No car? No problem for ‘lumad’ councilor
Datu Radin Igwas of Koronadal City said he had been stripped of his service vehicle due to “politics,” leaving him with no option but to saddle up in order to get to work.
KIDAPAWAN CITY, COTABA
TO— When a local official took away his service vehicle, Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Datu Radin Igwas did not chomp at the bit.
Instead, he mounted his horse and trotted to the city’s Sangguniang Panglungsod building some 6.5 kilometers away from his upland home at Barangay Perez.
“I can still attend the sessions,” Igwas told reporters. “A horse is [my] vehicle for moving around.”
In a radio interview, Igwas said he was forced to take a horse to work because Kidapawan Mayor Joseph Evangelista, in a memorandum, had stripped him of his service vehicle for allegedly refusing to support the mayor’s candidacy.
He was singled out, Igwas said, “because there were reports I was supporting another mayoral candidate,” Vice Mayor Bernardo Piñol Jr.
Igwas maintained he was “not supporting any politician because that is not allowed by law. As IPMR (representative), I’m supposed to be apolitical.”
On Oct. 28, Evangelista sent another memorandum to Igwas telling him to vacate his office because it would be converted into the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Indigenous Peoples (IP).
In a DXND radio interview, the mayor admitted ordering the recall of Igwas’ service vehicle and asking him to vacate his office, but stressed that there was “no politics” involved in those actions.
Citing a letter that Igwas wrote him in February, Evangelista said the IPMRactually asked for funds from the local government for his office’s renovation.
Igwas’ office, the mayor explained, will be turned into a livelihood training center for IP women and will be called Kidapawan City Tribal Hall and Training Center.
As for Igwas’ service vehicle, Evangelista said it was aging and needed repairs, hence it was recalled.
But Igwas said these were not the reasons given him when the vehicle was taken and he was evicted from his office.
“The vehicle was recalled [supposedly] for the use of the city engineering, and the office for the use of the deputy mayor for IP,” Igwas said. “I guess I was stripped of these because there are things I would not do, jobs I simply cannot do because these are not within my mandate.”
Some Manobo tribal leaders have asked Evangelista’s rival, Piñol, to help Igwas get back his office and vehicle, but Piñol reportedly backed the mayor.
The Manobo leaders may just have to wait while a new office for Igwas is being prepared, Piñol said.
In the meantime, Igwas assured his IP constituents that he would saddle up and religiously attend the Sanggunian sessions.
Giddyup! Sugod sa Kapitolyo!
DAILY TROT TO CAPITOL Datu Radin Igwas and his mount