Stripped of vehicle, IP rep goes to council meeting–on horseback

Kidapawan City Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Datu Radin Igwas attended Thursday’s session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, some 6.4 km. away from his home in Barangay Perez — on horseback.

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Igwas said on Saturday that he was not trying to make a statement for being an IP leader nor was it an antic. He said he was forced to take the horse because two weeks ago, Mayor Joseph Evangelista issued a memorandum stripping him of his service vehicle.

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Upon receiving the memo, Igwas said he was not seriously troubled because “I can still attend the session by other means.”

“We datus are used to using horses to move around,” he said.

But when the second memo came, also on Oct. 28, he started to worry. The second memo says he was also being stripped of his office.

Igwas said Evangelista reasoned out in the second memo that his office would be renovated for the use of the deputy mayor for the IP.

In a statement, Igwas said he heard he was being stripped of his service vehicle and his office because he was supposedly supporting Evangelista’s rival in the May elections. Evangelista is running for another term and was being challenged by Vice Mayor Bernardo Piñol Jr.

Igwas denied he was playing politics though.

“I cannot support any candidate because that is not allowed under the law. I am the IPMR and I am supposed to be apolitical,” he added.

Igwas further said that some Manobo tribal leaders had sought Piñol’s help on his behalf and the vice mayor agreed to stay the execution of Evangelista’s order on the recall of his office while preparations are being done for a new space he can occupy.

Evangelista, on Saturday, also admitted that he had indeed recalled the service vehicle issued to Igwas and asked him to vacate the office he was occupying.

But Evangelita said there was no politics behind his two memorandums to Igwas.

He said in February, Igwas wrote him a letter, asking him to fund the renovation of his office.

“He was the one who asked for it,” Evangelista said by phone.

He said Igwas’ office would be turned into a training center for women IPs and that sewing machines would be put up there.

“They need a space for the training,” he added.

Igwas, however, said these were not the reasons given him.

“The vehicle was recalled for the use of the city engineering and the office for the use of the deputy mayor for IP. I guess I was stripped of these because there are things I would not do, jobs that I cannot simply do because these are not within my mandate,” he said.

He would not say what these “jobs” are though. (PNA)

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