say, a
Kalinga bead ensemble or the underlying aesthetic of an ornamented
wooden bowl, the native simply ascribes everything to tradition or
brings everything to a dead-end by saying that it is pretty. These
answers, of course, do not have full explanatory value. They may be so
because we may be, in the first place, asking the wrong questions. But
as the Ifugao categories recorded by Roxas-Lim suggest, the natives of
the Cordillera do have a way of articulating their sense of what is good
or beautiful. Configuring the material culture of the Cordillera should
then start from an understanding of the paradigms expressed by these
indigenous categories.

23

Aurora Roxas-Lim, Art in Ifugao Society, Asian Studies 11 (August 1973): 47-75.

Tolentino

209

References
Antolin, Fr. Francisco O.P. Notices of the Pagan Igorots in the Interior of the
Island of Manila. Translated by William Henry Scott. Manila:
University of Sto. Tomas Press, 1988.
Barradas, David. Monpaot: Cordillera Functional Sculpture. Manila:
Cultural Center of the Philippines, n.d.
Cole, Fay-Cooper. The Tinguian: Social, Religious and Economic Life of a
Philippine Tribe. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History,
1922.
de los Reyes, Angelo J. and Aloma M. Igorot: A People Who Daily Touch
the Earth and the Sky. Vol. 2, Ethnography. Baguio City:
Cordillera Schools Group, n.d.
Ellis, George. Arts and Peoples of the Northern Philippines. In The
People and Arts of the Philippines, ed. Fr. Gabriel Casal and
Regalado T. Jose, Jr. Los Angeles: Museum of Cultural History,
University of California Los Angeles, 1982.
____________. Ifugao Art. In Islands and Ancestors: Indigenous Styles of
Southeast Asia, ed. Jean Paul Barbier and Douglas Newton.
New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988.
Errington, Shelly. The Death of Authentic Primitive Art and Other Tales of
Progress. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California
Press, 1998.
Fagg, William. The Tribal Image: Wooden Sculpture of the World. 2 nd ed.
London: British Museum Publications, 1977.
Gomez-Garcia, Pynky. Northern Philippine Primitive Wooden Art.
Arts of Asia, July-August 1983, 84-93.
Jenks, Albert Ernest. The Bontoc Igorot. Manila: Bureau of Public
Printing, 1905.
Newton, Douglas and Hermione Waterfield. Tribal Sculpture:
Masterpieces from Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific in the
Barbier-Mueller Museum. London: Thames and Hudson, 1995.
Palencia, Joaquin G. The Ifugao Bulul and Its Regional Styles. Arts of
Asia, November-December 1989, 142-147.
____________. Art as Life: The Ifugao Bul-ul. Tribal Art, Spring 1998,
52-63.
Price, Sally. Primitive Art in Civilized Places. Chicago and London:
University of Chicago Press, 1989.

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Configuring the Material Culture of the Cordillera

Quintos, Floy. Whimsy in Wood, Philippines, vol. 2, n.d., 42-47.


____________. In Situ: Masterpieces of Cordillera Tribal Sculpture in
Philippine Collections. Exhibition Catalog, Gallery Dua, Manila,
1998.
Rhodes, Colin. Primitivism and Modern Art. London: Thames and
Hudson, 1994.
Roll, Christian. Rice gods of the Ifugao, Arts of Asia, JanuaryFebruary 1974, 20-29.
Roxas-Lim, Aurora. Art in Ifugao Society. Asian Studies 11 (August
1973): 47-75.
Scott, William Henry, ed. German Travelers on the Cordillera. Manila:
Filipiniana Book Guild, 1975.
Williams, Raymond. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society.
London: Fontana/Croom Helm, 1976.

Authors Name: DELFIN TOLENTINO, JR.


Address: Division of Humanities
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
E-mail Address: del@baguio.upcb.edu.ph
Telephone No.: (074) 442-8393
Fax: (074) 442-2427/442-3888

Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs


Jimmy Fong
The Cordillera musicians access to recording facilities has
resulted in the distribution and marketing of music and songs in the
various Cordillera languages. Now, several local recording studios
maintain their stable of singers and bands, and brag about their latest
digital recording technology. In stores, restaurants and markets along
the Halsema highway, tape recorders and karaoke systems blare the
latest recording. In Baguio, it has become common to chance upon
persons peddling these albums to passengers of province-bound
jeepneys and buses.
A cursory look at the cassettes would reveal song titles in
Kankanaey, Ibaloi, Ilocano, English and other languages by different
soloists and bands.
The songs would range from original to
adaptations, revivals, reinterpretation and translations of popular
gospel, country or western, Filipino and foreign pop songs (e.g. the
Indonesian Dayang, Dayang). The themes are varied but most of the
songs are about love: proposals, love lost or found, and unrequited.
Others extol the features of specific places in the region.
Recordings of pop songs in Ibaloi started to appear in the early
1970s. This paper deals with the increasing volume of songs that reveal
how the Ibaloi singers and composers make sense of past and present
experiences particularly those brought about by national and
international integration processes. This is a preliminary exploration of
the emerging local discourse, expressed through songs, on embracing
ones identity, the rising cost of traditional rituals and practices, and
changing economic, social and personal relations.

Ibaloi Popular Songs


Traditional Ibaloi music would include those produced by the
ensemble of long wooden drums (solibao) and brass gongs (kalsa),
bamboo rhythm instruments (pakkong, kambitong), and the ba-diw
which is basically chanted conversation and poetry. Because of the
establishment of an ethnic music category in music competitions,
agents of the national Education department have also recovered from
the natives collective memory traditional songs known as
tomtombilaw. Such songs were not known to have been performed in
public but somehow became common knowledge through various
interpersonal, social interactions. Now, some of these have been

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Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs

notated or rearranged as contest pieces (e.g. Bagbagto, Bangon, Bangon


Ina).
Because the ba-diw is a group activity, there were no Ibaloi
soloists in the modern sense of the word. What would be present are
wise women and men elders who have things to say and who have
mastered the language and form of the ba-diw. Also, until now the badiw belongs to the domain of the elders during appropriate feasts and
rituals.
The Ibaloi soloists evolved out of secular Ibaloi community life
and are a product of the modern condition. In my source village (Tabaao, Kapangan, Benguet, 41 kilometers northwest of Baguio), the two
songs that still exist in the collective memory of the folks in 1944 were
performed in a community celebration of the New Year of the Roman
Calendar. The evening celebration is the precursor of the annual
community dance that needs entertainment numbers and dance music.
The very first dance music was provided by a lone harmonica player.
The introduction of the ukelele and the hollow guitar led to the
formation of a loose group of musicians who take turns singing to
provide music for the overnight dancing. This is why many of the
current love songs refer to the community dance (Shi Sadaan) as the
site of first acquaintance or love-at-first sight. Later, certain persons
would be recognized by the community as possessing the talent to sing
or to compose. Some of these have been encouraged to record their
songs, first on portable tape recorders then on to professional studios.
The ascendance of local bars or folk houses/dens in Baguio also
gave some singers the opportunity to commercially perform before a
limited public. Politicians have also been quick to conscript some of
them as entertainers during election campaigns.
Accessible to men and women, young and old, the Ibaloi pop
songs now come in various forms but most would sound like
country/western music. Depending on the vocal quality of the
singers and the degree of sophistication and mastery of use of the
musical instruments and recording equipment, the technical quality of
the recordings could be determined by simply auditioning sample
tapes. Lately, there has also been an attempt to incorporate traditional
instruments in the accompaniment of the songs. But as far as the Ibaloi
audience is concerned, the key selling point of the recordings would
still be the quality and relevance of the lyrics. I submit that what the
songs are about become more prominent because of the familiarity of
the musical form and tunes.
Baguio radio stations (e.g., DZWT of the Mountain Province
Broadcasting Corporation) are instrumental in popularizing songs in

Fong

213

Ibaloi and the other local languages. Request-and-dedication programs


bring about public awareness of the songs and increase their potential
demand especially among speakers of similar languages separated by
geo-political barriers. Not all of the songs studied in this paper were
produced by persons in a single source village but have reached the
village because of their availability in the local pop music market.

Popular Music
Samson (1981) has defined popular culture, of which popular
music is a part, as the forms of commercial culture that spread via mass
communication and are based on the collective structure and dynamics
of industrialization.
Popular culture has always been considered with so much
condescension because of its commercial nature. Because it follows
successful commercial formulas and is dictated by a few from the
ruling class, it is perceived as escapist and supporting/protecting the
interest of the ruling class in industrialized societies. Repressed and
conservative, pop art is considered as not art at all. For while it hints at
or expresses the felt exploitation of many, it hinders the peoples actual
movement toward change, and leads only to substituted gratification
(Van den Haag 1962 in Samson). Because of these and other reasons,
Samson suggests the need to expand the traditional discourse, research
and conceptualization of popular culture by considering the formation
and direction of the culture of countries which have been colonized
and are being integrated into the capitalist/global system. She says
that it is important to recognize the difference in the status and
problems of the masses in societies that are not fully industrialized. In
a situation where almost everything native has been denigrated by the
colonial masters (Enriquez 1994)), it is important to examine the
poverty of colonized countries in order to assess and understand the
particular features and character, the societal tendency, and part of
popular culture in maintaining and strengthening capitalism as a
deepening global system (Giddens 1999).
Samson says that the masses in these societies are saddled by
extreme poverty and are looking not just for something to do but for
anything to do in order to survive. Here, the need is for material things
more than grappling with the meaning or essence of life. As the new
opium of the masses within a semi-feudal and semi-colonial system
(Rivera 1982), cultural narcotics are peddled, spreading in various
forms, shapes and sizes, Samson notes.
The Ibaloi songs under study only partly conform to this
definition of popular culture. They are commercially available and the

214

Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs

local media contribute to their patronage but it is doubtful whether


their content is the result of dictation from above. The singers and
composers definitely belong to the masses. The potential audience is
also limited to the speakers of the language as no translations are
provided and only recently, following market trends, do the tapes
come with written lyrics. Being extremely conscious creations, the
songs instead manifest what Williams (1977) calls a struggle at the
roots of the mindnot casting off an ideology, or learning phases
about it, but confronting a hegemony in the fibres of the self and in the
hard practical substance of effective and continuing relationshipsthe
articulation of latent, momentary, and newly possible consciousness.
As to the general similarity in form of most of the songs to
country/western music, Pertierra (1998) cites Appadurai to explain this
more as an example of cultural hybridity brought about by the global
distribution of country/western music, and not as a sign of cultural
domination. For Filipinos, the nostalgic associations of country and
western music which motivate American audiences are irrelevant.
Instead, Filipinos and non-American audiences subvert this genre by
denying its past, relocating its present and playing on its future.
Certainly, Filipinos have an entirely different past particularly that of
not being pioneers in the wild-wild-west sense. The performance and
appreciation of country/western music is then relocated to a new
context, and new appropriations in the future.
The practice of appropriating popular foreign tunes, forms and
materials is not new in Philippine history. Ileto (1979) studied the most
popular but much criticized as a bastardized version of the Pasyon
(Pasyon Pilapil), as a mirror of the Tagalog masses collective
consciousness. By listening to voices from below, Ileto not only
demonstrated how a history from below could be constructed but
also pointed to how the poor and uneducated masses determine the
meaning of their situation, instead of being merely determined by it.
What could be the meaning of Ibaloi pop songs? Surely,
mainstream critics will simply regard them as kitsch and thus relegated
to an insignificant cultural status. But like rock and roll (Grossberg in
Littlejohn 1996), Ibaloi pop songs are associated with a specific group
marked as somehow different from others. The music is also involved
in the everyday and larger context of the lives of the listeners, giving
them pleasure and affecting them emotionally. The songs also deal
with numerous other social and cultural practices. This makes it safe
to assume that some form of struggle is going on, some opposition is
being voiced. In a limited sense, the songs possess potency as a
means of self-presentation (Chandler 1998) for a group of people who

Fong

215

have been stereotyped by other Igorots as shy and who would rather
be in the sidelines.
Many of the songs also demonstrate the
widespread appropriation for personal purposes of materials (in this
case, tunes or melodies) in the public domain. Chandler calls this the
practice of bricolage. This study is also part of the revisionist
postcolonial effort to reclaim traditions, histories, and cultures from
imperialism (Said 1989). Tolentino (1998) has also emphasized the
need to make sense of the everyday experiences of people in this
modern world. Why are they hooked to popular culture such as radio,
TV, cinema, recordings, computers, malls?

The Meaning of Changes in Ibaloi Life


The two songs that became popular in the case community in
1944 celebrate the peoples survival of the fury of the Japanese during
World War II. Beckoning to every mother and father, the eldest and
youngest children, the song by Emilio Patnik (dec.) recalls the peoples
difficult experiences during the warhow it was difficult to properly
eat and enjoy ones food and how both rich and poor experienced hard
times in evacuation sites. It also attributes their survival to Kabunian
whose teachings they heeded.

