Tribal leaders reorganize unified Bukidnon council

MALAYBALAY CITY – (Bukidnon News/18 November) Tribal leaders from the province’s seven hill tribes gathered at the Provincial Indigenous
Community Affairs and Development (PICAD) office on November 11 at the
Kaamulan Park here to reorganize the Bukidnon Unified Tribal
Development Council of Elders (Butridce).

Among the top agenda set for the meeting were the new direction of the
council and the anointing of its new chairperson. But no collective
selection transpired because there was no equal representation among
elders in the meeting, convener Anilaw Inlantong Erwin Marte told
Bukidnon News.

The council has been inactive following the death of Datu Romando
Sambile in October 2010.

The meeting was also held to select representatives from each
ancestral domain claimants who will represent the group in a “pasagi”
or a governing council, the eyed to be the highest policy making body
among  the lumads in the province.

Marte said during the meeting they have set a new direction towards
indigenous governance and created seven committees, as follows:
customary law and justice, economic and environment, indigenous
knowledge system and practices, traditional health and medicine,
territorial guards, territorial committee to oversee boundary
conflicts, and belief system and practices committee.

Other matters discussed included the traditional peace pact (Tampuda
Hu Balagen), carbon credit update, and the mandatory representation in
the legislative councils of government.

Datu Makabadbad Russell Aquino, PICAD head, said in his opening
remarks that the strengthening of the council will fortify the Lumad’s
rights over their territory and its right to development and
indigenous governance.

Marte said through Butridce, the Lumads can chart resolutions,
programs and projects to address their different issues and concerns
through the council’s different committees.

He added that the tribal leaders will also be empowered to govern
their communities based on customary laws.

Bae Mananapnay Liza Saway cited some hesitations of tribal leaders
from attending gatherings due to financial constraints.

She said these should not hinder the leaders and instead be encouraged
by the will of their ancestors in protecting their culture and
territory despite their limitations.

Marte said Butridce intends to unite and empower the Lumads to resolve
issues and concerns that will come in the way in their struggle for
self-determination and co-exist with the others in the province and in
Mindanao. (Erlow Talatala/Bukidnon News)

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