COTABATO CITY (March 28) – Members of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) simultaneously offered prayers Saturday noon in an effort to help bring about peace.
Rebecca Mokudef, Bliyan Libun (Woman Spiritual Leader) of the Tedurays, said the ritual for peace was simultaneously performed in at least 35 IP communities in Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and Maguindanao.
“We want peace in Mindanao, we want to preserve our culture and tradition, we ask the Almighty to help us attain peace for we always suffer when armed conflicts erupt in our communities,” Mokudef said after the ritual at Cotabato City’s highest peak called “Tawan-Tawan.”
She said the IPs support the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law which will govern what would be the new autonomous political entity that would replace the Autonmous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Under the ARMM, the Indigenous Peoples Rights ACT (IPRA) has not been implemented since its creation in 1997. The IPs want this law implemented under the Bangsamoro.
During the ritual in Tawan-tawan, the IPs or Lumads, most of them Teduray and Lambangian, called on the Almighty to keep the IPs and all peoples of Mindanao safe.
She said the armed conflict has divided tribal communities due to displacement, which in turn destroys traditional communities, customs and traditions.
“It is difficult to be evicted from our homeland, our ancestral domain. Slowly this is being destroyed by armed conflict, so we pray for a stop so we can live peacefully,” she explained.
Mokudef said the IP communities support the passage of an inclusive Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“We want to maintain our culture and tradition even with the establishment of Bangsamoro government. We desire for peace that will allow us to govern ourselves and freely practice our traditional laws,” Mokudef said. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)