by Rev. Cesar T. Taguba
The plenary session on the “Name of our Group” was one of the highlights of the consultation. The presider announced that the first round would be suggestions on the name, after which the second round would be one-minute explanation from the proponents. When the table was opened for proposals, several participants eagerly took the floor. Suggested names were: Igorot-Europe, Igorot IGO-Cordillera Consultation, Philippine Cordillerans-Europe, Europe Igorot Community, Igorot Europe Assembly, Igorot Cordillera (BIBAK)- Europe, and BIMAAK-Europe. Each proponent made a good account of their proposal drawing from history and contemporary reality.
A vote was called. The name Igorot Cordillera (BIMAAK)-Europe was chosen on account of its spirit of incorporating the best argument of the various proposals. The term Cordillera recognizes the political and geographical concept as presently understood. The term Igorot refers to the indigenous people in the Cordillera, while BIBAK refers to the provinces that compose the Cordillera region. An amendment was made to include Aapayao and to upgrade Bontoc to Mountain Province. Thus it should be BIMAAK (Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Abra, Apayao, Kalinga). Acting on the amendments, the final name was Igorot Cordillera (BIMAAK)-Europe.
The presider noted that there was much enthusiasm in the content and process as evidenced by the short but focused discussion and above all, the commendable unity after the consensus on the name. He expressed the opinion that the selected name refers to the Europe-wide consultation and does not impose itself on those who call their organization as Igorots, Cordillera or BIBAK.
Another major decision was to maintain the consultative and/or loose network character of the Europe-wide meeting(s), as against a highly formalized organizational structure, which may be useful in the future. As experienced in ACPE (Belgium, 2002) and the Vienna consultation, a Host Committee with volunteers, which transformed itself into the Steering and Management Committee during the consultation was sufficient. A proposal was made by the presider that in between the assemblies, a Council of Elders composed of heads of the various organizations be organized to act on matters that call for immediate action.
The presider noted that we have a long way to go in organizing more of the unorganized Cordillera Igorots in Europe. He ended the plenary session thanking the participants for the job well done and expressing the full confidence and support of all for BIBAK Switzerland’s challenging role of hosting the 2005 consultation.