As a backgrounder, the so-called Moros and Lumad of Mindanao are both indigenous and aborigines in this Island. This can be manifested by both oral narrations and historical accounts since time immemorial of the brotherhood of Apo Mamalu and Apo Tambunaway as forefathers among the Maguindanaon, T’duray-Lambangian and the Menovu tribes in Central Mindanao and that the latter was the ancestor of the Islamized natives and the former by the Non-Islamized natives.
Among the Subanen of Zamboanga Peninsula is the story of four brothers: Dumalan-dalan, Gumabon-gabon, Dahon-palay and Mini-rilid as their ancestors and one of them was converted to Islam. Similar narratives speak of the Bla-an of South Cotabato and Sarangani of the seven brothers and sisters and one of them adopted Islam as their religion and the others remains to their old belief.
At the turned of centuries and the coming of waves of invaders, the succeeding colonial governments of the Philippines and some so-called outside forces pretending to help, these brotherhood and harmonious relationships were severed due to application of “divide and rule” tactics for hundreds of years. The gap or cracked in the relationship between the Islamized and Non-Islamized Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao turned into not only as a simple gap and misunderstanding but to violent conflict or tribal conflict in many parts of Mindanao that resulted in a loss of lives, permanent displacements, damages to crops properties and rendered both peoples as the most marginalized communities in their respective areas.
In the political arena, through more than four decades of negotiation between the Government of the Philippines and the Bangsamoro Fronts, among those most hoped ending the centuries-old armed conflict in Mindanao was the supposedly signing of the “Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008. This gain of the peace process was supported by the majority of the Bangsamoro. On the other hand except for individual outsiders who are known spoilers of peace; the likes of Emmanuel Pinol, Lawrence Cruz, Celso Lobregat and supported by Senator Franklin Drilon and Mar Roxas who filed petition before Supreme Court for the GPH Panel cease and desist from signing the agreement.
In a larger context, there was no group of people who opposed the scheduled MOA-AD signing except coming from Non-Islamized natives. The opposition to the signing of MOA-AD was made by the Subanen of Zamboanga Peninsula headed by Timuay Nanding Modaef who made a General Assembly statement of opposition to the signing of the agreement. Similar opposition was expressed by Tala-andig and Menovu leaders of Bukidnon headed by Datu Migketay “Vic” Saway who made a declaration of opposition by IP Leaders’ to the upcoming peace agreement.
The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) since its inception in 2002 and as its pioneer advocacy endeavored to help fixed the gap between the Islamized and Non-Islamized Natives. After all, the waves of invaders who waged centuries armed campaign against the natives of Mindanao such as the Spaniards for 377 years and combined Americans and Japanese invasion for 46 years, but after all those years they returned to their own countries. But “if the Islamized and Non-Islamized Natives wage their war against each other, then they will engage in this conflict till the end of the world as they do not have any place to return to except in this this shared ancestral lands”, quipped by CBCS Chair Guiamel Alim. Anent the above, CBCS started its engagement for the purpose starting in the year 2002 with series of Regional Consultations all over Mindanao that culminated in the: “1st Mindanao-wide Moro Lumad Summit” participated by 174 Islamized and Non-Islamized Native leaders composed of Sultans, Datus and Timuays held at Camp Alano, Toril, Davao City on December 15 – 19, 2002.
These engagements were sustained up to the the grass-root level especially at the areas known as “tribal-conflict areas in Mindanao. Among those severely affected areas are in North Cotabato and Bukidnon provinces. The engagements started at Barangay or community level in 2003 until 2012 and are still being sustained till these days that resulted to covenants.
In all covenants, there were established traditional “Council of Elders” which were made as part of the peace mechanisms of the respective Barangays or communities.
In the larger context, the following were achieved in an efforts to bring –back the olden brotherhood and kinships of the Islamized and Non-Islamized Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao:
- Bansa-Subanen – Bangsamoro Kinship Reaffirmation – held at Camila Hotel Pagadian City on February 12, 2012.
- Moro – IP Kinship Reaffirmation for Northern Bukidnon – held at Turugan, Barangay Sungko, Lantapan in Bukidnon on March 8, 2012
- Mamalu-Tabunaway Descendants “Tampuda Hu Balagen” Kinship Revival in in Nuro, Upi, Maguindanao in April 2013
- “Manovu-Maguindnanaon Bagkes Kadsusuled” of Southern Bukidnon Declaration in – November 2013.
Milestones and Achievements: 13 tribal conflict-affected communities responded: (After seven (7) years intervention)
Results and Impact:
- Four (4) Peace Summit with Statements of Commitments in resolving their own conflicts conducted
- Seven (7 )Community Peace Covenants Signed
- Return of Internally Displaced Peoples
- Gradual return of trust & confidence between Islamized & Non-Islamized. The former adversaries a started to talk to each other. They are signing peace covenants. Return of IDPs their places of origins. Side by side rebuilding lives (farming & nursing their culture)