Emilio Patnik (dec.), 1944


Kalajon aama, inges tod iina

Come fathers and mothers, too

Kumpol tod panguduan, inges tod


anungosan

Whether youre the eldest or the


youngest.

Badeg tayon iyaman,

We are indeed grateful

Tayo mowan pandaladsakan.

That we can again rejoice together.

Nonta timpon Diyapan

During the time of the Japanese

Eg maykinkinay mekan.

We could hardly savor our food.

Uway toy entayo nanbakwitan,

We had to evacuate somewhere.

Chima esulsuljuan

There in the crevices

Chiman, chiman ey chiman.

There, there and there.

Kakaasi ebiteg, kinkindat iren bileg,

Pity the poor, they were bitten by


leeches.

Kakaasiy ebaknang, nasnaskaw ired


diyang.

Pity the rich, they shivered in cold


caves.

Nem pangaasin Chiyos

But God is merciful,

Eg kito edengbos.

We have not been consumed

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Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs

Kamo et tayo inenusan

We were able to bear

I tangsit ni Diyapan.

The fury of the Japanese.

Kamo et eg tayo dinibkan

It is good we have not forgotten

Bilin nen Kavunian

Kabunians admonition,

Chahito insalakan.

He spared us.

Ebadeg tayon iyaman

We are very thankful

Entayo mowan pandaladsahan

That we can again gather and rejoice

Niman na kalabian.

This auspicious night.

Oways (dec.) song interprets such survival as the opportunity


to sustain the native lifestyle that includes the holding of kedot or
feasts (other ethnolinguistic groups call the practice of various natures
and levels by many other names). A complex set of rituals, a feast
includes the butchering of many and several kinds of animals, eating,
drinking of native and commercial wine, chanting and dancing. The
native ideology, summarized by shilos kaapuan (rituals or observances
of the elders and ancestors) and epitomized by the kedot or peshit,
demands animal sacrifices for the sake of physical well-being and
social prestige. After the war, the people in the source village recall
that those who were able to host feasts indeed took their turns. This
continued up to the early 1970s when feasts became rare and of lesser
magnitude. Outsiders came to know such feasts as the caao.

Domingo Oway (dec.), 1944


Ebadeg ga iyaman

We are grateful

Tayo mowan sinkopan

We have again reached

Badon tawen mil nueve cientos


cuarenta y cuatro.

A new year, 1944.

Ebiyag may Igodot,

The Igorots are alive,

Mantataned may mengdot.

They will now take turns holding feasts.

Kinongnong, kinangnang

Kinongnong, kinangnang

Menejaw may ebaknang.

The rich w ill now dance the tayaw.

Kitogtog, kitegteg

Kitogtog, kitegteg

Manda-kam may ebiteg.

The poor will also have their share.

O Senyor Merikano

O Master America

Pudpudno a govierno,

True government.

Karunungan, Kamaptengan

Righteous, the best,

Fong

Masnek, maseg-ang,

Loving, compassionate,

Waray dinteg to so ni ebiteg.

It rules for the poor.

217

The Igorot feast, the most prestigious among the Ibaloi being
the peshit and the kedot, has been interpreted as a form of social
redistribtution of wealth by the baknang or rich. Even relatives from
far villages are summoned. Indeed the ebiteg or poor who cannot
afford to perform the same rituals have their share of the bounty. But
anecdotes and songs (even in Kankanaey) circulate about the poor
being ridiculed for their inability to reciprocate, and receive only the
undesirable meat cuts (such as the thick carabao skin and animal feet)
during meat distribution (see Basatans song and the Kankanaey
Nansidan Kailian Mi by Anne Galiega, Dusty Road Records). It is
common knowledge that the richer folks partake of or take home the
choice cuts. Both old and new songs then demonstrate a clear
consciousness of class.

D a y a n g- D a y a n g ( B e n g u e t V e r s i o n )
Danny Magno
Say Igodot gayam da nontan

Among the early Igorot

Peshit I pengamtaan

It was hosting the peshit

Ey si-kam ket ebaknang

That indicates your wealth.

Kaulnongan kaidian kayman.

The community folks gather

Asan pan-aamtaan tan sikatoy panaaspulan

To socialize and for

Ni san-aakin ebay-an

Surviving siblings to meet

Ono sankapapartidoan

Kin from other places.

Shi kompormin ili jen kawad-an.


Chorus:
No pemshit aliven parit

The peshit is not forbidden

Eg tayo met ipilit

But we do not impose that it be done

Agdalod timpon kifit

Especially during difficult times

Makaawat iray kait

Others will understand

Tep satan ngoy agas sahit

For that is the remedy of the illness

Ja in-ahan ira ni ampasit.

Inflicted by the ampasit.

Panajaw ka, pangalsa ka,

Dance the tayaw, play the gongs,

Panajaw ka, pangalsa ka,

Dance the tayaw, play the gongs

218

Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs

Panolibaw ka.

Beat the solibao.

Maypangkep jen an-animal

Regarding the animals

Eshahel naykokoral

They abound in the pastureland

Man-aangal shima karonshontogan

They bully each other on the hills

Nanketabay maon-an

They all look fat

Kavajo, baha tan nowang

Horses, cows and carabaos

Ta satan day kaugadian

For that was the practice

Nga agpayson kaapu-apoan.

In truly ancient times.

Jet sota inkihan bengat

And those who partook of the food

Ka ira mengetang

They help by joining the chant

Asbayat mankapuyat

They work hard and fail to sleep

Ja epalipalikat, davin payapayadpad

Because of the overnight dancing

Pati para alen apay

Even those who had to get the apay

Talaken enmatenggay

They are strengthened

Ni shadsak shen meki-ad-adivay.

By the joy of fellowship.

Sha patpatiay manbunong

They obey the mambunong

Inges to la si lolong Danon

Like the late lolo Danong

Isunga ampet manpekan

Thats why we have to take care of


animals

Sikatayon maajowanan

We have to nurture them

Say waray maykanyaw mowan

So that we have something to share

Ja pansasangoan

During another caao.

Basta eg kito may-utangan.

So long as we dont incur debts.

Kamon meksheng malay kedot

Now when the kedot is over,

Iman may mansengsengdot shi nayemot

Somebodys sniffing out there

A ta na-bos day maykekdot

Because there is no more meat to roast

Nabdey kasalasalaw kadkaroy


kasabasabaw

Even the jars are tired, the soup, too

Ira pay laeng kaentayatayaw noman

But they are still dancing the tayaw

Toon nankeshayaw.

They who are esteemed.

But community folks recall that feasts were not simply a time
to eat, drink and dance. The key person in such feasts aside from the
host is always the mambunong or native priest (as in Magnos song)
who prays over every animal to be butchered and calls on the hosts
ancestors to partake of the feast and to continue blessing the host. This
reflects a whole native cosmology where the dead do not entirely leave

Fong

219

the earth. The Ibaloi practice of burying the dead under or near ones
house demonstrates a belief where the dead is both far and near. The
well-being of both dead and living is always taken care of. In fact, on
some occasions, the dead is exhumed, the bones cleaned and reburied
or transferred to a new place after being given new clothes, blanket and
box.

Kedot
Roy Basatan
No way mengdot jen kaidian

Oh that somebody among us will host a


kedot

Say wara kay kebikatan

So that there is an occasion to attend

Pan-aamtaan, pan-aaspulan,

An opportunity to meet and to get


acquainted,

Penuntunan ni nay-again.

To discover our kin and kindred.

En-ahad kita ni mamashem

We go home in the late afternoon

Ebuteng kita ma ni tafey,

Drunk with rice wine

Wara pay vatvat jen egshian

And carrying our own portions of meat

Say waray kanas jen inkitungtungaw.

Our consolation for sitting around.

Egto inges eshan da nontan

It was not like before

No waray sahit ni bakdang

When the body is sick

Shagshagos sha en-iuhatan

They immediately provide

Say waray man-ekan shi kaapuan.

Something to offer to ones ancestors.

No bayag kono ira man-isturya

In earlier times, they say

Eshahel i eg nan-iskweda

Many have not gone to school

Ebiteg konoy edapuan sha

Their folks were poor

So kedot da may ukaten sha.

They only know how to perform the


kedot.

Nem karakdan may e-Kristianoan

Now many have become Christians

Mankaumas mala ira tan

Those things are being erased

Mankesadati sigud jen ugadi

The former practices are now being


changed

Eshahel mala i mankebuliwi.

Many things are changing.

Nem no waray esobdaan shitan,

But if somebody has more than enough

Mapmapteng ngo eshan

It is still better

No mengibingay ked kaaskang

That you share with your neighbors

Say so suwertem ket mamashoman.

So your luck abounds.

220

Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs

Satan emoy pan-iyamanan

Perhaps that is where one can be


thankful

Pengibingay ni kaidian

That he has shared with his fellows.

Saksahey i pengibunongan

To only one we pray and offer

Son Apo Shiyos met laeng jen


Kabunian.

To God who is Kabunian.

Harmony is therefore always sought between the living and


the dead. According to the songs of Danggol, Magno, Basatan and
Calomente, disharmonies may result in a person getting sick or thin.
Because of the need to scour rivers and streams for fish and the forest
for wood and food, the native cosmology also includes giving due
respect to nature spirits (ampasit, tinmungao) who are believed to
cause physical harm when their domains are transgressed, and need to
be appeased by animal offerings. The song by Danggol is basically a
love song but proffers the possibility that it may be his transgressions
of native customs that are causing his infirmity.
The persona
eventually says it really is his unrequited love that will cost him his life.
Still the song demonstrates how culture can be embodied.

Shilos Kaapuan
Rod Danggol
Shilos kaapuan ngata noman

Is it because I have transgressed the elders


customs

Kavol ni nak et en epigpigan?

That I have become so thin?

Ta ongshoy kon olay shi shokolan

I lie in bed all the time,

Ba-do ton ekak met maypiyaan.

Still I dont get better.

Pigen doktor malay nak pinshasan

Ive tried several doctors

Ebayag ja nak nanpaakasan.

That for long I went for healing

Nem edavas malay pigen bulan,

But many months have passed

Ultimon ekak met maypiyaan.

I have not become well.

Sahey bengat i nak kanemnemnema

Theres only one thing I think about

Dinabdavin naha ketagtagi-nepa,

Every night I dream about,

Manipud nonta inun-an taha,

Ever since I saw you,

Waray sepik tan ayat ko son si-kam


ma.

I long for you, I love you.

Igulpim kari ita kaasim

Would you pour out your compassion

Fong

Ta si-kak kari mo piyanen,

Would you love me, too.

Amangan ta si-kak asnengen mo,

For in case you reject me,

Ultimon si-katoy ipatey ko.

Im sure it will cause my death.

221

The Benguet Ibaloi has been perceived and accused as a


passive acceptor of change. Oways song extols the take-over and
benevolence of America after WWII. He says the natives were free to
resume their old lifestyle, that they had time for leisure and to enjoy
each others company. We know that it is actually government neglect
and marginalization that gave people this semblance of freedom. They
were actually left on their own to fend for themselves. Even then,
formal education, the bureaucracy and the church spread capitalist
ideals that slowly linked Ibaloi and other Cordillera communities to the
market. The new order emphasized the need for formal education and
profit. Many Ibaloi and other Cordillera songs now tell about the
importance of getting an education in order to land a profitable job and
to gain social acceptance. These and other new costly values have now
been added to a traditional lifestyle that has become expensive, despite
their symbolic and ritual values. The natives are hard-pressed by the
economic demands of both ideologies. The death of the authors
grandmother on Sept. 5, 1999 provides an illustration about how taxing
the native custom could be. For three consecutive days, two pigs were
butchered each day. On the fourth day, the funeral, another two pigs
and two carabaos were killed. The day after the funeral, several
chickens and pigs were again butchered. These, aside from nine
cavans of rice, hundreds of bottles of gin, softdrinks and rice wine.
Others would even have another feast nine days after the funeral. In
other rituals, the mambunong also requires that replacement animals
be sought due to the poor reading of the butchered animals
gallbladder and bile.
The integration of Cordillera villages into the global market
economy demands that high prices be paid for sacrificial animals,
besides the need to spend for the education of ones children, for health
and other basic needs plus wants. The songs of other Cordillera
singers such as Lourdes Fangki and Amy Guesdan (Ugalis
Binangonan, LL Records/Abatan Records) bewail the dilemma of the
people: whether to give in to tradition, or to save some for education
and other modern expenses. Certainly, it is ironic that these thoughts
are being expressed in songs which have also become market
commodities.

