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Proposed “Cariño Doctrine Day”: An Igorot Victory Worth Celebrating

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Following the renewed public interest in the 1909 landmark case of Mateo Cariño vs Insular Government of the Philippines, Ibaloi lawyer Noel Ngolob submitted a letter to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Benguet humbly requesting the august body to enact a legislative measure declaring February 23 of every year as “Cariño Doctrine Day”. In his letter, he stated; “it is but proper that our dear province should commemorate the landmark case and give recognition to the man, Mateo Cariño, who was instrumental in bringing to fore the “Native Title” principle”. The Cariño Doctrine is the crowning glory of the indigenous peoples’ fight for ancestral domain not only in the Philippines but also in many parts of the world. By choosing the legal route rather than violent struggle, Cariño was able to establish a canon upon which the hopes and dreams of the world’s indigenous communities were anchored. It has since been used in cases filed by indigenous communities in other countries, notably