Teddy Baguilat

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Teodoro Brawner Baguilat, Jr. (born 30 July 1966) is a Filipino politician and activist of the rights of indigenous peoples and other minority groups. He is the indigenous leader of the Ifugao ethnic group and the President of the Global Consortium for Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCA Consortium), an advisory body to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


Early Life and Education

He was born on 30 July 1966 in Manila to Teodoro Baguilat, Sr., a retired official of the Department of Agriculture (DA), and Felisa Brawner, a lawyer. When he was 13 years old, he decided to return to his father’s hometown of Kiangan in Ifugao to rediscover his ethnic roots and identify as an indigenous Ifugao. He graduated salutatorian at St. Joseph School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, where he was an active student leader.


Career

Baguilat worked at the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as an Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary from 1987 to 1991. He also worked as production assistant at GMA 7, as reporter of the People’s News Service, and as an Executive Assistant at the Philippine Ecological Network. In 1991, he went home to Ifugao to put up a foundation to help students and protect the environment.

He was elected as Municipal Councilor of Kiangan in 1992. From 1995 to 2001, he served as Mayor of the Municipality of Kiangan. He was awarded the Dangal ng Bayan Award in 1996 and as one of the Ten Most Outstanding Civil Servants in the Philippines by the Civil Service Commission.

He was elected as Governor of Ifugao in 2001 and helped remove Ifugao from being one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines in 2003. He narrowly lost in the 2004 elections but continued to serve as President of the Save the Ifugao Rice Terraces Movement (SITMo), a non-governmental organization (NGO) that aims to protect and promote the cultural treasures of Ifugao.

He was reelected as Governor of Ifugao in 2007. Among his programs and projects were:

  • Promotion of education by securing scholarships for deserving students through the Tertiary Education Assistance Program (TEAP)
  • Employment assistance to graduates and skilled workers in coordination with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)
  • Provision of sustainable employment through livelihood and enterprise development for small and medium entrepreneurs and people’s organizations and cooperatives including the One Town One Product marketing promotion
  • Generation of clean and cheap energy through the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy
  • Promotion of Ifugao as an eco-cultural tourism center
  • Conservation and management of the Ifugao Rice Terraces
  • Rehabilitation of provincial and municipal roads
  • Use of good governance strategies to fight graft and corruption
  • Reduction of maternal and infant deaths with the help of province-wide investment plan for health and the AYOD community health teams

In 2010, Baguilat won as Representative of the Lone District of Ifugao in 2010 and continued to champion the cause of the indigenous peoples. He was against the reimposition of death penalty and pushed to put an end to police brutalities as well the discrimination of marginalized sectors, including indigenous peoples.

He promoted free college and university education, legalized divorce, free Wifi access in public spaces, mental health education, maternity leave rights, LGBT rights, indigenous education in all communities, and other bills focusing on indigenous issues. Among the bills he pushed were designed specifically to protect ICCAs such as the ICCA Law, to preserve the Ifugao Rice Terraces, and to have a national land use that includes ancestral lands as one of the three main “land domains” in the country.

On 8 October 2021, Baguilat filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for Senator to be the “first indigenous person” in the Senate and to be the voice of the people who don’t normally have representation in there. He is a member of the Liberal Party and part of the senatorial slate of presidential aspirant Leni Robredo.


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Citation

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