Table Talk: Anti-Ethnic or Racial Profiling and Discrimination Act of 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 November 2011 14:31

BY Mike S Apostol

Hidden in the inside pages of our national papers is a very, very important piece of legislation that the Senate unanimously approved this year.  It is known as SENATE BILL NO. 2814- “AN ACT PROHIBITING PROFILING AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PERSONS ON ACCOUNT OF ETHNIC ORIGIN AS WELL AS RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION”  otherwise known also as the title of this column.    This historic legislation was sponsored and authored by Senators Manny Villar, Loren Legarda, Francis Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV. If this Bill will be approved by the President, it penalizes violators with an imprisonment of 30 days up to one year or a fine of P10,000 but not more than P100,000 or both depending on the gravity of the offense. Tasking for the implementation of this law is the Commission on Human Rights, in coordination with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
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What is the wisdom of this Law? It aims to promote peace and order, promote general welfare for the enjoyment by all people, promote a just and dynamic social order, provide adequate social services, promote employment regardless of race, ethnicity and religion and color. It also recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development while removing cultural iniquities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good. Under this proposed Law, it would be unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person on the ground of ethnicity, race or religious affiliation or belief.
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This proposed law will reinforce and strengthen the already approved Indigenous Peoples Rights Act or the IPRA Law, which also mandates a mandatory representation by a member of the indigenous tribe to the Legislative Bodies and Policy Making Bodies in all local government units. This was authored and sponsored by former Senator Juan Flavier and signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos. It has been a law for almost 5 years now but many local government units has never implemented the IPRA Law including Zamboanga City whose aborigines and original inhabitants are Subanen IPs and Samal Lutao IPs. In Baguio city they have implemented the IPRA Law by 100 % while Zamboanga Sibugay is 98 % implemented. Many provinces who have known IP beginnings have implemented the IPRA Law and making the IP representation part of their annual budget. Zamboanga City is so rich but it has never implemented the IPRA law which was supposed to correct the city’s historical error of denying their very beginning. French thinker Lafayette said “a man who does not know his past cannot draw his future”. Instead of honoring the Subanens and Samal Lutaos as the original settlers of Zamboanga city, we honored “Spaniards who spoke Spanish but their Spanish friars spoke Latin in prayers” and adopted both to honor the city as the “only Latin city in Asia”. The Jesuit priests and friars who went to Japan during the Shogun days also pray in Latin not Spanish while their “black ships” hauled the wealth of Japan to Europe. Japan never honored them. Besides Latin is dead language.
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Why is Zamboanga City ashamed of her humble beginnings? Without this time immemorial original people in Zamboanga City, we will not have our history or if someone says there were no people living in Zamboanga City when the Spaniards landed in our shores is foolish. Whom will the Spaniards subjugate and convert into Catholicism if there were no people when they landed, monkeys and turtles? They did not bring women in their ships during their voyage, why were they able to propagate their race?  Why are the original names of the city’s sitios, barangays and even roads within the city are  Subanen terms? For example: Guiwan (geh yu wan) plenty of trees. Talon-Talon (talon) wild, Tetuan (lama-lama) yard or lawn or garden,  Pulong bato (pulo bato) island of stones, Cabatangan (keba ta ngen or ) rock formation. Cabaluay ( keba Luay ) white rock, Labuan (dle bu an) place where to drop anchor, Malandi (meh lan dih) flirt or swinging buttocks, Talisayan (talih sayen) color of rooster,  Caragasan (keh re geh san) where the strongest and swiftest current is, Lamisahan (la me saan) table, Marangan (meh re ngen) Tame, meek or shy,  Curuan (gu ru wan) Toilet, Bolong (bu Lung) medicine, Boalan (bua lan) tobacco like plant,  Talabaan (teh leb ban)  place where to sew like making nipa shingles. These are only some of the Subanen, there are still many terms throughout the region.
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Scoop: Did you know that there was a Subanen settlement in Pulong Bato (pulo bato) Pasonanca whose chieftain was Datu Bong who has a beautiful daughter Princess Nayag (nayak) in Subaben bae dlibon nayag. Many said even the Spanish officers in Zamboanga were mesmerized by her beauty.