By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi — Tribal leaders from the province of Tawi-Tawi underwent a paralegal training and orientation on indigenous peoples’ mandatory representation in local legislative council and policy making body.
The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (MIPA) conducted the activity recently in Bongao Municipality.
First day of the activity centered on paralegal training on basic legal process in the regular court and capability enhancement of tribal leaders in the traditional or tribal justice systems.
MIPA Legal Officer IV Atty. Mona Diragen on Wednesday explained that the purpose of the training was to equip the tribal leaders and the indigenous people mandatory representative (IPMR) with knowledge pertaining to their role as tribal leaders of the community.
“In the Bangsamoro Organic Law, there is a provision regarding traditional or tribal justice system. So being an IP nire-recognize po yung kanilang karapatan na gamitin po yung kanilang customary laws in settling disputes among themselves,” Diragen said.
“It is one of the reasons or purposes kung bakit natin kino-conduct ang training na ito para at least just in case po na ma-fully operationalize yung tribal justice system ay well–equipped na po sila mag handle ng mga dispute within their jurisdiction,” she added.
However, she also emphasized that there are limitations to the cases that could be handled by the tribal leaders. “For instance, heinous crimes, which are among exceptions of cases that do not fall within their jurisdiction,” Diragen said.
“Alam po natin na ang heinous crimes are not subject for any amicable settlement. Kaya di po pwedeng hawakan ng mga tribal leaders. Ito po ang isa sa mga limitations na nais natin ipaalam sa ating mga tribal chieftain,” Diragen said. (We know that heinous crimes are not subject for any amicable settlement. That’s why it cannot be handled by the tribal leaders. This is one of the limitations that we would like to emphasize to our tribal chieftain,” Diragen said.)
During the workshop, the tribal leaders or elders and the IPMR composed of 50 Sama-Badjao from the municipalities of Bongao, Sibuto, Sitangkay, Tandobas, Simunul,Panglima Sugala, Sapa-Sapa, South Ubian, and Languyan, were asked to list down their expectations and concerns.
Among the weighty expectation manifested in the participants’ list was ‘recognition’ by peers in the society and as well recognition by the local governments. They also listed down ‘identity’ and ‘equality’ as among their concerns which they felt as still far from reality.
On the second day, a senior official from the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government’s (MILG) provincial office in Bongao and discussed the guidelines for the IPMR in local legislative council and policy making body.
Included in the discussion were the manner of selection, recommending and revoking of the appointments, qualification and disqualification of IPMR, terms and other relevant provision of the guidelines, and the duties and responsibilities of IPMR and tribal leaders or chieftains.
The final day of the activity focused on information and education campaign (IEC) attended by another batch of about 50 Sama-Badjao participants from Barangay Tubig Tanah of Bongao. (JIJ)