The Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh), through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), and officials from national agencies convened on the proposed ordinance for the Eskaya Communities in the province on July 12, 2023, at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Pre-Session Hall.
This proposed ordinance, titled the “Eskaya Code of Bohol,” sponsored by 3rd District Board Member Elpidio Bonita, seeks to conduct cultural conservation of the living traditions and customs of the Eskaya communities. It also aims provide members of the Eskaya communities with livelihood, heritage education programs, and infrastructure, which will enhance their living condition.
The Eskaya Code of Bohol proposes to create cultural learning hubs, such as museums, livelihood training centers, youth development, incorporating heritage education in the province’s educational system. It also proposes to create farm-to-market roads connecting the Eskayan Ancestral Domains to the provincial roads.
The discussion was led by SP’s Committee on Culture and Arts 2nd District Board Member Atty. Jiselle Rae Villamor. It was attended by other board members who are part of the committee, the Center for Culture and Arts Development (CCAD), the Provincial Youth Development Office (PYDO), the Provincial Legal Office (PLO), the Provincial Budget Management Office (PBMO), and the Department of Education-Bohol Division.
The proposed ordinance will cover the Eskaya communities in Guindulman, Duero, Sierra Bullones, Candijay, and Pilar. The Eskaya, or Eskaya-Visaya, is an ethnic group with a distinct culture, as seen in their language, literature, religious observances, and clothing. According to a national census, 2,285 Boholanos identify as Eskayan.
This initiative to protect their unique way of life is in line with the Strategic Change Agenda of the Aumentado-Balite administration, which endeavors to preserve cultural heritage and create economic opportunities for all constituents of the province. (PIMO/GMC)