Sagadans Oppose Privatization of Mount Tekeng Peak

Sagada- March 1 2014-Lead by the elders and barangay officials of the Eastern barrios of Sagada namely Kilong, Tetepan Sur, Tetepan Norte and Antadao (Kiltepan), the people of Sagada gathered in front of the new municipal building for a rally to oppose the privatization of Mount Tekeng Peak, otherwise known as Kiltepan view point. This happened on the 21st of February 2014.

Tekeng peak is being claimed by Mr. Wilson Capuyan as his property which he bought from the Lamen family.

In the speeches of almost all the speakers who were mostly elders and barangay officials from Eastern part of Sagada, they said “kuwa yon an papel, ngem kuwa mi pay nan daga tay sha san an natagowan mi id kasin. Id Tekeng nan nagapowan di ubi ay kanen mi id kasin” The papers are yours but we own the land since the place was a source of livelihood for us before, where the camote were harvested.

Enrique Palsiw, a barangay kagawad said in his speech that ” the learned people from the Central Parts of Sagada took advantage of the illiteracy of the Eastern people to grab their land by declaring the land as their own.” Asked To whom he was referring to, he said Lakay Lamen, the father of the late alfredo Lamen. He also asked the people from the ather parts of Sagada to help them get back their land.

Mr. Jaime Dugao, the Municipal Indigenous peoples representative said in his speech said tekeng peak cannot be privatized since it is used by the public as “aayagan” where relatives of sick persons go to call for the spirit of the sick, “aapuyan” a place for rituals, pasture land, a picnic ground, camping ground, a view deck for sunrise viewing and the rice terraces below. Places like this are classified as community land in traditional land ownership.

Mayor Eduardo Latawan Jr. Who happens to be from Barangay Kilong thanked all the people who attended the rally and assured the people of KILTEPAN that he will never allow Mt. Tekeng to be privatized even if it will cost him his life. “ Adi kabalin ay aped kuawaen di esa ay Ipugao id Tekeng. Ulay ta sak ikateyan.”

Prior to this, people from Eastern Sagada, Northern Sagada and Eastern Sagada Went to Tekeng somewhere in 2013 to destroy the cemented gate that Wilson Capuyan put up at the foot of the peak, preventing tourists and guides from going to the view deck.(Brenda Doco)

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