MANILA — Several netizens and groups on Monday called out an official of a partylist for his remark that indigenous peoples (IP) suffer from "kamangmangan" or stupidity and that they need to be transformed.
Ang Koalisyon ng Indigenous Peoples (AKO IP) partylist chairperson Gil Valera on Monday filed at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) tent in Sofitel their group’s certificate of nomination to run in Halalan 2022.
After the filing, Valera gave a speech where he explained the background of their partylist and its advocacies.
He said they want to build universities for IPs so they can have better access to quality education.
In the same speech, Valera noted how most IP are stuck in the mountains afflicted with "kamangmangan." He added they needed help so they can "become smarter."
"Kailangan tulungan natin [ang IPs] para yung kamangmangan nila, maging matalino na sila," said Valera, who claimed he was “25 percent IP."
"Matagal na pong naghihirap ang IP sector. Nasa kabundukan, 'di natutulungan ng gobyerno," he said.
Several netizens and IP groups said they were offended by Valera's remark.
"Ang ating mga katutubo ay hindi bobo! They are the first chemists and engineers... Labelling them bobo is plain ignorance," said Jericho Trio of Saribuhay, an environment and youth group.
"Ang mga katutubo ay hindi mangmang. May kakayahan sila na palayain ang sarili sa tali ng opresyon at karahasan ng estado," said IP group Katribu National.
CONVICTED BY SANDIGANBAYAN
Valera told reporters he is not a nominee of the partylist because he is a practicing lawyer.
However, a background check on Valera revealed he was a former official of the Bureau of Customs convicted by the Sandiganbayan in 2013 for violating wealth disclosure law.
Part of his penalty is perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Valera told reporters his son is the partylist's first nominee.
Valera, who earlier lamented the land grabbing suffered by IPs, is also an owner of a hotel in Abra.
FROM THE ARCHIVES