By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
A member of the House of Representatives has asked the lower house to look into the alleged killings of the Teduray indigenous peoples in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Partylist Representative Amihilda Sancgopan filed House Resolution (HR) No. 1926 last Monday, enjoining the Committee on Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the struggles of various indigenous tribes in the BARMM areas, including the spate of killings of non-Moro IP leaders despite the existence of Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM and Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997.
HR 1926 cited that the number of killings of non-Moro IP leaders and farmers in the autonomous region began to escalate immediately after the signing of the BOL. The inquiry will probe the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) with regards the promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples in the BARMM.
Sangcopan explained Wednesday on Alerto Bangsamoro radio show on DXMS Radyo Bida Cotabato City.
According to Sangcopan the BOL originated from Congress therefore Congress can exercise its oversight powers over its implementation.
She said it is alarming and heart-breaking that Bangsamoro tribes such as the Tedurays, Lambangians, Dulangans and other non-Moro IPs continue to struggle despite their outpouring support to the ratification of the BOL or RA 11054 in 2018.
The AMIN Partylist Representative also discussed the issue of land in her radio guesting, she added that the IP groups continue to be driven away repeatedly from their ancestral lands by lawless armed groups instigating conflicts and harassments resulting to the deaths of several non-Moro IPs.
Relatedly, Timuay Leticio Datuwata reported that since 2018, twenty-three Teduray Lambangian had already been killed and thousands have been displaced from their homes.
Timuay Datuwata, Timuay Labi of the Timuay Justice and Governance of the Teduray and Lambangian tribe, said armed Maguindanaoan groups have been launching attacks in their communities in Upi and South Upi Maguindanao to claim parts of their ancestral land.
Datuwata opposed the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) for its Resolution No. 38 that had asked the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to cease and desist from delineating lands and processing the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) in BARMM. This delays the ancestral domain claim of the Teduray-Lambangian to 208,258 hectares that covers 8 towns of Maguindanao and parts of Sultan Kudarat province.
He said putting the CADT issuance on hold has opened opportunities for armed Maguindanaon groups to claim Teduray-Lambangian ancestral land, some bearing land titles, which shows the complex system of property rights in the region.
Datuwata emphasized that national laws such as the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) should take precedence over regional policies.
As this developed, Sangcopan agrees: “The BOL is quite clear, that it recognizes the IPRA. If there will be an IP Code that will be passed, it would have to be not less than the IPRA. That’s what I’m looking at,” she further said. JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL