[Press Release] Non-Moro IPs say NO TO BTA EXTENSION | LOYUKAN

#HumanRights #IndigenouPeoples


A broad coalition of solidarity groups and non-Moro Indigenous Peoples (NMIPs) advocating for the full-inclusion of NMIP rights in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has expressed its opposition to the extension of

Bangsamoro Transition process.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) provided for a three-year transition process from 2019-2022, after which the first regular election for the Bangsamoro Government under this Organic Law shall be held and synchronized with the 2022 national elections. There are proposals however in both Houses of Congress calling to postpone the conduct of the BARMM elections.

“The extension could have ramifications for the more than 127,000 Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples (NMIPs), living in 208,258 hectares of ancestral domains that overlap with the Bangsamoro territory given the number of killings and massive displacement from their ancestral lands since the start of the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” LOYUKAN said in their statement.

LOYUKAN is a formation of different Indigenous Political Structure, indigenous peoples’ organizations and IP Rights advocates, led by Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG). Loyukan is a Teduray term for “comrade”.

According to the data compiled by the group, there has been a spate of killings within the ancestral domain of the Teduray and Lambangian communities since 2018. 11 murders of NMIPs from July 2018-July 2019 in Maguindanao Province, and since January 2021, another 11 NMIP killings have been recorded. These killings are believed to be related to land issues. There are also reports of destruction of properties, harassment and violent attacks against the NMIP communities, which forced families to flee from their ancestral domains. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recorded displacements of 667 families and approximately 3,358 individuals as of July 2020, while another 1,000 families in January 2021.

Based on the conflict database of International Alert Philippines, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders, their followers, and relatives were seen to be involved in these violent confrontations regarding land and access to resources from 2018 and halfway through 2020.

“We have submitted reports, and position papers on these cases to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). But nothing has been done to address the worsening human rights situation of our people,” said Timuay Labi Leticio Datuwata, Supreme Tribal Chief of Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG) .

“The last 3 years have diminished our confidence in the BTA to deliver the full inclusion of the rights of the Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples in BARMM, as articulated in the Bangsamoro Organic Law. So we call for the non-extension of the BTA,” added Timuay Labi Datuwata.

The extension of the transition would mean the extension of the term of the BTA, whose members were all appointed by the MILF and President Duterte, and the postponement of the elections in the BARMM.

“We assert however, that formal elections in 2022 should push through as it may resolve the political authority and legitimacy of the current Bangsamoro Parliament and transition authority. The BTA should secure its democratic mandate by giving people the power to choose its own leaders,” Loyukan said in its statement.

The statement was distributed to the Senate and House Members to register their position of no extension, ahead of committee hearings to discuss the proposals for extension. With the statement, LOYUKAN also called on the government to address these urgent issues of peace and human rights in BARMM.

“In the end, peace is nowhere to be found. We have long been witnesses to systemic violence and aggression. Peace is transformed to mean fear and loss of freedom and rule of law that supposedly serves its constituents. The barrel of the gun became the new form of power in these conflict areas.”

Contact information –
Timuay Justice and Governance
Timuay Labi Leticio Datuwata – 09287321624 /datuwataleticio@gmail.com

LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
judy a. pasimio – 09175268341 / judy104@lilak.net

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center
Joolia Demigillo – 09175641609 / jdemigillo@gmail.com

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