222

Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs

Performing Ones Identity


For various reasons, not all people of the Cordillera accept or
identify themselves as Igorot despite the etymological revelation that
the word only means people from the mountains. Of course, now we
can say that the main reason is that the word has been associated with
anatomical myths (e.g., tails and splayed feet) and historically
produced stigma that some people are embarrassed about.
Being Igorot still carries with it the connotations of being
savage, unclad, ignorant, fierce. These have been the images and
representations perpetuated throughout a long colonial and modern
history. These stereotypes still persist. That is why not a few persons
of Igorot descent refuse the identity and would rather identify
themselves by their specific ethnolinguistic group or place of origin.
But changes in government policy has led to certain changes in the
peoples psychology. Perhaps in recognition of a long period of neglect
and marginalization, some government programs have been
institutionalized.
The governments programs for indigenous peoples require
certification of ethnicity from certain offices. Because of the benefits
from scholarship, livelihood and other programs, those who may not
have been very conscious of or are embarrassed about their ethnic
identities are forced to embrace certain identities in order to take
advantage of the programs. Also because of the modern return to
exotic and ethnic roots, people are now starting to trace their roots,
thus the worldwide phenomenon of celebratory roots tourism. But
while there is now a global claim of an Igorot consciousness, the
affiliates have still to decide what to call themselves. The Ibaloi seems
to have no qualms about calling himself/herself Igorot.
Calomentes song starts with a sense of reluctance about what
the song is all about. But he goes on to say that among the difficult
things to talk about is the practice of performing feasts to appease and
appeal to ones ancestors for healing. The singer says this is one of the
things in the culture which do not lend well to public discussion. The
persistence of the custom has led to some tension, not only in terms of
costs, but also between the older and younger generations. The singer
admits that as an Igorot, he was born into a life mode where the elders
rule. But he says that sometimes observance of the elder-imposed
native custom can be very burdensome. Sometimes the elders ask for
more animals to be butchered particularly if the gallbladder of the
animal does not show a good sign, as read by the manbunong. The
need for additional animal sacrifices apparently makes the sick sicker.
But what is one to do? That is the native practice, that is where one has

Fong

223

been born into, that is ones identity that cannot be acquired through a
certification.
Ogadin Ebangonan
Jinggo A. Calomente, Nonta July 16, 1990, 1998
Shahel eg maistorya
Istorya ni ama,
Sota ogadi nontan
Wara pay niman.
Jet no waray mandikna
Shagos sha paosshong,
Shagos sha paosshong
Ni apon manbunong.
Jet no asen toy sahit to
Wara ngon si-kayo
Mesepol ja idaga jo
Ta ogadi yo.
Chorus:
Shilos kaapuan
No enmotok son si-kam
Eg mo noman disian
Mo et pansekitan,
Mo et kepikotan.
Mesepol maydag-an
Ta si-katoy ogadi
Ja ebangonan.
Ay aray kaapuan
Ayshi asi ra no mamingsan.
Angken mansekit ka

So many stories untold


Stories of the elders,
The old practices
Still persist.
When somebody feels ill
Immediately the native
consulted

priest

is

And when the priest looks at the infirm,


It is now up to you
To do that which is necessary
Because that is your custom.
Observances of the elders
When they come to you
Do not resist
Lest you get sick,
Lest you get thin.
You have to do something
Because it is the custom
You grew up with.
O dear elders
Sometimes they have no mercy,
Even if you are sick

Ma-maen sha ha
Mengshaw pay ira
Ni apil ja shutshut.

They make it worse


By asking for more,
For another kind of animal.

Ta si-katoy ogadi
Kono ngo ni Igodot.

Because that is the practice


That differentiates the Igorot.

Calomentes song says the continuous observance of native


customs differentiates the Igorot from others. So no matter how
burdensome or taxing the traditional practices may be, these are vital
to ones identity. The hegemonic global system that attempts to
homogenize all people, to make people uniform in needs and wants, to
blur identities and differences through a technological culture
(Tolentino 1999), now points to this inward direction towards ones
own ethnicity.
I have argued that the integration of the Ibaloi into the nationstate and deepening capitalism have not succeeded in imposing
another lifestyle but have given the people a choice as to what life

224

Change and Identity in Ibaloi Pop Songs

mode to follow. But formal education and religion (Christianity) have


been recognized in the songs as causing the changes in traditional
community life. Basatans song expresses a longing for somebody in
the community to host a feast which has apparently become few and
far between. The songs stress that to remain Igorot is to observe shilos
kaapuan. To reduce stress and dissonance, the songs suggest certain
limits or concessions: the practice of native customs should not result
in indebtedness (Magno), observing the elders customs is not
compulsory particularly in times of economic crisis (Magno), and the
ritual prayers may now be directed to God who is Kabunian (Basatan).
Thus the performance of the identity indicators can be revised as is also
observable in actual, current practice. Perhaps it is now time to speak
of a nominal Igorot, a practicing one, and other shades in between.

References
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document] URL
http://www.aber.ac.uk/mediaDocuments/shorts/strasbourg.
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Enriquez, Virgilio G. 1994. Pagbabangong-dangal: Indigenous
Psychology and Cultural
Empowerment. Philippines: Pugad Lawin Press.
Galiega, Anne. n.d. Sik-a-La-eng. Dusty Road Records.
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http://www.Isec.ac.uk/Giddens/reith_99/giddens.htm
[02/04/2000]
Ileto, Reynaldo C. 1979. Pasyon and Revolution. Ateneo de Manila
University Press.
Littlejohn, Stephen W. 1996. Theories of Human Communication.
Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Magno, Danny Boy B. n.d. Salamat. C.V.H. Records.

Fong

225

Pertierra, Raul. 1998. The Future of Sociology and the Sociology of


the Future. Department of Sociology, UP Diliman.
Rivera, Temario C. 1982. Rethinking the Philippine Social Formation:
Some Problematic Concepts and Issues. Feudalism and
Capitalism in the Philippines. Foundation for Nationalist
Studies.
Said, Edward W. 1989. Representing the Colonized: Anthropologys
Interlocutors. Critical Inquiry (15). The University of Chicago
Press.
Samson, Laura L. 1981. Tungo sa Kritikal na Pag-unawa sa Kulturang
Popular at Kamalayang Pilipino. Philippine Social Science and
Humanities Review (January-December). College of Arts and
Sciences, University of the Philippines Diliman.
Tolentino, Delfin, Jr. 1999. Ang Literaturang Pandaigdig sa Panahon ng
Globalism. Linangan. University of the Philippines.
Tolentino, Roland B. 1998. Ang Panitikang Popular at Pagsulat ng
Kasaysayan ng Kasalukuyan, PALT.
Williams, Raymond. 1977. Marxism and Literature. Oxford University
Press.

Authors Name: JIMMY FONG


Address: Humanities Division
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
E-mail Address: jbfong@baguio.upcb.edu.ph
Telephone No.: 09175060182
Fax: (074) 444-8393

SAY WHAT, II
I n s i g h t s i n t o B a g u i o - Benguet at the Turn of the
Last Century Through the Process of Dramatic Writing
Linda Grace Cario

This paper is inspired by an earlier work, a full-length


screenplay I finished sometime ago. The screenplay is entitled A Voice
From the Mountain, and it tells the story of the legal battle my greatgrandfather Mateo Carino won against the Insular Government of the
Philippines in 1909, after a long and protracted battle, over the
property now called Camp John Hay. Writing such a dramatic piece
was quite the learning experience, requiring what might best be called
interdisciplinary skills. I had to explore history, historiography,
culture in its widest sense, dramatic technique, cinematic writing, and
even more areas of study in order to put on paper what essentially
becomes the blueprint for a movie, the screenplay.
I gleaned much insight from the experience, and continue to do
so. Some of these insights I put onto paper earlier this year, in a paper
entitled Say What? Examining What Languages Were Spoken in
Baguio-Benguet at the Turn of the Last Century. This paper was
presented at a smaller forum than this one, but likewise spearheaded
by the UPCB Cordillera Studies Center, which to my mind remains at
the proud forefront of current Cordillera research, and must be
commended for being so. Those earlier insights had to do with
conclusions drawn about said languages, languages which I had to
determine because the screenplay which I wrote, like any screenplay,
requires dialogue. And dialogue can only be written after a writer has
determined what languages his/her characters speak.
For this paper, more of such insights are drawn from the same
writing experience, but are focused on the elements of dramatic
writing. In particular, I will deal with insights into Baguio-Benguet
history drawn from the following elements of dramatic writing:
Setting, Characters, Plot, and Dialogue. I will also be touching upon
these elements as they figure in how a story is told, in terms of Conflict,
Conflict Resolution, and the Three-Act Structure which is the
traditional form dramatic writing takes.

Setting.
My aforementioned screenplay, A Voice from the Mountain, is
set against the backdrop of a Baguio-Benguet at the turn of the last

Cario

227

century. What is a backdrop? To the dramatist, it is this piece of cloth


or wood or paper upon which is painted the background for a certain
stage scene. Ergo, a scene set in a garden might have a backdrop upon
which is painted trees, flowers, birds, maybe. The trees, flowers, and
birds further indicate if the garden is urban or rural, if it is in a
temperate country, the tropics, or wherever else, like the moon. The
backdrop can also indicate time of day, economic status of its owner
perhaps, even create a mood for the whole scene which it serves as a
backdrop for.
To create, or rather, recreate this backdrop of Baguio-Benguet at
the turn of the last century, I had to read into works which described
Baguio-Benguet of that time. History books often describe Benguet,
wherein Baguio is likewise found, with a map, locating it
geographically. More accurate sources describe Benguet in terms of
boundaries which changed from time to time, but still lean towards a
geographic location, mainly answering the question of where is it? A
writer, however, needs more than the geographical answer to that
question if s/he is to paint an accurate backdrop. Thus, to recreate the
backdrop I needed, I had to read into sources which describe terrain,
foliage, weather, and other physical characteristics of the Benguet of
that time.
And what did I find? That the Benguet of the turn of the last
century wass rugged, wooded, and cold. I also found that it was
inhabited by cattle, deer, eagles, even, and that much fish and eel could
be found in its waters, which were plentiful. As was gold. Some of
these physical characteristics have remained the same. Others have
changed. In particular, water no longer abounds, especially in Baguio,
much less the fish which once swam in them. We see no deer nor
eagles any longer. And gold in Benguet has become scarcer and
scarcer as time has marched on.
Among many such insights brought about by determining
setting, however, the greatest one is as follows. Benguet comes from
the Nabaloi word Benget, which was the name of the La Trinidad
Valley1 before said valley was named so in 1874 by a Spanish
Commandant named Manuel Scheidnagel.2 And before colonizers,
Spanish and American, imposed map boundaries on the area we now
call Benguet. In other words, there was no Benguet province, only a
place named Benget, now La Trinidad. In what we now call the
province of Benguet, there were only places with names, native
1
2

Lawrence Lee Wilson, The Skyland of the Philippines, p.34.


W.H. Scott, History on the Cordillera, p. 138.

228

The Process of Dramatic Writing

Nabaloi ones. What is now Baguio City was a place named Kafagway.3
What is now called Camp John Hay were places named Ipit and
Lubas.4 And so on. To know this about local history is then to bring
home a most important point, that Benguet as a province is an imposed
geographical definition upon places which existed before then, since
time immemorial, without that said definition. A writer using Benguet
at the turn of the last century as a backdrop has to remember this and
not fall prey to the easy trap of defining Benguet with its present-day
definition, geography included.

Characters.
In dramatic writing, characters are the players in the play,
those who people it. When crafting a play, either for screen or for
stage, a writer assigns roles, traits, and precisely -- characteristics to
his/her players. The writer plays god and says, you, character A will
be named Pedro. You are my hero. You are tall, dark, and handsome.
While you, character B, are the villain. You are named Carlos. You are
short, white, and ugly. While you, character C, are a friend to both. I
hereby name you Juliet. You are charming and lovely outside, but are
as dark as mud inside. And so on.
But in writing a historical screenplay, a writer has not these
freedom because history dictates who the players are, since they really
existed. History also has this habit of ascribing to these historical
players status: hero, villain, accomplice to the crime, etc... As such, the
process of fleshing out my characters for Voice had to be a most, most
careful one. Each one of them had to be singularly defined as the
history books identified them. The dramatic writer has perhaps to be
triply careful even when dealing with history books, checking and
cross-checking numerous sources which are sometimes not one in what
they say about the players of history. One book could say that so and
so was a kind and benevolent man, another could call him a charlatan.
A third could make of the very same man a monster. The dramatic
writer thus has the daunting of job of weighing the reliability of many
sources, and not all of them are written sources, before deciding what a
historical character was most probably like. Add to this the even more
daunting task of making this character talk, feel, act. And then
multiply the number of characters for whom the writer has to do this.
It is far from easy. Neither is it easy to remember that many other
3

Lawrence Lee Wilson, Ibid. See also Sanders A. Laubenthal, A History of John Hay
Air Base, p.7.
4
Heirs of Mateo and Bayosa Carino foundation, The Carino Case Over Camp John
Hay, p.6.

Cario

229

characters contributed to history they just have not been written


about.
Many dramatic writers say that the process of crafting
characters involves their becoming intimately acquainted with them.
As a writer delivering a historical screenplay, I found the utter truth of
this, and such cannot be helped. I inhabited the selves of men and
women who lived in these hills of Kafagway, Benget, Ipit, Lubas,
Tublay, Itogon, Pukis, Kabayan...some one hundred years ago. As
such, I felt and thought as they might have, and saw in my heart and
mind the very lives they well may have lived, the decisions they had to
make, the motives for those decisions. Such a writing exercise leaves
one obsessed for the duration of the writing and exhausted after. But
with much valuable insight into the characters inhabited, the most
valuable being for me that to recreate these historical figures as
dramatic characters is to understand them as human beings, not just
names reverently or irreverently written about in the books.
Let us now move on to another element of dramatic writing,
Dialogue.
Dialogue is what characters say, the lines they deliver. The
writer crafting dialogue has guidelines to follow. Dialogue has to be
sharp, interesting. It has to move the action forward, it has to be true to
the characters from whose lips dialogue is supposed to emanate. The
writer putting words in the mouths of historical characters also has to
stay true to his honest perception of said players, and only after careful
research into their lives.
It was actually this element of dialogue which prompted an
earlier paper, as I mentioned earlier, which examined what languages
were spoken in Baguio-Benguet at the turn of the last century. That
paper drew the following conclusions, which I now cite as my most
valuable insights as to Dialogue.
1) One hundred years ago in Baguio-Benguet, the lingua franca
was
Nabaloi, and Kankanaey to the north.
language of uplandlowland trade was Iloco.
unreasonable to think

But the

Of course, it is not

that lowland trading partners could likewise handle


some level of
fluency with the Baguio-Benguet languages.

230

The Process of Dramatic Writing

2) Between Spanish-speaking Ilustrados and Baguio-Benguet


clansmen, the languages were the native languages,
Spanish,
and Iloco, with lowland
occasional Spanish-

interpreters

and

the

speaking native clansman probably playing a big


role.
3) When American forces arrive in Naguilian, Trinidad, and
Kafagway,
they might have had with them Spanish speakers
among their ranks,
and might have used them to communicate with
locals who in turn
spoke Iloco or the Baguio-Benguet languages to the
native clansmen.5
Thus, to make my characters speak, I had to know, before the
hand, what language/s each one of them spoke. Such a study also
involved closely examining, when available, written works by these
historic personages. When it was dramatically possible, the words I
put in their mouths were those they themselves had put on paper.

Plot
In simplest terms, plot answers the dramatists question What
happens?
(The historian has to answer the question What
happened?) The writer, further, concerns her/himself with answering
the question in terms of a story with three parts: a beginning, a middle,
and an end. The beginning of a play or screenplay is traditionally its
exposition, when setting and characters are introduced and explained.
The middle of the story is generally called the action, where the actual
story plays out, more particularly, plays out in terms of conflict. The
ending, of course, is the resolution of this conflict.
The writer, then, who is reconstructing a plot from the events
of history can be predisposed to researching history with these
elements in mind. The screenwriter writing a historical screenplay is
also busy looking for plotpoints, those spots in a plot when something
happens to move the story forward.

Linda Grace Cario

Cario

231

A Voice From the Mountain deals with the legal battle over a
property undertaken by a native Ibaloi chieftain a century or so ago
against the mighty U.S. Army and the government which backs it.
Based on what happened, the plot for Voice runs as follows. The native
chieftain is in 1901 granted possessory title over his said property, 1901
being a time an Insular Government has been set up by the United
States in the Philippine Islands, after the United States annex said
islands. In 1903, the chieftain applies to register his property with the
Land Registration Court in Benguet. After which, in this same year, the
United States proclaims the property a military reservation. The U.S
also legislates in 1903 that Benguet is exempt from land registration,
can you believe it. Still, the Land Registration Court in 1904 rules in
the chieftains favor, over and above the objections of the U.S. Army.
The Insular Government then takes the case to a Benguet Court of First
Instance, where the government wins. The chieftain and his lawyers
elevate the case to the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands, and
again, they lose. They elevate it even higher, to the Supreme Court of
the United States, where, finally, an American Justice in 1909 pens the
decision in favor of the native chieftain, in a legal promulgation where
the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the doctrine of native title. 6
You can see that I got lucky. The plot line I have just related is
tailor-made for conflict and conflict resolution, respectively, what
comprise the second and third acts of a play or a screenplay. And
certainly I had interesting enough a setting and characters to make for
a good beginning, or first act. The truth is, in terms of insight into
history from crafting plot, I am convinced that any historical account
contains a plot which can be explored and dissected in terms of action
and resolution.
In conclusion, I am further convinced that any historical
account is what might be called a story outline. It contains the barest
bones of a tale. The elements of dramatic writing then make the history
come alive in terms a story made more real, perhaps, when we ask the
questions a dramatic writer asks. For example, look at this account of
an 1899 incident from the history of Benguet:
An atake on the cabecera itself was attempted during the
incumbency of the last resident Spanish Governor. The plan was
known and supported by all of Benguet. Headmen of everyvillage
from Tuba to Kabayan brought in their men for a surprise and final
overthrow of the Spaniards. The revolutionists were assembled in

Supreme Court of the United States, Philippine Appeals: 212 U.S. 449. See also
Philippine Reports: 7 Philippines 32, 41 Philippines 935.

232

The Process of Dramatic Writing

groups at strategic places around the mountain rim of the valley,


awaiting a signal to converge upon the presidencia at nightfall.
A treacherous giveaway shout from among themselves aborted the
plan. Taking advantage of nightfall, the Spaniards charged at the
nearest group, commenced firing and hitting and wounding a
number of insurrectos, among them Sungduan of Tuba. Caught
unaware, confused and disheartened, the groups retreated to
consider how best to even the odds in their favor of what would have
to be a fight between bolos and rifles 7

Like I stated earlier, such a historical account comprises the


barest bones of a story. Now ask about setting by answering the
question Where is this happening? What valley? Ask further, How
did this place look? Then explore character. Who are these
headmen, who is Sungduan? Next, study dialogue, what language/s
they are speaking. That treacherous shout, what language is it in?
Spanish, Iloco, Nabaloi, something else? In the shooting, what
language/s are these characters reacting with? After dialogue, think
about plot. And beyond it. For instance, how is this attack planned
before it is executed? Where is it planned? What happens after, does
everyone just walk away, do they decide to stay and fight the rifles
with the bolos?
Seeking answers to such questions is integral to the art of
dramatic writing. The answers arrived at after scrutinizing history
closely are what makes the history come alive. Because the scrutiny
and a writers projection of what might have happened is what causes
characters to be born again, so to speak, from a given point and place in
time. In short, the exercise of dramatic writing enables the writer to
see, think, feel, hear into the bare bones of what currently and staidly
passes for history.
For this writer, it is the application of the elements of dramatic
writing in search of the movie set against Baguio-Benguet history that,
somehow, can make me say: Heres what, in great probability, really
happened.

p.185.

Anavic Bagamaspad and Zenaida Hamada-Pawid, A Peoples History of Benguet,

Cario

233

References
Books
Bagamaspad, Annavic and Zenaida Hamada-Pawid. A Peoples History
of Benguet. Baguio, Philippines: Baguio Printing and
Publishing Company, Inc., 1985.
Barcelona, Santiago and Simeon Villa. Aguinaldos Odyssey. Manila:
1963.
Cordero-Fernando, Gilda. Turn of the Century. Quezon City: GFC
Books, 1978.
Catron, Louis E., The Elements of Playwriting. New York: Macmillan
Publishing Co., 1993.
De Los Reyes, Angelo J. and M. Aloma (eds.). Igorot, A People Who
Daily Touch Earth and Sky, Volume II. Baguio: Cordillera
Schools Group, 1986.
Egri, Lajos. The Art of Dramatic Writing. New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1972.
Fry, Howard. A History of the Mountain Province. Quezon City: New
Day Publishers, 1983.
Grunder, Garel A. and William Livezey. The Philippines and the United
States. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1957.
Gutierrez, Lazaro P. Baguio and Benguet in the Making. Baguio: Summer
Capital Publishing House, 1955.
Kalaw, T. M. The Philippine Revolution. Mandaluyong: Jorge B. Vargas
Filipiniana Foundation, 1969.
Karnow, Stanley. In Our Image. Manila: National Book Store, 1989.
Laubenthal, Sanders A. A History of John Hay Air Base. Hawaii: United
States Air Force, 1981.
Licuanan, Virginia, B. Filipinos and Americans. 1982.
Marcos, Ferdinand E. Tadhana, 1976.
Perez, Angel. Igorots. University of the Philippines College at Baguio
Cordillera Studies Center, 1988.
Press, Skip. Writers Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors, and
Screenwriters Agents. California: Prima Publishing, 1997.

234

The Process of Dramatic Writing

Quirino, Carlos, Whos Who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan


Books, 1995.
Reed, Robert R. City of Pines: the Origins of Baguio as a Colonial Hill Station
and Regional Capital. Berekely, California: Center for South and
Southeast Asia Studies, University of California, 1976.
Scott, William H. Cracks in the Parchment Curtain and Other Essays in
Philippine History. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1982.
Scott, William H. History on the Cordillera. Baguio: Baguio Printing
and Publishing Co., Inc., 1975.
Scott, William H. Notes on the History of the Mountain Provinces.
University of the Philippines College at Baguio Cordillera
Studies Center.
Scott, William H. The Discovery of the Igorots. Quezon City: New Day,
1974.
Scott, William H. (ed). German Travellers on the Cordillera. Manila:
Filipiniana Book Guild, 1975.
Trottier, David. The Screenwriters Bible. California: The Screenwriting
Center, 1995.
Tolentino, Delfin (ed.). Resistance and Revolution in the Cordillera.
University of the Philippines College At Baguio Cordillera
Studies Center, 1994.
Vogler, Christopher. The Writers Journey. California: Michael Weise
Productions, 1992.
Wilson, Lawrence Lee. Igorot Mining Methods and Legends. University of
the Philipines College at Baguio Cordillera Studies Center.
Wilson, Lawrence Lee. The Skyland of the Philippines. Baguio: Bookman,
Inc.,1965.

Other Sources
Cario, Joanna K. The Carinos and Baguio-Benguet History, Folio1
Series 3 and Folio 2 Series 4 (monographs). Baguio: University
of the Philippines College at Baguio Cordillera Studies Center,
1984.

Cario

235

Cario, Linda Grace. Say What? Examining What Languages Were


Spoken in the Baguio-Benguet Area at the Turn of the Last
Century. Paper delivered on February 5, 2000 at a
Roundtable Series Discussion jointly presented by the
Cordillera Studies Center and The Humanities Division,
University of the Philippines College at Baguio.
Florendo, Maria Nela. The Cordillera and the Revolution, Baguio
Midland Courier (April 26, 1998).
Giron, Ruby. Ibaloi Participation in the Revolt Against Spain, Baguio
Midland Courier (April 27, 1997).
Heirs of Mateo and Bayosa CarinoFoundation, Inc. The Carino Case
Over Camp John Hay (published position paper). Baguio: Heirs
of Mateo and Bayosa Carino Foundation, Inc., 1992.
Philippine Reports: 7 Philippines 32, 41 Philippines 935
Prill-Brett, June. Ibaloy Costomary Law on Land Resources (monograph).
University of the Philippines College at Baguio Cordillera
Studies Center, 1992.
Pungayan, E.L. An Unsavory Reminder of a Buried Ibaloi Past, Saint
Louis Research Journal (June, 1985).
Rood, Steven. Protecting Ancestral Land in the Cordillera. Quezon City:
University of the Philippines Press and the Center for
Integrative and Development Studies, 1994.
Supreme Court of the United States, Philippine Appeals: 212 U.S. 449
Tapang, B.P. Jr. The Ibaloy Cattle Enterprise in Benguet (monograph).
University of the Philippines College At Baguio Cordillera
Studies Center, 1985.
Encarta and Worldbook Encyclopediae

Authors Name: LINDA CARIO


Address: Humanities Division
University of the Philippines College Baguio
2600 Baguio City
E-mail Address: wrighter@millionaire.com
lindagracexc@hotmail.com
Telephone No.: 305-1795

236

Towards Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera

COMMENTARIES

238

Towards Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera

Reaction on the Autonomy Issue


Edna Tabanda
Autonomy is the answer to complaints against national policy
affecting all concerns in the Cordillera.
The different studies shared by the researchers are, indeed,
very relevant in the development of our community. Many of these
studies have enriched my limited knowledge. We are very thankful for
your generosity in sharing with us the products of your hard work. I
believe that before coming to this conference, many of us, including
myself, are still wanting of a clear and better understanding of the
autonomy issue.
In the paper presentations of Dr. Casambre and Mrs. Pawid
entitled Failure of Autonomy in the Cordillera and Prospects of
Autonomy in the Cordillera, I think that we have, more or less, as far
as I am concerned, a clearer picture, a better perspective of the
autonomy issue; and hopefully open our hearts and minds to a
continuous discourse on regional autonomy.
There are several reasons for the failure of autonomy. I would
like to go back to the main issues cited in Dr. Casambres paper, to
which I agree. One is the disjuncture between concepts of autonomy of
the different groups. The ideas and thoughts of the elders and the other
sectors were marginalized because these consultations were usually
dominated by professionals or politicians. The wisdom of the elders
was not even recognized.
Another was the limited period for information campaign. In
1990, we found out that the process was rushed to the detriment of a
better, broader and wider scope of the process of information
dissemination. And then there was the fear of the other tribes,
particularly in Benguet, of the bodong practice as well as the apathy of
people towards autonomy due to ignorance. Another is that autonomy
was equated with the late Fr. Balweg because of his reputation as an
NPA leader. What about honest-to-goodness multi-sectoral
consultation? What about the influential political leaders who were
anti-autonomy? For example, the late Governor Ben Palispis and
Dangwa. They were so influential that people believed them. So, when
they went campaigning, people listened to them and people did not
want to leave them anymore. Others were mis-informed. Kunada pay ket
Awan, a. No adda ti autonomy, sikayo nga teachers, saan kayo nga
suweldoan ti national; saan nga kaya ti local. No ag-autonomy tayo a ket awan
dayta baboy mo, manok mo -ma-tax-an. Awanen, a. No maki-mix tayo iti

