Timuay Santos Unsad, former NCIP Commissioner, Timuay Justice and Governance during the First IP-ARMM Inclusive Dialogue and Pre -Legislative Assembly on 13 August 2017 in Upi, Maguindanao, ARMM.
A total of 309 indigenous people participated in the pre legislative tribal assembly with 201 men and 108 women. The assembly comprised some elected local officials, Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives from provincial, municipal down to the barangay level, representatives of Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs), Indigenous Peoples Structures (IPS), women, youtha, and traditional leaders of the Teduray, Lambangian, and Dulangan Manobo indigenous tribes in the Bangsamoro core territory, including some participants from the neighboring municipality of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.
A line up of key speakers and resource persons included Honorable Ramon A. Piang Sr., Municipal Mayor of Upi, Maguindanao, Bai Norma O. Rivera, a member of the Indigenous Peoples Peace Panel, representing Atty. Reuben Lingating, Chairperson of the GRP-IP Peace panel, Commissioner Romeo Saliga, a member of the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Abubakar Campong, MILF-BTC, representing the Central Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Datu Wilfredo Lopez, NAPC-IPSC, Davao Region.
The pre legislative tribal assembly was organized as credible arena for political dialogues between and among the indigenous peoples of ARMM, to build consensus and ownership of the anticipated political reform via the peace process towards sustainable and inclusive peace.
IP Deputy Governor Deonato Mokudef, and concurrently member of the GRP-IP peace panel explained the purpose, mandates and composition of the newly-created GRP IP peace panel. He emphasized that the creation of this peace panel was basically to support of the ongoing peace processes between GPH-MILF in the Bangsamoro, and the GRP- NDFP.
Accordingly, the GRP-IP Peace Panel is composed of government agencies and instrumentalities dealing with IPs in the country. Its primary role shall be to engage, meet, converse with and hear the concerns, inputs, recommendations of IPs in the country.
Municipal Mayor Hon. Ramon Piang Sr. expressed his thanks to President Rodrigo Duterte for having created the GRP-IP Peace Panel. He enjoined his constituency in the assembly to understand that the new created peace panel is not contrary to the ongoing peace process of the GRP-MILF in the proposed Bangsamoro governance, but rather a parallel support for the establishment of sustainable peace and economic development. He said: “We must think of living harmoniously with our neighbors in the community and a hope that the GRP-MILF peace process will prosper so that all together we can live peacefully in community”.
Furthermore, Commissioner Romeo Saliga, representing the Indigenous Peoples in the Expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) said that there must be speedy legislating process for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. Likewise, there must also be collaborative efforts on the ground to support the passage of the proposed BBL.
The assembly generated some recommendations from the participants, as follows:
1. There must be an intensified IEC on the active participation of the IPs to assert their rights and support for the passage of the BBL.
2. The IP must have the lobby contingent to push the IP agenda in the BBL in both the upper and lower houses.
3. The drafters/formulators of the IP agenda to be presented and discussed during the MIPLA in Davao should be done by the identified technical persons, namely Timuay Alim Bandara and Santos Unsad of the Timuay Justice and Governance (TJG), Froilyn Mendoza, Executive Director, Teduray Lambangian Women Organization, Doc. Felicidad Deguzman, DEAN, Upi Agricultural School, Rene Batitao, Legal Officer, Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) under the office of Commissioner Romeo Saliga.
4. Fast track the delineation survey of the ancestral domains/lands of the indigenous peoples while awaiting for the legislative passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).