Indigenous communities oppose Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) extension
MANILA – The indigenous communities within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) withih the Timuay Justice and Governance, the IP governance structure of the Teduray ang Lambangian said it would be best for the national government not to extend the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
Speaking over Coffee Chat Tuesday morning, Timway Labi Leticio Kutawato said their position has worsened in the BARMM because of a spate of killings and the continuing threats against their claims over their ancestral domain. It was learned the BTA’s opposition to the delineation of Teduray Lambangian ancestral domain, land grabbing related to development projects has added to the Non-Moro Indigenous People which according to Datuwato numbered 129,000 in a survey in eight years ago.
“Eleven Non-Moro Indigenous People have been killed this year along,” Datuwato said.
Asked if they have sought audience with their lawmakers, congressmen representing their districts, Datuwato said Maguindanao Second District Rep. Esmail “Toto” Gaguil Mangudadatu was the principal sponsor of House Bill 8117 while Rep. Loren Legarda authored House Bill 8116, both of which called for the postponement of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.
“Rep. Mangudadatu did not consult us,” Kutawato said.
Jen Corenjo said despite the inclusion of the Indigenous People’s rights in the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples feel their rights have not been implemented under the BTA and the IPs do not feel their rights are protected under the law.
“Elections should be held for the Indigenous People to elect their representative in the parliament. The current IP representatives do not attend meetings called by the IP leaders and are just contented with sending their representatives,” Datuwato said. He added the two IPs sitting in the parliament are both appointed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) so they are bound to protect their principal’s interests.
Jayson Ulubalang, a youth leader from the Teduray Lambangian Youth and Student Association said three of their members have been killed recently while working in the farms.
During the same interview, Ulubalang said the Non-Moro Indigenous People are between two armed groups, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Both Ulubalang ang Datuwato said they have reported these violent incidents to the authorities for appropriate action.
Asked if they are armed as the MILF and the BIFF, Kutawato said they only have their bows and arrows to boot.
The Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples are found in the whole town of Upi, Datu Blah Sinsuat, portions of Talayan, Guindulongan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, the town of Ampatuan, of Maguindanao and six villages in Lebak Sultan Kudarat according to the claims of the TLADC,
He said they have always invited the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to their activities and inform them of their plight and not be red-tagged. (Melo M. Acuña)
Timuay Labi Leticio Dutawato. (Screen grab from COFFEE CHAT/Melo M. Acuna)