240

Reaction on the Autonomy Issue

dadduma nga provinces, didiay resources, makibingay da? ((They even


said: If there is autonomy, you, teachers, will not be paid your salaries
by the national [government]; and the local [government unit] will not
be able to do the same. If there is autonomy, your pig and chickens will
be taxed. If we will mix with the other provinces, they will share our
resources. Are the other provinces willing to share their resources with
us?
There is also the loss of trust and confidence of the people, in
many of the officials in the Cordillera bodies because of their internal
bickerings. Nauma dan nga awan maar-aramid. (They are fed up because
nothing is being accomplished.) This caused the rejection of the second
organic act. And another this played a major role in the rejection the
referendum coincided with the election. And during our campaign, we
were afraid because many were saying Apay ngay nga ag-kamkampanya
panggep autonomy? (Why are you campaigning about autonomy?)
Let us just concentrate on the outcome of the candidates. There were
really many who were against autonomy. And if you talked about
autonomy, people would not vote for you.
Another is the implementation of the local government code. I
do not know if it will affect the renewal of our pursuit for autonomy. I
feel that among our political leaders, kasla nga mas kay-kayatda pay didiay
(it seems that they prefer this) Adu unay ti hassle na (It involves too
many hassles) if you campaign for autonomy. Let us be clear about the
concept, the process that we have to undertake.
The paper of Ms. Pawid is very much inter-related with the
paper of Dr. Casambre. However, she delved more on the prospect of
autonomy. She believes that there is no dead end to the autonomy
dream. She said that this is a reality. It is in the Constitution and we
really have to pursue it; not to conform but to comply with the
provision of the Constitution that there has to be an establishment of
an autonomous region in the Cordillera. And she says that autonomy is
a process. It cannot be achieved in just one sitting. That was more than
10 years. So, how long will it take us to again to pursue another organic
act for the Cordillera Region? We share the optimism of Mrs. Pawid
and Dr. Casambre but this optimism must be accompanied by action.
If, indeed, we clamor for identity, the promotion and preservation of
our culture, the development of our own natural resources, recognition
of our ancestral lands and domains, etc. and all these that we are
talking about the development of our Region, what are we doing and
continue to do to achieve this dream for autonomy? As educators, as
church leaders, as elders, as political leaders, researchers, as youth
leaders or as ordinary citizens, are we willing to repudiate the biases,

Tabanda

241

prejudices, discrimination, little jealousies, the partisanship within us?


Are we willing to come down from our ivory towers, if we have one?
And did we go to the farthest barangays and immerse ourselves with
them and learn the problems for us to be able to get their sentiments
and reflect them in this organic act if we really want to pursue such?
When we talk about the process, we have identified the reasons
for the failure of autonomy and we have come up with
recommendations. One is to establish a dynamic relationship with our
congressmen and senators. There was a complaint that the two organic
acts were watered down by Congress so that the sentiments that were
embodied in its version of the Organic Act were not really reflective of
the true sentiments of the people of the Cordilleras.
What about the socio-economic changes in our communities?
The problem of poverty where women are mostly affected? Trafficking
of women? There are indigenous women who are involved in this.
Child labor? What are we doing about it? Violence against women?
Surprisingly, there are many cases of physical abuse. HIV-AIDS, STD?
There are already cases. But because of the sensitive nature of these
STD diseases, they are not being discussed.
And what about
globalization and its effects?
And another is, what are we doing about existing bills filed by
some of our Cordillera congressmen? What are we doing about it?
Have we been consulted by our congressmen?
So, ladies and gentlemen, as a reactor, I cannot give all the
answers. I cannot give all the recommendations. But I believe if we will
put our act together, we, as a group, can provide the answers. Thank
you very much.

Authors Name: EDNA TABANDA


Address: Abanse Pinay
Baguio-Benguet Chapter
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Telephone No.: 442-3221

Reaction on Local Institutions:


Common Grounds in Diversity
Ma. Elena Regpala
UNIQUE, PARTICULAR, DIVERSE but COMMON . . . These
are some of the words that characterize the local institutions of the
peoples of the Cordillera as they adjust to a changing world, where
their existence as a people are challenged by imperialist globalization
in the form of mines, dams and the cash economy, to name a few.
The interplay of internal and external factors influences the
transformation, decline and persistence of local institutions. In this
light, most of us realize that local institutions in the Cordillera can still
contribute to a better world for the future of our children.
All six papers presented under the theme local institutions
carry these underlying common thread and concern, but at different
levels of meaning.
Azurins contribution is his view of Igorot identity rooted in
territorial domain, traditional worldview and memory. In explaining
this, he uses the ideas and gene/meme prism of cognitive science as
propagated by Dawkins, Pinker, Diamond and Dennet. He suggests
that clear categories in establishing identity and ethnicity of peoples of
the Cordillera must be made. He further asserts that in the heart of
labeling groups is power play in the control of resources within their
territory.
Finin agrees with other scholars on Cordillera studies who
suggest that there is much that can be learned from the pre-colonial
past such as local institutions of decision-making by consensus. This
can be applied to benefit post-colonial Cordillera society such as the
Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA) in its law-making processes. In
comparison, a positive case of incorporating local institutions, such as
the council of elders in higher levels of governance, is the experience of
the Yap people of the Federal States of Micronesia. The council of
elders are recognized and are given veto power to any matter within
their realm of authority over tradition.
Ciencias contribution on notions of justice in the Cordillera
suggests that there is no single concept of justice uniformly shared in
the Cordillera. Another important insight is the concept of offense and
the concept of remedy/punishment, where offense is against a
collectivity and not merely on an individual. Therefore, if the fault of
one individual is the fault of the whole kinship group/village, then the

Regpala

243

whole kinship group/village should be punished alongside the


individuals.
De Raedts contribution is his assertion that rape and the death
penalty are culturally intimately related. To support his assertion, he
presents the frequency and distribution of the crime and exposes it as
the worst crime against women. He discusses the popular reasons
given for the crime and cultural reasons of privileged ascendancy
underlying this and other heinous crimes. He views popular opinion
and current law as overkill reactions to the crime of rape. He, thus,
proposes for the death penalty of the most notorious and guilty
offenders by public execution as the adequate means of instilling and
reinforcing the evils of the crime and as an effective deterrent to both
potential offenders and the population at large.
Enkiwe-Abayaos contribution is on Mayaoyao ethnomedicine.
The healing techniques and perspectives of the traditional health
specialists in Mayaoyao are rooted in the understanding of a traditional
religious system. Her paper reminds us that part of the peoples
worldview incorporates a world of unseen ancestral spirits, deities and
gods that affect the peoples health.
Jeffremovas contribution is a presentation of the case of the
Sagada Igorot agro-ecological system and the impact of cash crop
production on this system and the role of tenure on land use and
sustainable practice. She uses the case to illustrate the dangers of an
essential argument when looking at women, indigenous groups and
the environment. She adds that class and gender are important
considerations in the analysis of environmental management.
Most of the papers contribute towards understanding the
diversity of local institutions in the Cordillera as it is imbedded in a
particular Cordillera society and culture. Hopefully, this
understanding can help shape a better world for the coming
generations of Filipinos.

Authors Name: MA. ELENA REGPALA


Address: Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera, Inc.
Loro Street, Dizon Subdivision
2600 Baguio City, Philippines
Telephone No.: 912-3043731

244

Towards Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera

M ODERATOR S
RE P O R T

246

Towards Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera

On Governance
Moderator: Alejandro Ciencia, Jr.

In his aptly titled paper, Steven Rood addresses the


relationship between theoretical work on local governance and its
practical application.
Since 1986, his research work has focused
primarily on two topics: autonomy and local governance. Rood tends
to characterize his work on autonomy as largely theoretical while his
local governance projects were for the most part practical.
Inasmuch as progress towards autonomy necessitates
intellectual clarity, work on autonomy is theoretical. Work on local
governance meanwhile, is practical for the improvement of LGUs is
undeniably a practical concern.
Still, Rood argues that theory and practice are, in reality,
inseparable. It is actual understanding that we use when we apply.
Reiterating Gadamer, he asserts that understanding (theory) and
application (practice) are just different moments of the same thing.
Reviewing past CSC researches on local governance, Rood
insists that academic researches undeniably have practical implications
and these practical concerns have, likewise, engendered theoretical
pursuits. Again, theory and practice are intertwined but with different
emphasis.
In his paper, Arellano Colongon evaluates the progress of
decentralization in the Philippines with particular emphasis on the
Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). Focusing on three aspects of
decentralization, namely (1) Revenue Generation, (2) Social Services,
and (3) Citizen Participation, Colongon addresses the question of how
far decentralization has been implemented in the Philippines.
While a discussion on decentralization in the Cordillera will
unavoidably raise questions about regional autonomy, Colongon
clarifies that he focused primarily on the provisions of the Local
Government Code which have a bearing on autonomy and not on the
provisions of the autonomy bills.
Stressing that the decentralization is tied to the subject matter
of local governance, Colongon argues that advances in decentralization
have in fact contributed to the improvement of local governance.
In the open forum, certain comments were aired, most of
which can be viewed as new research directions on the subject matter
of decentralization, autonomy, and local governance:

248

On Governance

1.

the issue of revenue generation must not only be seen in


terms of the ability of LGUs to avail of the Internal
Revenue Allocation (IRA) for LGUs need. To be more
financially independent, other sources of revenue must be
studied;

2.

studies on decentralization must not be limited to an


analysis of the interaction between national and local units.
The dynamics of the horizontal interaction between
government agencies and between contiguous barangays
must also be scrutinized;

3.

the problem of low tax collection must be examined


alongside issues pertaining to efficient ways of generating
non-tax revenue. The issue of tax collection must also be
studied in relation to the political issue where local leaders
do not pursue aggressive tax collection efforts because
taxes drive away voters.

4.

the issue of conflicts between traditional and political


boundaries must be addressed for these delineations have
an effect on the IRA levels;

5.

the devolution of the functions of the department of


education needs to be examined closely;

6.

the limits of the Philippine Constitution need to be


examined in relation to autonomy. While autonomy is
subject to the Constitution, it has been argued that there is
a lot more room in the Constitution to accommodate varied
concepts of autonomy.

