Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya—Garbed in his Ifugao attire, Vice Governor Jose Tam-an Tomas Sr. recently presided over a special session of the provincial board to promote unity and indigenous peoples’ culture.
Complete with his headdress, Tomas directed the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session, which tackled the unfinished matters in their previous meeting.
He immediately drew criticisms from netizens, saying the provincial board should not be a place for his traditional costume.
Tomas, however, pointed out the internal rules of the SP, which allows the wearing of Barong Tagalog and other cultural attire during their sessions.
On his Facebook account, the vice governor considered his wearing of the Ifugao attire as “a special attire for a special session.”
“During our special session, I opted to wear my native attire and show my great pride in being an IP. I am also delighted since our Internal Rules authorize the wearing of native attire during sessions, allowing your humble representation to be in Ifugao clothing,” Tomas said.
He added IPs “must be proud” to have Nueva Vizcaya as their home, as it hosts many cultures and traditions.
Tomas is the first Ifugao elected official in the province, winning vice governor over then-incumbent Lambert Galima by over 6,000 votes.
The province also conducts the Grand Ammungan Festival every third week of May each year to promote the unity of its villagers despite their diverse cultures.
The provincial government also conducts an IP Summer Workshop to teach indigenous children their proper cultural traditions and practices through their elders and teachers from the Department of Education and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, to ensure their heritage is preserved.
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