Sama-badjao Movement Inc.seeks observer status in GRP-MILF talks PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 February 2012 14:47

The Sama-badjaos, considered one of the stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process hopes to obtain and see fruitful agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “favorable to both sides so that genuine or lasting peace will shine forever in Mindanao and gain more sustainable economic development for the interest of our people particularly in Zamboanga Peninsula and Sulu archipelago, the homeland of Sama-badjaos.

According to Dr. Pendatun I. Talib, Al-Hadj, secretary general of the Sama-badjao Movement, as a result of volatile unstable peace and order in Southern Philippines, the  Sama-badjaos became depressed and frustrated for they are no longer free to fish in their place of origin as unabated piracy in the sea is still very common and rampant victimizing mostly small scale Sama-badjao fishermen.

“It will be more appreciated if leaders of the Sama-badjao will also be given chance by the government to sit as an observer in this peace process since this ethnic Muslim tribe is the majority among the minorities in Southern Philippines whose fishing livelihood, their main source of income in their place of origin, has been affected. In fact,  other Sama-badjaos have abandoned and left their fishing venture for they are continuously migrating to safer areas in Luzon and Visayas. They have been displaced and are miserable mostly sleeping and staying along the road and begging for their daily sustenance for survival. They feel more secure and comfortable to live on those areas since most of the people thereat are supportive, very kind and have pity on them,” Pendatun said.

The presence of the Sama-badjao in the peace process as an observer may have good opportunities to express their sentiments and may be able to share experiences of life which is supportive to the vital ideas on the issues of peace process, Pendatun pointed out.    Sama-badjaos are considered as one of the most peace loving people in Southern Philippines.