MANILA -- Non-government organizations and indigenous people’s (IP’s) groups noted that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), now filed in Congress as House Bill 4994 and Senate Bill 2408 not only upholds the spirit and essence of the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA) or R.A. 8371 but adds on to the rights that they now currently enjoy.

“I believe the BBL has provisions on respecting [IP rights]... the essence and spirit of IPRA is upheld in the BBL," said Liza Ugay, head of the Balay Rehabilitation Center and spokesperson for the Mindanao Solidarity Network. “We join support for the [BBL] passage."  

The IPRA was modeled from the provisions contained in the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples' Rights. Article V, section 3, of the proposed BBL accords the Bangsamoro government exclusive powers over the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, in accordance with the UN Declaration.

Ugay noted that “IP rights to ancestral domains, exercise of customary laws, forming their own local units, [and] advancing their own governance are in the BBL.”

IP leaders have expressed support for the Bangsamoro Bill and the Bangsamoro peace process earlier this year. Datu Roldan Babelon, member of the Timuay Justice and Governance, Gempa te Kelindaan ne Erumanen ne Menuv, and Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) groups which were consulted during the course of the peace process, said that “[w]e will not say no to the peace agreement. We support the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination.”

In a statement issued on September 17, Deputy Supreme Tribal Chief Santos Unsad of Timuay Justice and Governance  (TJG) said that the group “viewed the IP rights in the BBL as an addition to [their] existing rights under IPRA which are now executory, while that of the additional rights in the basic law are still to be legislated by the Bangsamoro Parliament.”

 

READ: Indigenous Peoples' Perspective on the Proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law

Unsad added that the submission of the Bangsamoro Bill to Congress and the Senate is “a positive development,” while noting that “it is also a big challenge among non-Moro IPs in the BBL-affected areas and to Congress to ensure that there will be no conflict of laws.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles earlier reiterated as well that the government remains committed to the protection of IP rights. Deles said that the Bangsamoro will respect IP rights “without prejudice.”

President Benigno S. Aquino III, who turned over the draft BBL to Congress last September 10, has also given his assurance that the BBL “was crafted to be fair, just, and acceptable to all, whether they are Moros, Lumads, or Christians.”

BTC and MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal already reiterated last May during a meeting with the IP sector that the BTC has ensured the inclusion of IP concerns in the draft law.

The Bangsamoro Bill is expected to be passed into law by the end of the first quarter of 2015, after which a plebiscite will be held to determine the geographical scope of the Bangsamoro region. Unsad said the IP groups will be going together with the MILF to Congress to lobby for the fast-tracking of the BBL, “so that we can start building peace in the war torn areas not only of the Bangsamoro but also of the non-Moro IP areas.”

“I’m calling on our brothers and sisters to give support to the BBL as the essence of IPRA is there,” Ugay said. “Bottom line, we want all the rights to be respected—whether for settlers, IPs, and Bangsamoro.”

 

MANILA, Sep 19 -- Non-government organizations and indigenous people’s (IP’s) groups noted that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), now filed in Congress as House Bill 4994 and Senate Bill 2408 not only upholds the spirit and essence of the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA) or R.A. 8371 but adds-on to the rights that they now currently enjoy.

“I believe the BBL has provisions on respecting [IP rights]... the essence and spirit of IPRA is upheld in the BBL," said Liza Ugay, head of the Balay Rehabilitation Center and spokesperson for the Mindanao Solidarity Network. “We join support for the [BBL] passage."  

The IPRA was modeled from the provisions contained in the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples' Rights. Article V, section 3, of the proposed BBL accords the Bangsamoro government exclusive powers over the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, in accordance with the UN Declaration.

Ugay noted that “IP rights to ancestral domains, exercise of customary laws, forming their own local units, [and] advancing their own governance are in the BBL.”

IP leaders have expressed support for the Bangsamoro Bill and the Bangsamoro peace process earlier this year. Datu Roldan Babelon, member of the Timuay Justice and Governance, Gempa te Kelindaan ne Erumanen ne Menuv, and Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) groups which were consulted during the course of the peace process, said that “[w]e will not say no to the peace agreement. We support the Bangsamoro’s right to self-determination.”

In a statement issued on September 17, Deputy Supreme Tribal Chief Santos Unsad of Timuay Justice and Governance  (TJG) said that the group “viewed the IP rights in the BBL as an addition to [their] existing rights under IPRA which are now executory, while that of the additional rights in the basic law are still to be legislated by the Bangsamoro Parliament.”

Unsad added that the submission of the Bangsamoro Bill to Congress and the Senate is “a positive development,” while noting that “it is also a big challenge among non-Moro IPs in the BBL-affected areas and to Congress to ensure that there will be no conflict of laws.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles earlier reiterated as well that the government remains committed to the protection of IP rights. Deles said that the Bangsamoro will respect IP rights “without prejudice.”

President Benigno S. Aquino III, who turned over the draft BBL to Congress last September 10, has also given his assurance that the BBL “was crafted to be fair, just, and acceptable to all, whether they are Moros, Lumads, or Christians.”

BTC and MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal already reiterated last May during a meeting with the IP sector that the BTC has ensured the inclusion of IP concerns in the draft law.

The Bangsamoro Bill is expected to be passed into law by the end of the first quarter of 2015, after which a plebiscite will be held to determine the geographical scope of the Bangsamoro region. Unsad said the IP groups will be going together with the MILF to Congress to lobby for the fast-tracking of the BBL, “so that we can start building peace in the war torn areas not only of the Bangsamoro but also of the non-Moro IP areas.”

“I’m calling on our brothers and sisters to give support to the BBL as the essence of IPRA is there,” Ugay said. “Bottom line, we want all the rights to be respected—whether for settlers, IPs, and Bangsamoro.”

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