B’laan Datu Antonio Kinoc, MILF peace panel member, passes away

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /03 May) –Antonio “Tony” Kinoc, a B’laan Datu who served as alternate member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel representing Indigenous Peoples, passed away shortly after midnight on Sunday, his daughter announced through Kinoc’s Facebook wall.

“I lost my daddy last nite at 12:36,” AnneQueen Kinoc wrote a little past 5 a.m. Sunday.

While designated as “alternate member,” the 66-year old Kinoc was a constant presence in the MILF peace panel’s negotiations under the Aquino administration, in Kuala Lumpur and in the Philippines, and in the public hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). He also served as consultant of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the 15-member joint Government-MILF body that drafted the BBL.

The BTC extended its “deepest sympathies and condolences” to Kinoc’s family. The MILF peace panel has yet to issue a statement on Kinoc’s demise.

“Datu Kinoc or Sir Tony as we fondly called him was a B’laan tribal leader, a member of the MILF Peace Panel and a consultant to the BTC. He was a champion of peace and a friend to the Bangsamoro people,” the BTC said.

Patricia Sarenas, chair of the Mindanao Coalition of Development NGOs (Mincode) and the Coalition of Development NGOs (Code-NGO), said they are “saddened by your passing.”

“Thank you for your valuable contribution to the peace talks!,” Sarenas said.

Kinoc was familiar with the Bangsamoro struggle as he worked as a staffmember of a brother who was a member of the Regional Consultative Commission (RCC), the body that drafted the proposed law that would govern what would be the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the late 1980s. He also served as a member of the Consultative Assembly of the Special Zone of Peace and Development (SZOPAD), set up after the signing of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberaiton Front (MNLF).

Mary Ann Arnado of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus said Kinoc “will be a big loss to the peace process and especially for the Indigenous Peoples whom he had valiantly fought for, not only in words but with persistent, consistent and dedicated acts of service.”

Arnado recalled that just before Kinoc fell ill, “Datu Tony proudly told me he was able to have perfect attendance in the public and committee hearings on the BBL.”

She noted how Kinoc, during public consultations would often say: “I am a living witness of the fact that the MILF will not compel people to become Muslims. I have worked with them all these years in the negotiation and they have always respected and recognized my own identity and faith.”

Arnado said words are “not enough to honor and pay gratitude to this person.”

“We can only repay you Datu by working doubly hard to ensure that what you fought and worked for will become a reality for every Bangsamoro and indigenous people in Mindanao. Salamat Datu, we will miss you dearly,” she said.

Kinoc was articulate in narrating the Moro and IP struggles for self-determination.

His sense of humor helped ease tension in the peace negotiations. He never seemed to have run out of jokes.

Quel Valencia, who used to work with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and a member of the secretariat of the government panel during negotiations in Kuala Lumpur wrote on Kinoc’s Facebook wall that Kinoc was “One of — if not the most — cheerful figures in the peace process.”

Cess Nagtalon Kinoc posted on her father’s Facebook wall how he was “always ready with his jokes.”

“He was classy, well-versed, and he listened very well to what everyone had said before he made his speeches,” she said.

She also shared with her father’s Facebook friends that her father “taught us to speak English, he never tried to hurt us, he was always ready with his jokes which were always so witty. He wasn’t strict, but he always made sure we knew what was right. He turned us to movies and music and books because he said there was a lot to learn from these. He loved the classics so much he could quote every John Wayne film in John Wayne’s voice. I loved listening to his stories: he told the history of the world as bedtime stories, but never tarnishing the manner of how it was written. He told them as it is. He loved his people and fought for them each time. He was proud of us as his kids even though we failed so many times, he took them as his mistakes.”

“I could ask him almost about everything. He’s the reason why I never get lost anywhere in the Philippines. He may be Datu Kinoc, a leader to the Bla’ans, but to us you’ll just be that loving, humble and unselfish father,” she added. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

  • Jokey Solaiman

    Condolence
    to the family, relatives and friends of Datu Tony Kinoc. we’ve lost one
    firm and resolute peace advocate. I’ve known Datu Tony for his
    commitment towards peace without loosing his identity as as leader of
    Non-Islamized Indigenous Peoples. As always heard him in any occasion
    saying “I’m a pure and through and through B’la-an by blood” to alay
    some misconception that he was Muslim because of being member of the
    MILF Technical working group and later as Panel-Member representing IP
    groups. He is such straight-forward person and fearless in his own
    beliefs and principles but a very jolly friend. May his soul rest in
    Peace.

  • estipona

    I liked to hope that the moro will keep their word and pact with the Bilaans. But historically these pacts in the past was always betrayed by the moro. Since moro has more resources and more weapons, they always force the Bilaans to submit to the moro. And This pact between Bilaan and moro will not last long . It will end as soon as the moro will gain the power. It happened before and it will happen again.
    I rather urge the Bilaan to to established their ancestral land and have it documented and accepted by the government .Bilaan and other non-muslim IP will make a unified effort and organized themselves into a strong association to promote and protect their culture while being productive and viable partner of the government in progress and in peace and order. In numbers there is always strength.

  • Moro

    I am a Moro. We must adhere the Pact of our fotefathers, the brothers Apo Mamalu and Apo Tabunaway. Education is vital. Proposed BBL will have a permanent seat for ALL Lumad Leaders so that all concerns will be heard. Together we can shape a Curriculum teaching both our shared History to the classrooms with BBL, next generations will hear the Apo Mamalu and Apo Tabunaway Pact. BBL was forged with willing Lumad leaders like Atty Kinoc and many other Lumad brothers as advisers. Trust Datu Kinoc wisdom and Legacy. Moro and Lumad has a shared future.