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Achieving Peace and Justice in Mindanao

Achieving Peace and Justice in Mindanao

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Published by mindanaopeace
Achieving peace and justice in Mindanao through the tri-people approach.
Achieving peace and justice in Mindanao through the tri-people approach.

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Published by: mindanaopeace on Nov 21, 2010
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Rudy B. Rodil 
Achieving peace and justice in Mindanaothrough the tri-peopleapproach
 Tere was a time when the populations o Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago were predominantly Moros and Lumad. As a result o the resettlement program initi-ated by the American colonial administration and later sustained by the governmento the Philippines, settlers rom the northern islands poured in droves into the region. Within less than sixty years, they had displaced the indigenous inhabitants and becamethe majority population. Tis created an uneasible situation that did not benetthe local population, or whom common good was measured in terms o numericalmajority. oday we must consciously reshape the relationships o the present inhabitantso the region i we are to live a lie o peace and development. o this end, we proposethe tri-people approach. One way o accentuating the need or the tri-people approachis by zeroing in on the Bangsamoro struggle or sel-determination, which has been atthe center-stage o Mindanao history in the last 42 years, rom 1968 to the present. Te May 1 Maniesto o the MIM (originally Muslim, later MindanaoIndependence Movement) declared its intention to establish an Islamic state inpredominantly Muslim areas o Mindanao. Te Moro National Liberation Front(MNLF) led the Moro struggle or national liberation, declaring its desire to createa Bangsamoro Republic within its claimed ancestral homeland, the entire area o Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan (Minsupala), through armed struggle.From 1972 to 1996, no less than 75% o the Armed Forces o the Philippines were deployed in Moroland and between 100,000 to 120,000 lives were lost in that
Rudy B. Rodil is a ormer member o the Government Peace Negotiating Panel inthe GRP-MNLF talks (1993-96) and GRP-MILF talks (2004-2008). He is a retiredProessor o History at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute o echnology,IIligan City.
 war—50% MNLF, 30% AFP, and 20% civilians, mostly Moros in whose areas the warraged. Te Philippine government spent 73 billion pesos on combat expenses alone.Ater the MNLF signed the Final Peace Agreement with the government in1996, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) elt that the desired Bangsamorosel-determination had yet to be attained and decided to resume the ght. Now it istechnically at war though engaged in peace negotiations with the government.One may also include in the picture the kidnap-or-ransom activities o theAbu Sayya Group, whose targets tended to be non-Muslims, mostly Christians andChinese businessmen, as a matter o act.Te social turmoil that revolved around the Memorandum o Agreementon Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the Government o the Republic o thePhilippines (GRP) and the MILF highlights the reasons or the guardedness amongthe tri-people. Te negative public reaction rom Christian settlers, encouraged by opposition politicians, gave way to the petition or a emporary Restraining Orderrom the Supreme Court to prevent the signing o the MOA-AD and the court’s even-tual ruling that the document is unconstitutional. Te very position o Malacañang,saying that it would no longer sign the document “in its present orm or in any otherormregardless o the Supreme Court ruling, may have triggered the resh outbreak o  violence that was led by three top commanders o the MILF in central Mindanao. Allthese indicate both the complexity o the problem and the grave urgency to resolve it.One must add to this complexity the Lumad’s own collective maniestosprotesting their inclusion in the MILF-claimed Bangsamoro ancestral domain, along with their political position, which states that they are not Bangsamoro and thereorehave their own ancestral domain and right to sel-determination. Tree distinct interest groups are coming to a head. How to reconcile thesepositions within the Philippine republic whose very oundation is being questioned isone o the biggest challenges aced by the present Aquino administration. Tis paper is divided into our parts. Part One is on the historical backgroundo the tri-people relationship; Part wo covers the Moro and Lumad assertions o rightto sel-determination; Part Tree ocuses on the basic considerations in advocacy orpeace and development, and Part Four highlights specic recommendations.
Part One he Concept of ri-People Relationship
It is only in Mindanao that we speak o a tri-people relationship. By tri-people we reer to the Moros or Muslims, the Lumad and the migrants, mostly Christiansettlers and their descendants, the greater number now belonging to the second, thirdor ourth generations and are already considered homegrown Mindanawons; also, othermigrants who are not Christians. Te grouping is loose and there are several overlaps inbetween, but the designations are popularly used in the region.
Te Moros
 Te name
was originally given by the Spaniards to those Muslims o northern Arica who occupied Spain or nearly eight centuries, rom 711 to 1492 A.D,and later to the Muslims o the Philippine archipelago. Now it reers to the 13 ethno-linguistic groups o the Maranao, Maguindanao, ausug, Sama, Sangil, Iranun, Kalagan,Kalibugan, Yakan, Jama Mapun, Panimusan, Molbog and Sama Dilaut, also popularly known to outsiders as Badjaos. Tey are mostly Muslims, except or the Kalagan, who are only partly Muslim, and the Sama Dilaut, who are generally non-Muslims. Tey constitute, according to the 2000 census, about 18.9% o the entire population o Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and they are the majority population only in theprovinces o Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and awi-awi and in teenother towns—one in Cotabato, nine in Lanao del Norte, two in Sultan Kudarat, two inZamboanga del Norte, and one in Palawan.
Te Lumad 
Te Lumad include approximately 35 tribes and sub-tribes indigenous toMindanao, among which are, in alphabetical order- Ata Manobo, Bagobo, Banwaon,Bla-an, Bukidnon, Dibabawon, Higaunon, Mamanwa, Mandaya, Mangguwangan,Manobo, Mansaka, Matigsalug, Subanen, agakaolo, alaandig, igwa, ’boli, eduray and the Ubo Manuvu. Tere may be more because they normally reer to each other by their geographical and not by their ethno-linguistic names. Tey constitute, accordingto the 2000 census, about 8.5% o the entire population o Mindanao and the Suluarchipelago, and are the majority in only eleven towns—one in Agusan del Sur, our inBukidnon, two in Davao del Sur, two in Maguindanao, one in Sarangani, and one inZamboanga del Sur. Te name
is Cebuano Bisaya but is the product o an agreement amongrepresentatives o 15 out o 18 ethno-linguistic groups that was arrived at duringthe ounding congress o Lumad Mindanaw in June 1986. Cebuano is their lingua

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