DISCUSSIO NS

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Towards Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera

DISCUSSIONS
Cordillera Autonomy
Organic Act for an Autonomous Cordillera Region
Jose Alangwawi (Saint Louis University): After the two lectures on
Autonomy, I think most of you are aware and accept that
autonomy should be pursued here in the Cordillera. However,
one speaker said that there are some provisions in the organic
act that people disapprove of.
Another said that the
deliberation was a very long process. My question is: how
should the organic act be constituted and what provisions
should be included before we act on it?
Athena Lydia Casambre [University of the Philippines College
Baguio (UPCB)]: In order to have a genuine organic act for an
autonomous region, the content must be specific to the object.
The two organic acts, as I said, are schizophrenic. On the one
hand, there are provisions that can be found in any local
autonomy bill. On the other hand, you have the provisions
that acknowledge the fact that it is for an area which is
presumed to have a common and distinct heritage.
My particular contribution is to say that people have to be
sensitive to the text. We have to pay attention to what is in
there and who is saying what.
First, there must be
consciousness about the past. We cannot rely on the members
of the Philippine Bar to draft an organic act simply because this
is a piece of legislation. I know that my point is very
theoretical. What I am saying is, for a genuine organic act for
an autonomous region, we always have to focus on what it is
that justifies an autonomous Cordillera region. Picking up
ideas from anthropological studies, I say that there are three
areas: 1) land rights, 2) resource management, and 3) conflict
resolution. Those must be at the center. The question is: what
does an autonomous region do toward these three things? And
everything else should follow from that, and not just
acknowledge that these things exist.
In addition, as
academicians, what we need is innovative thinking. We cannot
stick to the old conventions of designing a government and
asking: what does the executive department look like? What
does the legislative department look like? And what does the
judicial department look like? We have to be innovative and I

252

Discussions

gave the example of the Legal Rights Commissions (LRC)


attempt to be innovative saying that, in fact, we have to change
the very definition of what is a constituent unit of an
autonomous region. We cannot just have provinces and cities
that approve because then you are stuck with provinces and
cities that are defined according to the national system. It
would take a lot of time and fortune. I think it cannot be done
very swiftly. I do agree with Ms. Pawid that we have to go
down to the people.
Zenaida Hamada Pawid (Bontoc-Lagawe Vicariate): Early on, during
the formation of the Cordillera Regional Consultative Council
(CRCC), there was a long and heated debate as to whether the
organic act should be textual or should be a process. Many of
those who were on the outside were marginalized in the
debate. The organic act should be a process through which
autonomy may be achieved. Unfortunately, that idea got lost.
Like I said, the CPA, CPLA, etc., were marginalized in the
debate. What happened was, they took hold of the organic act
of some State and tried to integrate it here. It is not easy. The
abject failure of the ARMM is a lesson for the CAR on the
matter. We should see that putting up structures and placing
people who never participated in the discourse of autonomy
will not lead us anywhere. If we are just looking at autonomy
as a meeting on who should be the commissioner, who should
be the representative of which group we lose the whole
essence of autonomy. The other thing which I would like to
forward is: it is not true that the people do not understand.
The NO vote was not just a vote dictated by the politician. In
fact, the second NO vote, to my mind, was a much more
informed reaction of the Cordillera people that this is their
definition of what is autonomy. So they know what it is.
Putting it together is easier said than done. We should rather
focus on the aspects of the local government code that already
constitute the beginning of autonomy.
What is in the
Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) that constitutes some
definitions of autonomy? Let us start from there. Let us not go
back to RA 6766 and RA 8438 again; put them together, and
then just change the text of the sections and the articles.
Maybe, if we look at it that way, we will get somewhere.
The other point I would like to make is: I would like to see the
day when we see people giving way. Oftentimes, when

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253

autonomy is discussed the ambition of the people is to get a


position, to get into office. Instead of people being allowed to
participate in the discourse, there is already a grant of
authority from the national government even at the beginning
of the whole autonomy process saying, You are authorized to
write the organic act. Everybody else outside is not
authorized. When this happens, we are in trouble. Maybe
what we should really look at, as Cordillerans, is that with or
without the constitutional provision, there is a lot of agreement
on the ground. We should now recognize that such processes
could be found even in the Local Government Code, in the
IPRA or in anything we do as individuals or as an institution.

Local Autonomy vs. Regional Autonomy


A. L. Casambre: I think that perhaps in order to clarify the project of
autonomy, we should separate the project of local autonomy
from the project of regional autonomy because there is an
argument from improved local governance based on greater
local autonomy. There is in fact a local autonomy as a
principle and is part of the policy of the state. If we say, all
right, let us work on that local autonomy and assure that its
there, then we can see how we can make it work; how local
governance with greater autonomy can work. Then we can
identify thereafter what is it that is still required beyond this
local autonomy in order to say that this is what we want. This
is Cordillera regional autonomy. I am afraid that there is this
compounding of these two projects. Therefore, if we can
separate local from regional autonomy then we can make an
argument toward Cordillera regional autonomy. Only then can
we have a clear argument on why we need to concretize the
constitutional provision.
Edna Tabanda (Abanse Pinay, Baguio-Benguet): Why do we have to
have Cordillera autonomy if we have the Local Government
Code?
Z. Pawid: When you go out and talk about autonomy, people come
back and tell you that there is local autonomy in the Local
Government Code. The problem is, their notion of local
government autonomy is not even known by the barangay
captain, the municipal mayor, or the governor. Over and
beyond local government autonomy, there is the need for
Cordillera autonomy. The problem is, we are mixing local
governance the way it is in a system that is national with

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something we are trying to create that has no precedent. And


when we do that, we get confused.

Cordillera Regional Autonomy and Federalism


Philip Tinggonong (Provincial Planning and Development Office,
Abra): Is it possible to obtain Cordillera regional autonomy via
federalism, if the Philippine Republic is federalized?
A. L. Casambre: There is no guarantee. I am arguing from a very
theoretical point of view. They have to be very clear with our
theory of Cordillera Autonomy. They have to be very clear
about trying to concretize a political situation that we truly
believe must exist which honors a common Cordillera cultural
heritage.
P. Tinggonong: I used to be part of a group that talked often about
Cordillera regional autonomy. At one point, we were thinking
of federalism as a way of attaining Cordillera autonomy. The
problem is, it is not embodied in the Constitution. Therefore,
we have to limit ourselves to such parameters like Cordillera
autonomy and Muslim Mindanao autonomy.

The Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) and


Land Rights
Willy Leano (Department of Agrarian Reform): Regarding CLOA,
ewan ko kung bakit nag-aaway and DAR and DENR sa mga
instrumentong binibigay.
Personally, I feel bad.
Ang
importante sa akin ay ang improvement of the quality of life of
the people in that particular land, not the title of the land.
Z. Pawid: The CLOA proceeds from a national land system; it is part of
a social reform agenda and a land tenure instrument that does
away with large landed estates. There are no such large landed
estates in the Cordillera. There is this misnomer that a CLOA
is given to a person simply because DENR classified a certain
area in the locality as alienable and disposable. It would be
good if DAR, DENR, and NCIP sat together and determined
which matters relate to the national legal system and which are
really, truly, indigenous Cordillera. As we are saying, we are
community-based for the agrarian reform, delivering basic
social services that are absent in some areas or communities
without the necessity of the CLOA.
A real Cordillera
autonomy should take into consideration both the legal
national structure and the indigenous practice that is

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255

prevailing because practices differ throughout the Cordillera.


There are areas for example like Benguet where people aim for
individual titles to their lands. The problem is that some of
these are located in a national park. Unless the government
addresses this, we can talk about autonomy and land tenure
instruments until kingdom come and nothing will ever be
done for the farmer. In the meantime, the projects come, the
projects go. The land tenure instruments are awarded, they are
transferred, and they are mortgaged to the bank and never
paid for anyway.

Autonomy From the Point of View of the Community


Maria Nela Florendo (UPCB): I am sure that many researches have
been done on autonomy. I am going to ask how autonomy
should be captured from the point of view of the community or
respondents. How could we ever phrase the question when
we ask, what is autonomy? What is not yet known about
autonomy considering the researches that have been done and
how should these be asked?
Z. Pawid: Let us take for example the notion of land tenurial systems.
You can go around the Cordillera and try to explain to the
people what Dr. June Brett has been saying (on property rights)
in her paper since she started writing. Part of me understands
the tenurial system of this government, but part of me also sees
that such does not apply below. There is this large volume of
work that Dr. Brett has generated yet the people down below
are not aware of this. This is a challenge to the academe to
bring researches down to the people in order to be able to
validate what they are saying.
A. L. Casambre: Here is another thing to think about. What do we not
know about autonomy yet? What is there about autonomy that
does not yet exist? For instance, is the desire for autonomy
already there at the grassroots? If you say the word is not
there for them, then it does not exist. Study the people in the
village and listen to the way they make an account of
themselves or their social life and then try and articulate a
definition of autonomy that you can bring down to them that
they can understand. It is not as if there are things there that
we do not know yet, maybe there are things that are not yet
there. The justification for an autonomous Cordillera Region
would still take a long time.

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Discussions

Leilene Marie Carantes (National Commission on Indigenous


Peoples): I see the issue on autonomy as well as other laws
being implemented in the Cordillera like the IPRA. Now I
realize that the more we go into discussions on this law or this
administrative order being implemented in the Cordilleras, the
more Cordillerans are confused, especially at the grassroots
level. What I think should be emphasized is that with or
without the law, we always have to start from the grassroots
level. However, that is something that has not been realized by
the government in terms of practice. Many other agencies that
have been working for a long time in the Cordillera say that the
IPRA law is a dead law. I realized that we have to document
what is happening in the area and we need a lot of assistance
from the academe, in terms of doing this research. Our staff is
unskilled. I do not blame them because going to the areas to
document and do research has never been the thrust of the
ONCC. Therefore, we really need that kind of assistance from
the CSC and the academe.
Carol Brady (UPCB): It is very significant to realize that autonomy is
something that develops in practice.
In the practice of
autonomy, there is a necessary assumption by the people of a
natural power that is guaranteed by our Constitution. That
process of empowerment is something that needs to be
addressed in terms of practice. I think when we talk about
translating research into terms which local people themselves
can understand, we must also talk about translating these into
terms that the governors, the officials of the government must
understand. I am impressed with the last part of the paper
which was read which says that the anthropologically
grounded is not a discipline but it is a concept which is
grounded in truth and in practice.
Virginia Abiad (UPCB): You suggested that the research results be
brought down to the grassroots level.
What specific
suggestions or key ideas from researches should be brought
down to the grassroots levels?
Z. Pawid: The government conducts on an average, as far as I can see
from Bontoc, 1-3 day training sessions every week with an
average of 30 people and absolutely none of these (things) are
discussed in these fora. Administrative orders - these are all
that they talk about in government. They never talk about
what is more important.

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257

The other is the program of Pahinungod. I think certain areas


in the Cordillera are very open to the University of the
Philippines. I hardly see the Pahinungod making its mark on
the ground. There are schools and teachers in the Cordillera
who are just waiting for this kind opportunity. However, it is
not there.
Ponciano Bennagen: The debate on autonomy started in the 1970s, in
terms of political-legal terms. The movement introduced this
from both the legal system and the local struggle since the antifascist dictatorship. The catch phrase involved here is the
right to self-determination. I think the debate on autonomy
preceded from here. Take note that it dealt only with two
regions, in the North and in the South. Both experienced
historical injustice.
The notion of collective self of the
Cordillera is part of the struggle. So, in that sense, we have to
take these two points in mind as we develop a research agenda
for CSC.
Steve Rood (Asia Foundation): Commissioner Escuna said that in
essence, the autonomous act could exempt the autonomous
region from any national law, which is subject to the
Constitution. An autonomous act that expanded as far as
possible within the constitution was never offered to the voters
of the Cordillera. There is a lot more room for innovation in the
constitution than most people would think. It depends on the
jurisprudence but the jurisprudence goes both ways. So while
its true that the constitution does impose limits, weve never
come close to those limits.

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Discussions

Governance
Local Governance
P. Tinonggong: In dynamic inter-governmental relations, the focus is
more on the relationships between local governments and the
national government.
We have yet to see contiguous
municipalities in any of the uplands pooling their equipment. I
have yet to see LGUs in municipalities that are contiguous to
build their commercial centers. We do not have that in the
Cordillera. But the power given by the LGC should be there,
whether it is in agricultural support system or infrastructure or
in health and social services. So that is one that should be
explored.
I would like to bring up your studys focus on finance. You
mentioned that in Abra, the Governor and the provincial
treasurer told you that there is a task force to collect real
property taxes. I think you should have asked them how much
the province or the LGU is spending to collect one peso of real
property tax. I say this because in the context of the Cordillera,
one of the bloody things that you will have to do to
revolutionize your financial generation program is to collect
real property taxes. Why? Because we do not have so many
urban centers like Bangued, La Trinidad, Baguio or Bontoc. So
most of these rural communities of municipalities have to rely
on real property taxes. But do you know how much the LGU
is spending? Look at the budget of the Assessors office. Look
at the budget of the Treasurers office. Our calculation at the
PPDO is that, more or less, we spend from 35 to 45 pesos to
collect one peso. You go to other LGUs. I think it will be the
same. So I think the heart of the LGUs should not be the
Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). These local taxes should be
emphasized.
Arellano Colongon, Jr. (UPCB): I agree with you about LGUs having
to attempt to move out of this cycle of dependency on the IRA.
Thank you for the information. That could be part of the things
to be explored to make sure that there is more efficiency in
revenue generation for the LGU.

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259

Intergovernmental Relations
E. Tabanda: In La Trinidad, there are four barangays that help each
other. For example, we have the Halan Integrated Rural
Development Project. It is an integrated agricultural project.
We were to develop a barangay in Bakun, and help nearby
Alapang and Alno with irrigation. They have organized
themselves into cooperatives. Another objective is water for
domestic use. Tawang and the nearby barangays, which do not
have a water source for domestic use, are covered by this
project. The cooperative is being maintained by collecting
money from the recipient households. Another example is the
cut flower growers who organized themselves into
cooperatives. They have a truck, which is scheduled to gather
all the flowers from one to three barangays and bring them to
Baguio or to Manila. The resources come from them.
A. Colongon, Jr.: This is additional information. This points to the
possibility of intergovernmental relations at the barangay level.
They may be at a limited scale but at least they show some
prospects.

