21 August, 2014
13 Nov 12

Philippines: Midsayap Declaration  of IPs in Mindanao

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Midsayap DeclarationWe, the eighty (80) Tribal Leaders coming from the B’laan, Dulangan Manobo, Erumanen ne Menuvu, Higaonon, Kulamanen, Lambangian, Manobo, Langilan Manobo, Mangguangan, Matigsalog, Monuvu, Pulangiyen Manobo, T’boli, Tagakaolo, Teduray and Tinananon Monuvu tribes gathered here in the “Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on the Peace Processes in Mindanao” in Midsayap, Cotabato on November 3-6, 2012, strongly assert our inherent, inalienable and non-negotiable right to self-determination and commit to engage all Mindanao peace processes.

Today, we continuously and strongly assert our distinct identity as Indigenous Peoples forged by our history and legacy. We therefore demand that our identity be recognized and respected and not to be subsumed by other identities.

As ancestral domain is the seedbed of the Indigenous Peoples’ existence and destiny, we reiterate the affirmation of our territorial rights based on traditional territorial agreements forged by our ancestors through sacred peace pacts known as “pakang”, “sapa”, “dyandi”, and “tampuda hu balagon” and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (R.A.8371) and other international declarations. Further, we reiterate our rights to the management, development and control over our ancestral domains and the resources therein.

Furthermore, we invoke the primacy of our customary laws (adat te kukuman, pooviyan woy gontangan, tena menuwa), guiding our traditional governance and justice systems. Thus, we demand the sole autonomy to oversee our peoples and territories. All issues and concerns pertaining to indigenous peoples should be addressed in accordance to our traditional processes.

With these assertions, we generally call on the Government of Philippines and the revolutionary groups and other stakeholders in the peace processes:

  1. To work for the full implementation of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (R.A. 8371);
  2. To fully implement and establish the Autonomous Region of Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao;
  3. To fast track the processing of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) and the issuance of Certificate of Ancestral Domain/Land Title (CALT);
  4. To spare the ancestral domains of the Indigenous Peoples from becoming battlegrounds and to support its declaration as Zones of Peace;
  5. To stop the recruitment of Indigenous Peoples, women and children in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the other armed groups;
  6. To recognize and correct the historical injustices committed against the Indigenous Peoples through just reparation and restoration of relationships;
  7. To launch open and continuous multi stakeholders dialogues between the communities and the armed groups.

We specifically call for the GPH and MILF peace panels:

  1. To recognize and respect the Bangsa-Mamalu autonomy and the tribal self-governance of the Teduray, Lambangian and Dulangan Manobo as enshrined in the customary laws;
  2. To fully implement the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) in the proposed Bangsamoro Government;
  3. To ensure the representation of IP leaders and IP women to the Transition Commission and the Bangsamoro Government thereafter;
  4. To institutionalize conflict resolution mechanisms in accordance to the customary laws of the Indigenous Peoples;
  5. To implement broad, systematic and grassroots-based information dissemination and awareness-building on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

We also specifically call for the GPH and the CPP/NDFP/NPA peace panels:

  1. To immediately resume the formal peace negotiations;
  2. To activate and localize the Joint Monitoring Committee and guarantee the representation of Indigenous Peoples;
  3. To stop the harassments, threats and the summary and extra-judicial killings of indigenous leaders.

With the guiding spirit of Magbabaya and the wisdom and encouragement of our ancestors, we solemnly swear and commit to the abovementioned principles and proposals as Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao who are united to defend and advance our rights and self-determination.

Signed in the Southern Christian College (SCC) Peace and Development Training Center, College Hill, Poblacion 8, Midsayap, Cotabato on November 5, 2012.