ZAMBOANGA CITY – A member of an indigenous tribe in Zamboanga City is expected to serve in the local legislative council after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples issued a certification affirming his official function.
Timuey Woy Lim Wong, NCIP regional director, also sent a letter to Moh. Taha Arakama, director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and transmitted the Certificate of Affirmation Tungkuh Hanapi as representative of the indigenous people in the City Council until 2017.
Hanapi will replace Councilor Ismael Musa, who was previously removed from the City Council last year after the 25-man Council of Elders ousted him for joining the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, but Musa managed to return after appealing his case.
Musa, who was chosen by tribesmen in 2014 as their representative to the City Council, joined the political party without the approval of the Council of Elders. This was also opposed by many tribesmen, saying, Musa should have remain apolitical so he can fully serve the best interest of the indigenous people in Zamboanga City.
Although there is no law prohibiting Musa from joining political parties, tribe leaders can remove him as IP representative in the legislative body. An IP representative has three years to serve as the voice and protect the welfare of the tribesmen in the City Council.
There was no immediate statement from the DILG or Musa. There are over 150,000 members of different tribes in Zamboanga and among them are the Subanen, Sama Bangingi, Calibugan, Badjao and Yakan. (Mindanao Examiner)
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