[Press Release] IP leaders lobby for full inclusion of rights in the Bangsamoro Basic Law

IP leaders lobby for full inclusion of rights in the Bangsamoro Basic Law

Manila – On May 19 to 21, non-Moro Indigenous Peoples in the Bangsamoro will intensify their plea for the recognition of their own rights in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) – currently being written and reviewed by the Office of the President – through visits and discussions with various organizations and government institutions in Manila.

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The 6-person IP lobby delegation, led by Timuay Alim Bandara, a Teduray leader and Head Claimant of the Ancestral Domain claims of the Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo in the ARMM, and other IP women and men leaders from Erumanen ne Menuvu and Obo Monovu tribes aim to call on the Philippine government to include in the due diligence and eventual passage, a BBL that fully recognizes their distinct identity as non-Moro Indigenous Peoples and their fundamental rights to govern their fusaka inged or ancestral territory.

“We support — as we have from the beginning — the peace process and the agreement reached between the Philippine government and our brothers MILF. We congratulate them on this historic achievement,” said traditional leader timuay Alim Bandara, who is also council member of the Indigenous Political Structure registered as Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG).

“However, as a community with our own customary practices and beliefs, culture, history, and identity and territory, my people, the Teduray, are appealing to the Philippine Government to take notice and to help us in our struggle to survive and live with dignity,” Bandara added.

Another timuay from the Teduray community, a member of the TJG, and former commissioner of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Santos Unsad also said: “Let not our distinct identity as a people be ignored and erased from our history. Instead, let us continue to walk this road to justice and peace carrying our rights, our lands, our identities.”

Among the issues to be raised in the visit are the IP’s right to identity, ancestral domains, self-determination and self-governance, and respect and protection of their other existing rights – issues that have been raised by the IP groups in the different peace talks, but, which have not been certainly reflected in the documents that came out of the negotiations process between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The IP lobby mission is convened by the Timuay Justice Governance (TJG) and the Gempa te Kelindaan ne Kamal, the indigenous political structures (IPS) of the Teduray, Lambangian and Erumanen ne Menuvu tribes, respectively. With the support of the IP SYNERGY IN THE BANGSAMORO – a coming together of various Civil Society Organizations (CSO) – the lobby mission will kick off with ‘Kapihan sa Aristocrat’ in Malate on May 19 at 9:00 am. Among the confirmed attendees in the Kapihan are Senator Grace Poe, Professor Harry Roque, representatives from CENPEG and Cong. Nancy Catamco. Kapihan will be followed by a media briefing on May 20, the time and venue of the event to be announced.

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For more information please contact:

Alim M. Bandara -Timuay Justice and Governance, 0926.986.8488 and 0930.808.1422, timuaygovernance@yahoo.com
Grace Villanueva – Executive Director, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC), 0918.943.6119, grace.villanueva@lrcksk.org
Mabelle Carumba – Minadanao Peoples’ Peace Movement – 0999.872.1405, al_carumba@yahoo.com
Lyndie Prieto – Initiatives for International Dialogue, 0917.724.7579, lyndeeprieto@yahoo.com

Press Release
May 16, 2014

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