Tax and Boundary Issues


L. Carantes: In the short time that I have been with the NCIP, I have
had problems with the delineation of ancestral domains, which
was done by the DENR. When we go to the area the people
complain that the extent of their domain goes beyond the
political boundary. However, the Local Government Unit also
complains that if they go beyond the political boundary, it will
affect their IRA. So those are the problems, which have been
caused by the delineation process. Now the conflict is
between the LGUs and the elders.
A. Colongon, Jr.: That is really a very complicated matter, the political
boundaries vis--vis the cultural boundaries of the domain.
There is no quick and clean solution to that problem. All the
stakeholders should have a say not simply consulted in
meetings. I heard from officials themselves that taxes are good
sources of revenues. But it is not always politically wise to do
this because taxes drive away the people.
S. Rood: A question has been asked in a number of different surveys.
This is whether people believe that they need to pay more
taxes in order to get better services or would the money just be
wasted or stolen. And there is a correlation between the

260

Discussions

satisfaction with the LGU and their belief that they have to pay
more taxes. Prof. Colongon remembers that there is that
correlation at the local and national levels. Satisfaction can
drive people to pay more taxes.
Question: You said that the indigenous institutions should be
incorporated or should be practiced in local governance. The
problem is that we have the Constitution. Therefore, unless we
change the Constitution, real regional autonomy will not come
because some indigenous laws are contradictory to the
National Law.

Decentralization of Education
P. Bennagen: I have not heard anything on education. Im trying to
look at some of the themes that came up since yesterday, like
the revival of local institutions, reclaiming indigenous
knowledge, learning and unlearning, etc. I am convinced that
the focal institution would be the educational system. I have
also asked about the possibility of devolution or
decentralization of education in Visayas and Mindanao. There
seems to be a uniform rejection (of this idea) because of the
experiences with other line agencies that have met problems
with fiscal autonomy. With the upsurge of these demands for
localization, even the educational administrators are
demanding for certain flexibility not just in terms of curricular
changes but also in terms of certain policies. Perhaps DECS
functions should be devolved to the local level.

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261

Local Histories of the Cordillera


Colonialism and the Word Igorot
Ferdinand Aga-id (Upland Development Institute): I would like to
ask your opinion about colonialism and the identity of the
Igorot?
Albert Bacdayan: Colonialism is part of our past. We have to consider
colonialism, especially in terms of our notion of highland
identity.
Who are the Igorots? Well maybe, this has been over discussed
already. The Igorots that is a big issue. Who are the Igorots?
If we look at the meaning of the term Igorot, it refers to
people from the mountains. Therefore, all the people from the
mountains are Igorots. However, when narrowed down, it
would mean people in the Cordillera. That was already quite
common during the Spanish period as evidenced from
documents then. The Ifugaos, for example, were referred to as
Igorots, so were the Kalingans but the Apayao is quite
problematic. I have not seen any specific reference to them
saying they are Igorots. In any case, in 1902, when the
Philippine census was taken, the Americans officially grouped
together everybody in the mountain based on the results of an
ethnological survey in the Cordillera. This region became the
Mt. Province including Apayao.
That is what we are
following.
E. Tabanda: Regarding the debate on the term Igorot, there have
already been changes in the Cordillera region. NCIP identified
the different ethnolinguistic groups. We have the Bontocs,
Ifugaos, Kankana-eys, Kalingas. The term Igorot as an
indigenous or ethnolinguistic group was never included. So,
could you enlighten us why there is this big debate? Why
would Kalingas rather be called Kalingas than Igorots? Many
Ifugaos would like to be called Ifugaos instead of Igorots. In
addition, the Cordillerans now living in the United States still
would like to be called Igorots. There is really a debate
between the people here in the Cordillera and the people
abroad.
A. Bacdayan: Thank you. You are quite aware of the debate going on
among the expats about the term. Your first question is why
there is no ethnolinguistic group that was labeled by the
agency as Igorots. Well, the reason is that the term Igorot is

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Discussions

a synthetic term. It does not refer to any particular group in


the mountains. It applies to everybody. If you have to look at
Igorots in terms of ethnolinguistic groups, you have to look at
the different groups that compose that label. That is the real
beauty to me of the term Igorot. You use the word Igorot
and then you see before your eyes a diversity among the
Kalingas, Bontocs, and Ifugaos. This is really a good thing for
us to look at; to explore autonomy, for example.
Why do the Kalingas and the Ifugaos prefer to be called by
those names? Well, I could look at that in two ways. One of
the things that happened in the Mountain Province as the
Americans were politically trying to control the region is that
they grouped together settlements into separate administrative
units called subprovince. A subprovince was given a leader or
administrator called the lieutenant governor. And this was a
big job - getting people together who never considered
themselves as one. This was a period of romance, I would say,
in terms of the Western man trying to lead the noble savages.
A kind of ownership or membership was developed among the
Ifugaos or Kalingas. These people, however, were also a part
of a bigger entity, politically, the Mt. Province and in a larger
way, ethnically or culturally, I guess, the Igorots. So there
were subprovincial loyalties that developed.
The third element is the stereotype that I had talked about. My
Kalinga friends and I stayed in Kalinga for some time. They
used to tell me that when they were students in Manila, they
used to fight with people who call them Igorots They were
angry at these people who were calling them this dirty name.
My response was, yes, I have been upset, too, by lowlanders in
Manila who showed intolerance but I was not aggrieved
because I know the Igorots. I, for example, was as good and as
bad as they were and that they were simply discriminating
against me out of ignorance. I was not upset by the fact that
they were calling me Igorot. I was angry because their attitude
was not right. They were unkind.
The Igorots in America want the Igorot label because they see it
as the link that unites them together. They see it as a better
label for their group there as a whole than the label
Cordillera, which is a recent term. This is simply because it
is based on territoriality rather than cultural similarity. And
when the Cordillera gets divided, where are the Cordillerans?

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263

Are we going to call them Northern Cordillerans? Southern


Cordillerans? We just call them Igorots and that is simpler.
Whether Cordillera gets divided into 16 provinces or whatever
number, there would always be Igorots.
Philian Weygan (Association of Young Igorot Professionals): I know
that the terms Cordillera and Igorot terms are still being
debated. I would like to go back to what you mentioned about
the stereotypes of the Igorots. How far have the expats
gone to include the definition of the term Igorot in the
Webster dictionary. And how far have we gone into the
rewriting of history?
A. Bacdayan: How far have we gone? I do not think we have gone
very far as far as rewriting our history in order to account for
the event of colonialism. Thats an area that is a challenge to
young Igorots to do to write our history the way it has
developed, that is fair and that is from our own eyes.
Therefore, that is an area of scholarship that needs to be done
by students here who are Igorots or of Igorot descent.
On the definition of the Igorot, an Igorot global organization
met back in September 1999. In addition, a committee was set
to come up with an updated definition of the word Igorot.
And in that meeting, I, myself, expressed the opinion that I
wasnt averse to the word primitive being associated with
the Igorot as long as it will be shown in the definition that the
word has gone beyond primitive. So there is a committee
working on that.
Penelope Domogo (Municipal Health Office, Bontoc): I am Penny
Domogo, a true Igorot doctor from Bontoc, Mt. Province. I was
shocked to see a book used in the elementary school depicting
the Igorots as beggars with a gong. They were used in Bontoc.
And I think something has to be done about this if we really
are to remove the negative images of Igorots. Because of these
very negative images of ourselves, we have changed our
lifestyles, and our diets to be like those of our Western models.
Now, we are feeling the effects of very bad health in the
Cordillera with the rise of hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and
the like. Therefore, I think we should awaken to the fact that
we have a very rich and healthy lifestyle as indigenous
peoples. And we should reclaim those traditions and heritage.

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Discussions

Language in Research
P. Bennagen: This is addressed to Dr. Nela Florendo. I left the
university in 1989. I used to be an academic but I went instead
into community work. When I went into community work
with indigenous peoples in Zambales and in Mindanao, we
started work with peoples ethnography.
The people,
themselves, were doing the work.
Then we encountered a
number of problems. The relationship of subject and object is
not so much the problem as long as the communication lines
are open and there is a constant dialogue as a struggle for
empowerment.
But the issue of language is a constant
problem. In what language do we conduct research, do we
publish?
Ma. Nela Florendo (UPCB): I wish to acknowledge that there have
been efforts to make the writing and rewriting of history as
participatory as possible. We do have grassroots histories in
contrast to the subject of my paper. Many researches have tried
to sustain traditional paradigms. The use of oral histories and
narratives make the voices of the people of the grassroots
communities heard. I would like to think that oral history has
been a very powerful methodology in serving the people in
history.
P. Bennagen: Yung issue ba ng language in the Cordillera, has that been
resolved? Kasi yung sa experience namin, yung sinasabi ko na
you do it in three languages. That is important kasi it has
implications. (That is) A question of access. I think it has
something to do with basic social science research and applied
research. Pag basic you are supposed to be uninterested but
transparent so that those who will want to access them will
have access. But access is determined by a number of things. I
do not know whether there is discussion in the Center in terms
of the language you want to use. (CSC Director: We use
Ilocano, Kankanaey, and English.) What I would like to know
is if there is an official policy because I think that it is good to
share it with other sectors that are moving in this direction. At
least three - the language of the community, the lingua franca,
and then since you are academics, you need also to
communicate with your fellow academics.

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265

The Cordillera Culture in Popular Art Forms


J. Alangwawi: I would like to inquire from Dr. Nela Florendo how we
should interpret Cordillera culture.
Sometimes, culture is
interpreted in dances and songs. Like for example an Ifugao
epic was presented as a play in Saint Louis University. We
were so mad because it was modernized and they say it is
Ifugao culture. When we asked the artists about it, they said
that it is their freedom of interpretation. May we ask the
historians point of view?
M. N. Florendo: One problem is that culture is presented as something
static. Culture is frozen. The treatment of culture should, from
a historical perspective, show movement. There is dynamism
in culture. There is change through time. While culture is
learned, we also lose some aspects of our culture because they
are no longer meaningful in the present context. I do not have
something very definite to prescribe about cultural history
except probably to appeal that culture should be treated in its
proper context and as a dynamic aspect resulting from the
interaction of social forces and human beings. Culture, I think,
should be treated in its proper context.
Rowena Reyes-Boquiren (UPCB): When we try to present aspects of
culture in popular form, we know that there is an intended
audience for it. I think that is what Dr. Nela Florendo would
like to stress here the idea of contextualization. Yet, in artistic
expression, we allow some leeway for the interpretation. In the
case of the presentation that happened sometime in the recent
past in Saint Louis University, the presentation was being done
in a very popular way with a mixed audience. It was not being
presented in Ifugao. I think it was very clear that that was an
artistic interpretation of an epic. The way they would look at it
would obviously be defined by the audience to which the
performance was being made. In addition, I suggest that we
try to appreciate the purpose of the presentation more than
stress the limitations in the integrity of the material and how it
was presented. I would rather present aspects of a culture that
can be appreciated rather than they keep this to the very
parochial context of specific communities. I could look at it
with this very perspective, if the objective is promotion or
appreciation of our traditions and culture. The historians look
at culture dynamically and very contextually. The context
could mean in which specific period? What specific geographic

266

Discussions

setting? What cultural tradition of what people? So thats


what we mean by context. And thats always very variable.
Anavic Bagamaspad (UPCB): In relation to the issue of artistic
presentations, I think it is important to be aware of or to be
culturally sensitive because these issues arise from time to
time. So I think there is also the responsibility on the part of
those organizations or groups presenting to truly study this
and be culturally sensitive.

The Cordi llera Artist


M. N. Florendo: Is there some kind of convergence between history
and art? There is one view that art starts where history ends.
Therefore, I am posing that question to you as experts from the
Humanities. The other one is: What is your concept of a
Cordillera native artist?
Delfin Tolentino, Jr. (UPCB): There are two questions. One has to do
with the relationship between history and literature or the
writer of literature. The other one has to do with the
possibility of having what you call a native Cordilleran
artist. With regard to the first one, there are many ways by
which literature and history can intersect. Usually in my field,
in literary studies, when we talk about history and its
connection to literature, we usually talk about how history can
enrich our understanding of literature. In terms of creative
writing how history can serve as material for literature.
Now, I think it is the second one that is more pertinent to what
you want to clarify. What does a writer do with historical
material? How much freedom can a writer who is using
historical material take? I believe in the relative autonomy of
art and artists. An artist who uses historical material is free to
do what he wishes to do with that historical material. I do not
think it is fair to regulate the artist to keep to historical
accuracy in his literary work. After all, what he is writing is
not historical documentation but a form of creative writing.
Now the only problem here is when a work that uses historical
material tampers with the original historical data. The reader
will not realize that in the act of creative writing, all raw
material is somehow ordered or transformed.
Second one, is it possible to have a Cordillera native artist? It is
not only possible. We have Cordillera native artists. It all
depends on how you are using the word artist. I think that is

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the major thrust of the paper I presented earlier, that art could
be reckoned with in many ways. Although for example, in a
forum like this when we talk about art, we usually think of art
from a Western perspective. A native Cordillera can do more.
He can do art work that looks very close to the art mainstream,
meaning to say that a native Cordillera artist can do art work,
which follow artistic traditions in the Western sense. At the
same time, you can also have a native Cordillera artist who
breaks away from this Western mode and follow certain
aesthetic principles that are germane to his/her own culture.
Therefore, we can have a native Cordillera artist by many
ways.

