The downside of the Kailyan Mentality of the Cordilleran Culture

In the Cordilleran language, “Kailyan” is a term used to address persons who belong to the same Cordilleran place or ethnic group. It also connotes the value of lending a hand to a “Kailyan” in times of need. In the Filipino language, it means “Kabayan”.

The Abused Positive Side of the Kailyan Mentality

The Kailyan mentality is the living Cordilleran culture of helping others. It encourages unity and promotes building relationships among the members of the group. This culture gives the impression that everyone is related because of either blood relationship or a sense of belonging in a cultural group. While this virtue is always great and positive, sometimes, it is abused especially during the election period. The Kailyan mentality is a strategy that is employed to increase the support of the people. Some people say “Let us vote for him because he is our kailyan, kabsat or kasinsin. He is a Kan-kanaey or that he is an Ibaloi.”

But really, in election, it is not about the Kankanaeys or Ibalois. It is not even about proudly putting an Ibaloi or Kankana-ey in a public position. It is NOT about whether you are related to each other. IT IS ABOUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT LEADER. The ethnicity of a person and your relationship to them should not matter more than the candidate’s integrity, leadership skills, and the genuineness of his or her service.

My premise is that, I don’t care whether he is an Ibaloi or Kankanaey, I don’t care if he is my kabagyan or kasinsin, IF HE IS PERFORMING BETTER AND HIS TRACK RECORDS SHOW THE SAME, then I WILL VOTE FOR HIM WHETHER OR NOT HE IS MY KAILYAN.

When you vote for a person who doesn’t deserve it but who made you feel special for once and made false promises to you, are you not putting the quality of your vote in the lowest level? Why can you not support people who are obviously better in public service? Why can you not support those whose real intention is to serve you? You don’t vote for the deserving ones because you have personal or family glitches with them. Or you don’t vote for the deserving ones because you were promised of something else. By doing that, you sacrifice public service at the expense of other people especially the poor who are not related to any public official or candidate.

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I can say this because if you vote for the deserving ones, public funds will never be misappropriated. You will know where your taxes will go. Their names will never be posted in public projects. They will never use government vehicles or any government property for personal use. Credit-grabbing is not their virtue. They will choose the right people for the municipality based on merits, their credibility and experience, and they will not say to you, “Apay am-amuk sika?”. Prioritizing projects that are most helpful to you is their main objective. They will not implement useless infrastructure projects just so to say they did something. They will NOT support illegal gambling. They will follow rules and regulations because they know they should set good example to the young people. They will encourage people’s participation in the government’s services and programs. Shelling out their own money to help you is not a problem to them. You will feel that you have a working government.

But yes, you have spoken. And I respect it. That is how democracy works. But it is the uninformed democracy which is the most dangerous. Next time, before you shade those circles, do some research. Next time, before you decide, don’t think of personal gain or whether he is your kailyan, kasinsin or kabagyan, think of the community as a whole. Think of the benefit of those members of the community WHO ARE NOT RELATED TO YOU but whose only hope is the government. 

In election period, let us not apply the old adage saying that blood is thicker than water. Because in public service, there is no kailyan or kasinsin, PUBLIC SERVICE DOESN’T CHOOSE WHO TO SERVE.

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