BUKIDNON VIEWS: Notes on proposed ordinances in Bukidnon province

By Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/03 July 2017)   I was invited to attend the Committee Hearing (Committee on Laws) of the 13th Sangguniang Panlalalwigan Members last June 20, 2017 and join the discussion relative to some proposed ordinances for the province of Bukidnon.

One proposed ordinance is No. 032-2017 entitled “An Ordinance Creating the Provincial Culture and the Arts Council”. This proposal is very timely in accommodating the concerns of the emerging Bukidnon culture enthusiasts. Since 2014, or prior to this year, these enthusiasts put up cultural art exhibits, present Bukidnon food festival, establish art galleries, conduct Binukid classes, record songs of tribal bands, sponsor soil-painting workshops, do researches on IP communities, plan to put up museums and start a blog that promotes Bukidnon. All these endeavors require a facilitating body to handle the concerns of these enthusiasts in relation to the protection and promotion of Bukidnon culture.

One beneficiary of this proposed council is the Kaamulan, the yearly cultural festival of the province that features the different tribes found in Bukidnon. The marking of the 40th celebration of the Kaamulan this year brings forth a good reason to face-lift the festival by using new genre and innovative method in celebrating it. The 40-year stretch since the province started it in 1977 produced a new generation of Kaamulan celebrators. Without compromising the sanctity of the Bukidnon culture, this council can change the image of Kaamulan festival.

The indigenous leadership in the Municipality of Impasugong is part of the local governance.
Photo by Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan

Another proposed ordinance is No. 028-2017 entitled “An Ordinance Declaring the Municipality of Impasugong as a Provincial Heritage Zone in Bukidnon”. Known as the tribal capital of Bukidnon province, this municipality has the edge to claim the title as the heritage zone of the whole province.

The word heritage is associated with traditions, legacy, achievements and inheritance by which the municipality of Impasugong should enumerate its possessed valuable cultural items like language, traditions, historical sites, natural landmarks, indigenous knowledge and indigenous leadership among others. There are good signs of culture value in this municipality. The Binukid language is used by the first person in the front desk of the municipal hall up to most of the employees in dealing with their clients. This act of the Impasugong employees is a good sign of language preservation.

From the highway where the magnificent cultural landmark is located, a sculpture of Higaonon women performing Dugso dance, well-trimmed Kilala plants are in both sides of the road leading to the municipal hall. This maroon-leaf plant is usually found in a bangkasu (ritual table) during ritual, thus making it as a significant ritual article. In 2015, I have visited Ananasu, a small Higaonon village in Impasugong, to observe their monthly activity called Pagtulang. I conceived such activity as a customized teaching method for the Higaonon youth and children in a simple school of living tradition.

Also, the existence of indigenous leadership in the municipality is proven by the active participation of the datus in local governance. These few symbols and activities I have just mentioned are associated with cultural heritage and tradition, thus making Impasugong fit to claim as the provinicial heritage zone in Bukidnon.

A beautiful landscape in Impasugong. Photo by Loreta Sol L. Dinlayan

Ordinance No. 029-2017 is another proposed ordinance “Declaring Barangay Dumalaguing as a Provincial Historical Site in the Province” with the historical significance that it is the only barangay in the province that was not occupied by the Japanese during the second world war. As claimed, the local seat of government in Impasugong was transferred to Dumalaguing during that time. There could be other places in Bukidnon that were not occupied by the Japanese. I came across the book (People of the Middle Ground: A Century of Conflict and Accommodation in Central Mindanao) of Ronald K. Edgerton on local history of Bukidnon. Some lines in the book could prove or disprove the existence of Japanese in Dumalaguing through his key informants; and one of them is Sixto Dahino. The explanatory note of the ordinance also includes that Dumalaguing became a local seat of government since 1877. The 140-year of its existence as an LGU could be a good claim but it requires a historical account or a document to prove the claim. The people of Dumalaguing may be challenged to present the significant impact of the more than a century old local government.

The session ended almost 12 noon and I got a warm compliment from the Vice-governor Alex P. Calingasan. The proponent of the mentioned ordinances is board member Nemesio B. Beltran, Jr, one of three who sits in the board from the province’s 2nd political district.

(BUKIDNON VIEWS is the opinion section of Bukidnon News. Loreta Sol Dinlayan is a social science instructor at Bukidnon State University, where she also works as in-charge of the university’s museum. A version of this piece first appeared on the author’s blog “Balugto”, Binukid for “rainbow”).