MILF’s Lumad negotiator belittles Lumads’ anti-MILF stand

Those who attended the summit in Tulugan, Sungko in Lantapan town representing 26 tribes in Mindanao issued a "unified position" declaring their "strong opposition for the inclusion of our Ancestral Domains/Ancestral Lands into the Bangsamoro homeland." One hundred and seven Lumads signed the position paper.

"Only a few attended the summit, mostly dominated by those who side with the government," said Datu Antonio Kinoc, IP representative to the MILF negotiating panel, in an interview.

Kinoc attended the summit to represent the MILF in the absence of chief negotiator Mohager Iqbal.

"It was more of a failure because they did not constitute the majority of the Lumads here," Kinoc said. "They just want to sabotage the peace process," Kinoc lamented in the vernacular.

Arumanen-Manobo Datu Al Saliling, who represents the Lumad in the government peace panel’s technical working group said 107 Lumads signed the position paper representing 18 major tribes and eight sub-tribes.

Datu Migketay Saway, Panagtagbo chair said the Summit was attended by representatives from the Agusan Manobo, Aromanen, Ata, Ata Manobo, Bagobo, Bagobo Tagabawa, Blaan, Bukidnon, Bukidnon Manobo, Dibabawon, Dulangan, Dinsalugan, Higaonon, Kalagan, Kaolo, Kolibugan, Lambangian, Mamanua, Mandaya, Mangguangan, Mansaka, Matigsalug, Pulangihon, Subanon, Tboli, Tagabawa, Tagulwanon, Talaandig, Teduray, Tigwahanon, Ubo, Ubo Manobo, Umayamnon.

The position paper cited ten reasons for their opposition to the Lumads’ inclusion into the “Bangsamoro Homeland” – that, among others, the Lumads “lived in a culture, beliefs and principles that are totally distinct from the cultures, beliefs, religion and principles of our Moro Brothers.”

Kinoc explained that the MILF has agreed to define Moro as the "inhabitants of Mindanao prior to the coming of Christian settlers," which thus includes the indigenous people. "Muslims and IPs here have been coexisting peacefully," he pointed out.

The 13 Muslim tribes and other IPs originally inhabited the islands of Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Palawan.

"I told them that there is no such thing as 'MILF claim' over their (Lumads) ancestral domain because it is the individual tribes that have claims," Kinoc explained.

He revealed that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and 613 barangays outside the ARMM have been included in the government proposal to be part of the Bangsamoro Homeland. The MILF, however, has yet to respond to the government proposal.

Kinoc shared the same conviction as Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, of the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies and the Bangsamoro People's Consultative Assembly, that the GRP-MILF Peace Agreement, brokered by Malaysia, won't come into conclusion this year considering the sensitivity of the issue.

"The MILF does not have claim over the ancestral domain of the IPs but will only have 'political authority'," Lingga said in an interview with MindaNews last Saturday at the Seagull Beach Resort in Davao. (Gandhi Kinjiyo/MindaNews)

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