In a press conference called by the DOH to report to the public the results of its Iwas Paputok program and other health concerns, there were other important things revealed by the police colonels who were present.
One was the that there were no policemen in the Cordilera who were found positive of illegal drugs. This was ever since the tests were required of policemen when PDu30 took over as president. The higher-ups in the police hierarchy think that the reason is the discipline imposed by Igorot elders, or from the other side of the spectrum, the respect of the younger generation to the elders.
Is this an unwarranted glorification of the influence and discipline of Igorot elders?
We know of an Igorot elder who was a barangay captain but had the reputation of being the father of illegal drug peddling in Mountain Province. He was gunned down by hooded assassins “riding in tandem” right after PDu30 became the regular resident of the Palace by the Pasig River.
His sales pitch to the other elders in the community was that the shabu he was selling was the best medicine for arthritis, gout and other painful illnesses. It worked such that many elderlies became addicts. What a way for an elder to corrupt his colleagues.
Talks are also rife about Igorot elders who, in the process of big companies’ efforts to obtain the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of host tribes of prospective operations involving natural resources such as mining and hydro power plants, had sold the interest of their constituents or their tribes. As one executive of such company said, “it is easy to get the FPIC as long as one has enough budget. Butcher several animals to feed the community and then give some elders enough cash to make their pockets bulge a little bit.”
I would say that the reasons for the drug-free record of Igorot policemen is not just the respect for elders or their influence on the younger generation for there are also irresponsible elders. And there are a good number of elders who do not know much now as the world has become very complex.
Another factor is that many Cordilleran policemen have common sense. They know that they will not go far in their chosen career by engaging in illegal drugs.
There is now a need for a new concept of Igorot El;ders. They should be educated enough to guide the younger ones on the ways of the modern world. A high sense of responsibility and ethics must be integral parts of their education so they won’t sell the interest of their tribes for a few pieces of silver.**