[Press Release] Senator Grace Poe promises to probe issues of non-moro IP rights in Bangsamoro Basic Law

Senator Grace Poe promises to probe issues of non-moro IP rights in Bangsamoro Basic Law

File Photo source: ATM. Photo courtesy of Joseph Purugganan/Focus on the Global South

File Photo source: ATM. Photo courtesy of Joseph Purugganan/Focus on the Global South

Manila – Non-moro Indigenous Peoples (IP) in the Bangsamoro, led by Timuay (local term for Teduray leader) Alim Bandara, did not leave empty handed in ‘Tapatan sa Aristocrat’ on Monday, when Senator Grace Poe said that she will study the merits of the IPs concerns in Mindanao and have it assessed for a senate inquiry for a possible senate hearing – a promising outcome of the 3-day activity of the various IP groups who are lobbying the full inclusion of their rights in the undergoing finalization of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

According to Senator Poe who confirmed that the law in question is still in the Office of the President and has not yet reached Congress, the passage of the BBL is a process that is being carefully deliberated especially to address concerns such as the IP rights. She also admitted that there are a lot of concerns to be settled in the Bangsamoro Basic Law especially in the case of ancestral domains.

Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CENPEG) Board Member Dr. Temario Rivera, also shared the same opinion as Poe, stating that there is in fact a clear need for a clearer status of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

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 the spokesperson of the non-moro IP groups in the ‘Tapatan sa Aristocrat’ forum, raised the issues of identity, ancestral domains, right to self-governance, protection of the non-moro IPs’ existing rights and their call for a more transparent review on the BBL.

According to Bandara, the final draft of the BBL that was submitted to the Office of the President was not shown to the non-moro IP groups, and thus leaving them blind on the provisions of IP rights included in the law.

“Ang misyong ito, kailangan namin [Makita ang draft ng BBL] sa Senado, sa Congress o sa House of Representatives, dahil alam namin na from the Office of the President, dadaanan ito dito. Yung mga kulang [na provisions], halimbawa yung mga hindi naisama na karapatan ng katutubo na nasa loob ng core area ay gusto naming maisama sa draft ng batas na ito na gagawin. (This mission is to ensure that we see the draft of the BBL in the Senate, or House of Representatives, because we know that this will pass through these offices after it has gone from the Office of the President. We want to include the provisions that are lacking in the draft of the law being finalized – for example, the rights of the IPs inside the core area.) said Bandara.

The core area that Bandara mentioned is the territories inside the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In a closing statement, Bandara stressed that they are not opposing the Bangsamoro Basic Law and that they have nothing against the peace process that they have continuously supported from the very beginning. He also said that their call is the full inclusion of the non-moro IP rights in the BBL; that the new legislation should not eradicate their identities and rights, but nurture and respect it instead.

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 23, 2014

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