PLANS are moving forward to honor the late Ibaloy clan leader Mateo Cariño with a monument to his legacy in Burnham Park.
Mateo Cariño is in the annals of history as he fought the American government in court and won a landmark judicial doctrine for indigenous communities’ rights, giving way to making native titles as legal claims to ancestral lands.
The proposed statue of cattle trader Cariño on horseback ,as portrayed in one of his most recognized photographs, would be part of an improved Ibaloy Heritage Garden inside the park.
Planned to be perched on a pedestal and face Burnham Park’s Melvin Jones Grandstand, the statue would be the centerpiece of the garden, slated to be 300 square meters in area with an Ibaloy cultural museum.
The garden would also include a small vegetable and coffee farm, a cafe, a boardwalk around a communal house, and a ritual gathering area for rituals and festivities in accordance with Ibaloy practice as designed by an architect from said community, and with input from Cariño’s living descendants, who have requested to be part of the process of commemorating and honoring their ancestor.
The monument intends to honor Cariño’s significant contribution to indigenous rights, when he opposed in court the sequestering of his lands by the American colonial government for use to establish a military garrison, now known as Camp John Hay.
Cariño took the American government to court, and on February 23 of 1909, the United States Supreme Court unanimously concluded that Cariño had clear private rights over his lands, establishing a legal precedent known as the Native Title Doctrine or Cariño Doctrine after the Ibaloy, establishing that land held by individuals or communities under a claim or private ownership “as far back as testimony or memory goes” will be presumed to never have been public land, therefore protecting it from outside claims.
Said doctrine would later be a founding principle in the creation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA), and February 23 would be declared Ibaloy Day more than a full century later in 2010 in recognition of Cariño.