June 21, 2024 – In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), where livelihood emerged as the top concern among likely voters in a May 2024 IAG Research survey (62%), distinct priorities have surfaced for the Teduray and Lambangian non-Moro minorities in the Maguindanao provinces.


Unlike other ethnic groups surveyed, the Teduray and Lambangian communities prioritize infrastructure and public works as their most pressing issue (44.6%). These communities, clustered in remote areas of southwestern Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, lack basic amenities such as electricity, running water, social services, and proper roads, according to IAG Research.


READ: Setting Baselines: Preparing the BARMM Electorate for the First Ever Regional Parliamentary Elections in 2025


Recently, leaders from these communities, alongside tribal chieftains of other Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples (NMIP) groups, voiced concerns over Bill No. 273, the proposed “Bangsamoro Indigenous Peoples Development Act of 2024”. They argue that the proposed law inadequately recognizes the unique identity of NMIPs in BARMM, potentially undermining rights granted under the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA). For them, ancestral domains are not just land but sacred extensions of their existence, demanding protection and recognition.


READ: Ancestral Domains, Uncertain Future: Non-Moro Indigenous Peoples Fight for Recognition in Bangsamoro IP Law


In contrast, peace and order ranks highest among Maguindanaons (29.1%), a priority less emphasized by Teduray/Lambangian (3.6%), Meranaws (4.8%), Tausugs (6.2%), and Sama (9.8%). These groups lean more towards prioritizing livelihood projects (ranging from 13.6% to 40.9%).


Meranaw, Maguindanaon, and Tausug constitute the three largest ethnic groups among likely voters in BARMM, representing 26%, 25.1%, and 21.1%, respectively, predominantly Muslim. Non-Muslim ethnic groups include the indigenous Teduray/Lambangian (3.2%) and Visayan/Cebuano (2.4%).


The minority Teduray account for 5% of the household population in the Maguindanao provinces, according to the 2000 Census of Population and Housing.


Teduray/Lambangian and Sama Communities Lack Electoral Information Sources


Social media and family and friends serve as the primary information sources for likely voters among BARMM’s ethnic communities. However, the Teduray/Lambangian and Sama peoples stand out due to relatively high numbers of likely voters reporting no sources of information about the upcoming regional parliamentary elections (45.5% and 36.6%, respectively). Those who do have sources primarily rely on radio (Teduray/Lambangian: 20.9%) and government leaders (Sama: 36%). The Commission on Elections and print are insignificant sources of information about the regional parliamentary elections across all the ethnic communities.


Community Leaders: Key Sources of Information about BARMM’s Political Parties for Teduray


Regarding ethnic affiliation, family and friends remain important sources of information about political parties, particularly among Iranun (74.4%) and Meranaw (56.8%). Social media and the Internet also play crucial roles, especially among Iranun (46.7%), Meranaw (44.7%), Visayan/Cebuano (43.9%), and Maguindanaon (41.8%).


An exception is the Teduray/Lambangian community, where only 9.1% turn to social media—likely due to access and affordability constraints. Instead, likely voters in this ethnic group rely on community leaders (29.1%) and government officials (26.4%). Approximately 21.8% report having no information sources at all.


Half of Meranaws (50.5%) obtain information from radio, while 51% of Yakans turn to government leaders. Meanwhile, a third of likely voters in the Sama community (35.7%) lack sources of information about political parties in BARMM.