Attitudes Toward Land


Carlos Medina (SLU Cordillera Research and Developmental
Foundation, Inc.): The question is directed to my colleague,
Dr. Morr Pungayan. I have heard of attitude topologies in
the course of this conference. The first one, I would like to
recall what you said, All these mountains are mine. Bagik
amin daytoy. That is one attitude. The other attitude I heard in
the first evening, the cultural presentation where one character
said, Its not we who own the land. Its the land who owns
us. Now, I just wonder which of the two worldviews reflects
the traditional.
M. Pungayan: I think the emphasis was, the land belongs to us so the
land owns us. That is still held by most of the northern tribes.
When I say northern tribes, I am referring to north of the Ibaloi.
Later on, as you read history, the Spaniards stayed longest in
Benguet 50 to 82 years. And they introduced this cacique
system - the system of the baknang. The baknang assumes
property. Some of them boast of Spanish titles but I have not
seen one. What I know is that they have ancestral titles. This
concept of this land is mine was borrowed from the later
Ibalois. So Adarong is only a 4th generation ancestor of the
present descendants. Therefore, he is not the very traditional
Cordilleran. As you can read also from history, the Ibalois
before did not have caciques or little lords but later, they are
kingless. They are kingless in the northern tribes. So if you ask
about the original, the original is the first one which is this
land belongs to us which means that this land was here
before us so we are here to stay. However, later on because of

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Spanish influence and commercial impetus and maybe from


observation of the lowland communities, they adopted the
concept of the baknang.

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Local Institutions
Guilt and Punishment
Question: To Prof. Ali Ciencia, what do you mean by acceptance by
the offended or by the offender? To Dr. de Raedt, you
mentioned a group claiming that rape is committed in the
Cordillera as a replacement for headhunting. May I know who
this group is?
Alejandro Ciencia (UPCB): The offender and his kin should accept
guilt. The extent and kind of punishment should have the
consent of both offender and his kin and the offended and his
kin. However, the punishment is still relative to the culture and
tradition of the particular Cordilleran group.
Jules de Raedt (UPCB, retired): In the Cordillera, the offender accepts
guilt. If he denies, kins pound him until he accepts. Among
the Mangyans in Mindoro, they tie the offender then spread
honey all over his body allowing ants to bite him until such
time that he accepts his guilt. The group of people who claims
that rape is a replacement for headhunting is a group of social
scientists that call themselves a Task Force. This is a kind of
lowland bias against the Igorots.
E. Tabanda: There is this case of a stepfather who raped his stepchild.
The elders in the community settled it amicably. What about
rehabilitation? What about the perpetrator?
A. Ciencia: In a survey, only a few responded positively to
rehabilitation perhaps because this sort of system is new in the
Cordillera. As for the perpetrator, originally or traditionally the
answer is an eye for an eye.
J. De Raedt: In Ifugao, the punishment is revenge. However,
premarital sex is commonly allowed in most groups in the
Cordillera. It is when a couple is married that they have to
have only one partner. But in cases where an unmarried man
forces an unmarried woman to sexual intercourse, they are
usually advised by the elders to marry. If they do not, then the
man has to pay a fine.
Sr. Corazon Sanchez (Social Action Center, Vicariate of Tabuk): I
want to check Dr. Jules de Raedts impression about premarital
sex in the Cordillera. Yes, it is true. According to my own
experience, young men who live communally in the ator visit

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the women in their communal dormitory. But there is no


premarital sex. You cannot even hear of pregnancy before.
That is despite the visitation, despite sleeping together.

Customary and National Laws


Geronimo Alunday (Kalinga Environment Protection Association):
Lawyers in Kalinga, for example, are divided. When crime is
committed, they do not know where to process it, whether
under the customary law or the national legal system. In a case
of murder, under the customary law, the response is revenge.
But under the national Law, the offender is punished according
its the provisions of the national Law.
A. Ciencia: My basic understanding is this: the state, in its monopoly of
coercion, uses force to uniformly implement the law to all its
subjects.
June Prill-Brett: In Bontoc, they ask the participants: do you want to
take the case to the national courts or to the customary law?
Then the participants decide if they prefer the customary law
or the national law. In Ifugao there is no concept of rape.
Casambre, Ciencia and I did a research where we validated
that even in Bontoc there is no concept of rape. That is
according to data from late 1960 to the 1980s. They see rape as
a crime in general. There is no particular term for it. They
would say, You dont really do that. Its bad, an unthinkable
thing to do. The term being used is pilit. If rape happens, it
is taken as an offense on the whole community, not only on the
individual.
Arnold Azurin (University of the Philippines Center for Integrative
and Development Studies): I would like to comment on Prof.
Ali Ciencias statement about the state laws monopoly of
force. I want to say that there is no such because state laws
already recognize indigenous laws, like the barangay law.
A. Ciencia: Yes, state law has allowed LGUs to use local systems. The
LGUs are empowered to acknowledge the use of indigenous
traditions. Indigenous laws are even fused or merged with the
state law. This is the reason why the Lupon Pambarangay was
mandated in the Constitution and is being used in the
Cordilleras.

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Resource Management
Question: Is there any possibility that NGO influence was a factor why
the people reacted so effectively to the stress introduced by the
outside factor?
Evelyn Caballero (Insitute of Philippine Center, Ateneo de Manila
University): NGOs do not organize them. They organize
themselves.
While I was doing research in Dalicno,
organizations came to the area to understand its present
situation.
There is this stereotype of communities that they
will only be able to move and mobilize themselves if there are
NGOs there to organize them. That is not true. We have
organized communities already in place and Dalicno is just an
example of one of those. There are others in the Philippines. It
is just that Dalicno is a familiar case in terms of research and I
was not there during the Itogon resistance. There is always
this policy within donor agencies and government that when
you apply for development projects you have to proceed
through NGOs. But the ultimate goal for them is community
participation. Why dont you go straight and work with the
community directly? We really need to look past the NGOs
and go more to the community level.
Question: Did you undertake expeditions to old mines?
E. Caballero: There was this Spanish expedition in the Cordillera to
look for the gold mines to pay for the galleon trade but they
could not find them. The igolottes (they call them that in
historical records) hid their mines and they were not very
cooperative. It is easy to do that because if you look at the load
mining tunnels and processing areas, some of them can be
separate from each other in terms of location. They were
practicing mining quite effectively. In fact, the abundance of
gold in the Philippines was one of the reasons for the abuses of
the Spaniards. It would be great, in terms of research, to go to
the Mankayan-Suyoc areas to find out more about the mining
technology. And they are miners in their own way. They are
excellent geologists. Conklin has all the classification of
swidden agriculture. They have a very complex way of
classifying their rocks and reading the soil, which is quite
different apparently, from the way modern geologists do it.
Question: What happened to the geological explorations you
mentioned?

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E. Caballero: They should still be there, although I think because of the


need for land, some of them were converted for agriculture
purposes.
However, according to archeologists from the
National Museum because agriculture does not really go deep,
it is tilling the topsoil. Essentially, the other artifacts at the
bottom are protected. Because the National Museum lacks the
necessary resources, I do no think there has been any
systematic exploration. There should be one because it is a
habitation site. According to the elders in the community,
these were even there before some of them migrated in the
1900s. So these explorations could establish even the antiquity
of traditional small-scale miners.
E. Tabanda: What is the effect of globalization on agriculture? I think it
is now a problem especially for farmers.
Bienvenido Tapang, Jr. (UPCB): The concern being expressed is
whether the communities are able to cope with the changes of
the market. Policy is based on an explanation of what is
happening in the communities. Policy has a basis in theory
and we must therefore be aware of the developments in theory
formation in order to proceed with the appropriate policy. The
communities today, especially those that are partly or largely
subsistence economies already have to cope with the changes
in the market as they are even before globalization.
Globalization is going to enlarge the inroads of markets in
these communities. At least knowledge of what is happening,
how relationships are being explained by theories, is
something necessary for us to learn in order for us to be able to
cope. We do not obtain policies from nowhere. Even how we
do our research must be guided by developments in theory
formation, particularly that economic policy seems to dominate
policy-making. So most of the time, we rely on the economist.
But the problem seems to eventually settle into what we do in
terms of economics. There is the inroad of markets there and
we still do not have an understanding of what goes on when
the market gets in.
Question: Should we go back to what is indigenous instead of
attempting to participate in globalization?
B. Tapang: We have been exposed to what we call in economics as
demonstration effects to lifestyles that are not indigenous.
The trappings of economic development are attractive and we
are exposed to how other people conduct their lives. There are
demonstration effects on us.
Therefore, our taste and

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preferences, consumption patterns and production patterns are


very much influenced making it very difficult to imagine us
going back to the old ways. Our people have been exposed to
what the possibilities are, they make choices, and these choices
are different from that of the past. Those are the realities. I
think we just have to increase our capacities to cope with our
changing patterns of demand and of being exposed to lifestyles
that were not there in the past.
Question: Based on your studies, how well do you think our
indigenous people will fair in coping with globalization?
B. Tapang: What are the current threats? What are the capabilities to
address the threats? In discussing globalization, part of the
question is, what are the safety nets that are there. Safety nets
should be there because you expect certain threats. Exactly
what are the threats existing in the community? What are the
capabilities of the community? What kinds of safety nets are
made? Now we have no answers.
Question: Given the situation of our IP communities, they are the very
victims of globalization.
The communities, however, are
organized as Dr. Evelyn Caballero has been presenting to us.
They can be an answer to globalization especially when we can
already see the defects of globalization. My fear is that despite
knowing all these systematic and good resource management,
we see the great insincerity on governments part to recognize
these. In fact, they are trying to destroy the truth by coming to
our communities and saying that mining is the only way to
economic development. They do not come to the communities
and ask, What are you doing, given all your natural
resources? But they come to us with all the promises - good
roads, public health and others. They tell them: You give us
your land for mining and you will see that your life will be
developed.
E. Caballero: If I may say so, government offices know of IPs but they
have no understanding of who IPs are. They do not have the
information or the knowledge of the value of cultural diversity
that IPs have. In other words, the capacity of the government
has to increase. Now, an office in the geosciences tries to
address this.
However, the office consists of only three
individuals and only one is a political scientist. But we need
more capable people within the government to have an
increased capacity to be able to work effectively with IPs. They

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Discussions

know the IP but they have no idea who the traditional smallscale miners are or what they do. They know of the IP in
Bontoc but they have no idea as to the wealth of indigenous
political structures and how these relate to rice terraces over
time. They have no idea as to the nuances and intricacies of
customary law.
Frederico Perez (Central Luzon State University): I am not an
economist but I am trying to wonder how people of the
Cordillera cope with globalization. First, when we talk about
globalization, it is competition. Since we are a signatory to the
GATT, we have to compete, whether we like it or not.
Probably, what we could do is to harness what we have. If we
think mining is abundant in the community and we have
ecologically-friendly technologies in the community, then that
should be developed and harnessed.
Salvador Bannawe (ComRel Department, Philex): What concerns us
here in the Cordillera is the loss of the indigenous practices,
considering that we already have globalization forces,
community development, and hi-tech communications. What
can be done so these Cordillera indigenous practices or
knowledge are preserved?
J. P. Brett: We have to be aware of the fact that not all indigenous
practices are good. We should not romanticize. To begin with,
we do not know all. All the IPs in the Cordillera do not know
certain management systems that are found in different
communities. The knowledge in your own community might
not be known in another community. People from Benguet for
example have borrowed from the Ifugaos like rice seeds in the
same way that we from the Cordillera borrowed the glutinous
rice balitinaw from the lowlands. So it is difficult to say
patent that, patent what? That is why it is important to know
how they did things. You have to document. The reason why
some practices are dying is that it is no longer functional.
Some practices have lost their rationale for being practiced.
Nobody has come to tell them not to practice this, but some of
these have been lost over time. My informant in 1968 who is
about 90 years old said that the sunflower was not around
during his grandfathers time. So we know, but if we did not
know, we will say it is indigenous. There are many of the socalled indigenous medicinal plants but some of them were
borrowed from the lowlands. First, we have to find out what
are these indigenous practices. Are they still viable? We

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cannot dictate and say we have to practice this because it is our


practice.

276

Towards Understanding Peoples of the Cordillera

The set of paintings is a pen and ink creation of the late Geoffrey
Carantes. It results from a research that he undertook in the early
1980s at the Cordillera Studies Center. The paintings depict
prestige ceremonial feasts of the Kankanaey (front cover
photograph) and Tinggian (back cover photograph).
Mr.
Geoffrey Carantes was a lecturer of the History Discipline of the
Social Sciences Division, University of the Philippines College
Baguio from 1973 to May 1992.

This publication was carried out with the


aid of a grant from the:
University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and
Development Studies
Foundation for Philippine Environment
A s i a P a c i f i c M o u n t a i n N e t w o r k ( S m a l l G r a n t s P r o g r a m 1 9 9 9 - 2000)