IPs face being side-swept, oppressed under BBL’s Bangsamoro territory- Lumad Mindanaw

(late upload oct 10, 2014 news)

The estimated 4 million indigenous people living in Bangsamoro territory as defined in the Bangsamoro Basic Law would face a spectre of having their rights being side-swept and in worst scenario of being oppressed if the draft BBL is approved in Congress as is.

Lumad Mindanaw People Federation (LMPF) interim chairman Jimid Mansayan charged that the BBL draft submitted by government and MILF peace panels to the Congress suffered serious flaws in not recognizing the rights of the indigenous people, customary rights and ancestral domain.

“What appears in the BBL is that, once it is approved, the indigenous people (IP) in BBL territory would be put under the control of the Bangsamoro. We would be under the Muslims, and we would be subjected of their proselytization efforts to become Muslims,” he said.

“The Bangsamoro has still no track record of securing and promoting the rights of the IP. We ask that our rights should be recognized based on the existing Indigenous People’s Rights Act (Republic Act No. 8371),” he added.

“In Part 1 alone of BBL, on the issue of identity, they want that people in the Bangsamoro territory shall be called as Bangsamoro, so our identities are endangered of being eliminated. We are asking that for us, non-Moro indigenous people, our identities such as being Manobo, Teduray and others should be recognized in the BBL,” Mansayan explained.

LMPF’s IP leaders are foreseeing that if the BBL is approved as is the first brunt of its oppressive impact to the IP would fall on the 300,000 families of Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan-Manobo tribes who predominantly compose the North Upi and South Upi towns in Maguindanao, which is part of existing ARMM.

Teduray tribe alone has more than 200,000 hectares of ancestral domain, while the Moro tribes have nil ancestral domain in the said two towns, based on the data of the National Commission on Indigenous People.

Mansayan called on Congress to find ways not to rekindle the centuries-old conflict between Muslims and Lumads in the history of the distant past before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors and Christian migrants in Mindanao where their forefathers had been made slaves by the Muslims.

“After that turbulent past, before the advent of Christendom in Mindanao, what had been existing between the Moro people and un-Islamized indigenous people was mutual respect and co-existence,” he said.

Mansayan and other IP leaders in Mindanao are attending a three-day peace training in Davao City starting Wednesday. It is being sponsored by Manila-based non-government organization Sulong CARHRIHL.

Sulong CARHRIHL is a network that monitors the Government’s and the Maoist rebels’ compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which the two parties signed in 1998.

The training seeks to capacitate IP leaders on laws and rules, principles on peace and peace building and how these would be applied to their communities. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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