Mindanao IPs ask recognition, respect from Bangsamoro Framework Agreement PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 March 2014 14:17

Tribal peoples in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are asking for  recognition and respect of their rights and distinct identity from the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement.

This after more than 200 indigenous peoples community leaders in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat gathered in Upi, Maguindanao Friday for consultations conducted by BTC.

The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are expected to sign within the month the Comprehensive Agreement that will hopefully end the decades-old Mindanao Moro issue and attain genuine peace on the island.

Spearheaded by the Basic Rights and Social Justice Committee and the Committed on Justice and Security of the BTC, the consultation was conducted to hear issues and concerns of various stakeholders on the proposed Bangsamoro government.

“The message of the IPs was loud and clear, the indigenous peoples to be covered within the Bangsamoro core territory are asking recognition from the Commission,” said BTC Commissioner Froilyn Tenorio-Mendoza, herself an IP member of the commission.

She told reporters that the issue of identity and ancestral domain “is a big elephant in the room that the commission had yet to fully see.”

Following the signing of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement (FAB) in October last year, the Teduday, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo tribes residing in the proposed Bangsamoro territory have repeatedly expressed concern over their fate in the new political territory.

Specifically, they expressed concern over the FAB impact on its distinct people, their ancestral domain and their right to self-determination as well.

For decades now, the non-Moro people of Mindanao have called themselves “Tribal Peoples” to differentiate and distinguish them from their Moro brothers and sisters.

Mendoza assured the agreement both the government and the MILF are to sign is definitely inclusive to all regardless of faith, religion, political affiliation and tradition.

She said the demand of the indigenous peoples have been discussed comprehensively during the course of the 17-year-old peace negotiation between the government and the MILF. --- SCS/NYP/EOFx