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Posted on 14 March 2015 by cbcs_mike

DSC09211-300x225Around four hundred key leaders coming from different tribes and organizations of the Islamized and Non-Islamized native inhabitants of Mindanao converged
including the Settlers and support groups both local and international personalities converged in Barangay Sungko, Lantapan, Bukidnon on March 7 -8, 2015.

The activity is part of yearly celebration which is now in its third year commemoration of the Moro-IP Kinship Reaffirmation by the key leaders of the Islamized Indigenous Peoples better knownas Moros and the Non-Islamized Indigenous Peoples or the so-called Lumads of Mindanao spearheaded by the Descendants of the Tala-andig Tribes headed by Datu Migketay “Victorino” Saway and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) lead by its chair Mr. Guiamel M. Alim and support groups like Mindanao Peoples’ Caucus (MPC) and others.

As backgrounder, the Moro-IP Kinship Reaffirmation was formed out of the continuing efforts of the leadership of CBCS in coordination with large groups and umbrella organizations of the Lumad among them the Tala-andig Descendants Groups, NATABUK Federation based in Kibawe, Bukidnon headed by Datu Wilmar “Bobong” Ampuan , Panagtagbo Mindanaw erstwhile headed by Datu Vic Saway, Organization of T’duray-Lambangian Conference (OTLAC) headed by Bangsamoro Transition Commissioner Timuay Melanio Ulama base in Upi, Maguindanao, Pinagsalbukan Bansa Subanen (PBS) base in Zambuanga-Sibugay.

The long process of brainstorming and dialogues of the leaders of the Moro and Lumad finally agreed to undertake the assembly of leaders coming from various tribes of the two native inhabitants of Mindanao with the main title: “Reaffirmation of Kinship between Moro and Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao”. The affirmation also embodies the principles that sets parameters on how will this kinship be implemented in their day to day lives which the two peoples affirmed their commitment to sustain up to their incoming generations. These principles are imprinted in a monument that serves as a permanent marker and symbol of the revival of brotherhood of the two peoples or nations as: (1) Mutual recognition and respect (2) Mutual sharing of information (3) Cooperation (4) Mutual protection of life and (5) Mutual obligation to help which they reaffirmed three years ago or in particular last March 8, 2012.

The commemoration started with prayers and rituals in their own respective ways from the Islamized, Non-Islamized and Settlers tribes followed by an overview and brief narratives of the kinship reaffirmation with their commitment of support for sustaining and implementing the principles that lies under the covenant. Each of the major tribal group leaders and representatives were allowed to share their outlooks and affirmation in sustaining and entrenching kinship standard in their own respective tribes.

On his message Mike Kulat in behalf of CBCS Chair Guiamel Alim emphasized their assurance not only their commitment for sustaining this kinship between the so-called Moros and Lumad as both indigenous peoples of Mindanao but already a vocation for CBCS. He further stressed that their organization started to engaged for the revival of harmonious relationships of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao for the last twelve years of their existence and that their efforts already yielded at least ten “peace covenants and brotherhood” in the form of “tampuda hu balagen, pakang, husay, bagkes, pamiyaya, pamaras” and other indigenous traditional system attained trough continuing dialogues, consultations and “kevorunan” or assemblies of leaders of various tribes. This he said: “The above are our way of saying CBCS is dead-serious in effort to save the once harmonious relationship that obtained crack and gaps between the two native peoples of Mindanao as an effect of outside forces and influence and or deep colonization programs” of waves of colonizers.

He ended with remarks: “That this marker as monument, the numerous peace covenants and brotherhoods signed will be useless without embedding it to ourselves and making it as already part of lives”. And further gave an example of one of the principle of the affirmation of kinship which is “mutual help” saying: “At this right moment I want to emphasized that in Maguindanao province already not less ten municipalities are now being considered gosh towns as an effect of military all-out offensive against elements of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters that displaced around 75,000 civilian individuals and recorded no less than 1,600 sick in different evacuation centers.” These and the status of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which may be equated to as issues between “lives and deaths” for Bangsamoro is now passing through needle’s eye in Congress needs our concerted efforts if only to implement the spirit of principle of mutual help.

Among those invited as keynote and guest speakers are second district of North Cotabato in the person of Congresswoman Nancy Catamco, North Cotabato Board Member Kelly Antao, Mayor Tiongco of Damulog, Bukidnon, a Councilor from Davao City and others from local government units. The guests gave their respective messages and all them committed an all-out support in sustaining the kinship programs.

The commemoration activities explored to issue a statement of support in particular to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) now being endangered at Congress and the prevailing calls from some sectors and individuals in many parts of Luzon and Metro Manila to wage an “all out war” in Mindanao at the wake of the uncoordinated tragic PNP-SAF operation in Mamasapano last January 25 that resulted to the deaths of 44 SAF members, 18 MILF Forces and 5 civilians. However due to time constraint instead the delegates symbolized their support to the GPH-MILF Peace Process by forming a circle and chanted “Here in Mindanao, we want peace” and “We want peace, here in Mindanao” which is chanted at intervals after each speakers. The activity also ended with flower offering to the “monument” of kinship followed by “food for peace” ritual and the delegates symbolic signing in a canvas calling for peace in Mindanao.

By Mark Hussain

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