Lumads meet on GPH-MILF, GPH-NDF peace processes

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 November) – Some 80 Lumad (indigenous peoples) leaders around Mindanao have gathered in Midsayap, North Cotabato for a two-day conference beginning Sunday, to discuss the peace processes between government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and with National Democratic Front (NDF).

Ednar Dayanghirang, GPH peace panel member representing the Lumads and Blaan Datu Antonio Kinoc, alternate panel member of the MILF, will be attending the forum.

The November 4 and 5 conference at the Peace and Development Training Center of the Southern Christian College in Midsayap, organizers say, “will provide a consultative space for the representatives of the peace panels to explain the contents of the recently signed Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) in order for the IPs to study the implications of this to the indigenous communities within and outside the core areas of the proposed Bangsamoro territory,” the press statement released by the organizing groups led by the Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement (MPPM) and Mindanao Peaceweavers, said.

The press statement said the delegates to the conference “will also collectively define the role of IPs in this new political landscape and specifically recommend policy actions and ways forward” and generate an IP women’s voice “wherein the women delegates will be able to articulate and recommend specific actions that pertain to greater and meaningful participation of IP women in the peace processes on matters of representation, advancement & protection of rights especially in the post-agreement scenario.”

In the government-MILF peace process, the two panels have assured that there would be at least  2 Lumads, and 2 women in the 15-member GPH-MILF Transition Commission (TransCom), the body that will draft, among others, the Bangsamoro Basic Law in preparation for the new autonomous political entity called “Bangsamoro”  which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by 2016.

The TransCom will be set up when President Benigno Simeon Aquino III issues an Executive Order creating the TransCom.

The recently signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) provides that the TransCom shall be composed of “15 members all of whom are Bangsamoro,” seven of them selected by the GPH and eight, including the chair, by the MILF.

Quoting Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process,  GPH panel member Senen Bacani told a forum here on October 11, that their seven members will “definitely”  include representatives from the Lumad, women and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal told MindaNews on October 26 that their list of eight has not been finalized but “IP and woman will be included.”

The FAB cites indigenous peoples’ rights thrice.

It provides under Article I Section 5 on the Establishment of the Bangsamoro, that “freedom of choice of other indigenous peoples shall be respected.”

Artcile III, Section 6 on Powers, provides that the “customary rights and traditions of indigenous peoples shall be taken into consideration in the formation of the Bangsamoro’s justice system” and that “this may include the recognition of indigenous processes as alternative modes of dispute resolution.”

Article VI, Section 3 on Basic Rights, provides that “indigenous peoples’ rights shall be respected.”

The GPH panel has a Lumad in the panel – Teduray Ramon Piang, mayor of Upi, Maguindanao, who was a regular member while he was vice mayor but later served as consultant whenhe assumed the mayoralty post from the elected mayor who was appointed to a national post.

The MILF, on the other hand, has an alternate member in the panel, Blaan Datu Antonio Kinoc.

The TransCom will be created through an Executive Order “and supported by Congressional resolutions.”

Aside from drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the TransCom is also tasked to work on proposals to amend the Constitution “for purposes of accommodating and entrenching in the Constitution the agreements of the Parties whenever necessary without derogating from any prior peace agreements” and to coordinate, when necessary, development programs in the Bangsamoro communities in conjunction with the MILF’s Bangsamoro Development Agency and the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute and other agencies.

According to the FAB, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will include the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition  Authority (BTA), will be certified as an urgent bill by the President and upon promulgation and ratification, “the ARMM is deemed abolished” and the BTA takes over until it is replaced in 2016 “upon the election and assumption of the members of the Bangsamoro legislative assembly and the formation of the Bangsamoro goverment.”  (MindaNews)

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