IPs, Moro leaders to reaffirm kinship in Sungco

By Walter I. Balane

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/05 March) Aiming to resolve and reaffirm the traditional peace pacts between Lumads and the Moro people, about 33 tribal groups around Mindanao, including 13 from the Islamized indigenous peoples, are minding the reaffirmation of their kinship first, Datu Migketay Victorino Saway told the Bukidnon Press Club Monday.

He said leaders from the tribes around Mindanao are expected to attend what organizers said is a historic reaffirmation of the kinship of the indigenous peoples and the Moro people.Saway said the reaffirmation of kinship between the two groups of peoples is a step towards the resolution of boundary conflicts among Lumad and Moro communities in Mindanao and is moving towards the direction of helping restore peace in Mindanao.

The reaffirmation of kinship ceremony is scheduled on March 7 to 8 in Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon.

“The traditional peace pacts can move from the unwritten to the written. The understanding between the Lumads and the Moros will have a big bearing on the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation,” Saway said, who is one of the leaders of Panagtagbo Mindanao, a loose group of people’s organizations.

Saway said the MILF leadership gave a nod on the initiative but he said they will not take the forefront. He said the Moro representation in the event includes not only the MILF but also those from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro academe, businessmen and other sectors.

Among the highlights in the event is the presentation of testimonies on kinship by the peace pact holders of the Islamized and non-Islamized people of Mindanao.

Saway said there will be an execution of the ritual ceremony reaffirming the kinship of the early inhabitants of Mindanao and an exchange of Sug-ut or tokens among the indigenous peoples and Moro representatives.

He added that they have looked at a formal signing of the agreement on their kinship.

But he said they will only do so on the general principles such as kilalaha (mutual recognition and respect), sayuda (sharing of information and transparency), buliga (cooperation), uyada (mutual protection), and pabaton-batona (help when someone is down).

“These are simple principles we hope we could translate to all people in their dialects,” he added.

Saway admitted that after several meetings, they were originally aiming for reaffirmation of the pre-colonial traditional peace pacts.

“But it became a hindrance because it requires settlement of boundary conflicts, which can come easily after the reaffirmation of kinship,” he said in Cebuano.

Saway added that the peace process between the government and the MILF can benefit from the reaffirmation of kinship and traditional peace pacts at the ground level.

“Maybe the negotiations on the ground can help awaken those above,” he added.

Saway said they aspire to unveil a marker to symbolize the reaffirmation of the kinship of the two groups of people.

The Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) and Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), he said have helped the Lumad peoples organizations in the initiatives. He said expected to join are traditional peace pact holders, ritualists and traditional leaders from of the Moro and Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao.

He said also invited to the ceremony were peace panels of the government and the MILF, the International Monitoring Team (IMT), members of the International Contact Group (ICG), diplomatic community, UN agencies, key government officials, political leaders and civil society.

In a press statement, the Mindanao People’s Caucus said the ritual aims to awaken the kinship relations among the early inhabitants in Mindanao that resulted to the execution of traditional peace pacts, including the Tampuda hu Balagen, Diyandi, Pakang, and Sapa.

“These Peace Pacts are relevant to the on-going negotiation between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the MPC, one of the groups supporting the initiative, said. (Bukidnon News)


Datu Migketay Victorino Saway of the Talaandig tribe in Sungco, Lantapan, Bukidnon speaks during the Kapihan sa Malaybalay  press conference on the Indigenous Peoples and Moro Reaffirmation of Kinship Ceremony on March 7 to 8 in their area. About 33 tribes, including 13 Islamized indigenous peoples from around Mindanao, are expected to attend the historic gathering.
Bukidnon News photo


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