THE Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza gave two options to the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) on how they can raise their concerns to the peace panel despite their lack of representation in the panel. Dureza, during the Pace Table Conversations with the IP Leaders of Mindanao held at Davao Medical School Foundation in Bajada, Davao City, said their office is open for the suggestions of the IPs in the methods they will like to utilize.
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“We in the OPPAP are open in the manner you want, whether you want to organize a group that will directly engage with OPPAP to extend your agenda for the negotiations, or the other one you can ask members of the CPP-NPA panel to come and listen to you, that is other way but we are open, and what is important is that you must be heard,” Dureza said.
Speaking before leader of indigenous communities, Dureza said the government tried to appoint an IP representative yet some tribes do not agree with the said representation and thus cancelled. He said if they will choose one, others will say that it is not one of tribe members.
They also cannot include all to represent each tribe, so they followed their standards in choosing Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) or panel members with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front, and that is their ability to listen.
“They do not represent you period, they do listen to you, they are imminent persons who are capable of listening and in putting in the negotiation table ang inyong mga (your) concerns, that is precisely reason why we have decided to organize peace conversations or peace tables,” he said.
Dureza said they need to listen to the stakeholders and not just to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front. He said that a bigger table should be engaged in the conversation because they are the key to the implementation and signing of the agreements to the law.
“The Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain was not pushed, even the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, so it is hard talk but we have to engage with the bigger table, because if you are not part of it you will feel that you are abandoned by God,” he said.
He also added they target to finish the crafting of the amendments studied by the BTC by June. During the forum, OPPAP lawyer Reuben Dasay Lingating said the IPs seek for representation, in the panel, increased information drive to the Indigenous information drive to the IP communities about the law.
The forum also affirmed the position of Indigenous Peoples National Conference Committee to support government initiatives and assert to participate.
Based on the position paper among the group’s demand is to maintain the integrity of the Ancestral Domains, exception of Ancestral Domain to the land reform program and the affirmation of indigenous people as an identity and must not be considered as a minority.
Source: Sun Star Davao