(IN PHOTO)- Young IP’s Women in their native attire

Indigenous Peoples in ARMM and The Bangsamoro identity

Indigenous peoples (IP's) are people defined in international or national legislation as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory , and their cultural or historical distinctiveness from other populations that are often politically dominant.

The definition itself applies to all indigenous people worldwide like Native Americans, Inuit of Canada and many more. There are approximately 370 million indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups in 90 countries.

In the Philippines, there are 18 major indigenous peoples scattered throughout Mindanao island, namely : Subane'n , B'laan , T'boli , Mandaya , Mansaka , Te' duray , Higaonon , Manobo , Bagobo , Bukidnon , Tagkaolo , Ubo , Banwaon , Kalagan , Dibabawon , Talaandig , Mamanwa  and Manguangan.

These IP's refer themselves as " lumad ". a cebuano term meaning " native " or " indigenous ", the term short for " katawhang lumad " (literally: " indigenous people). These are group of non - Islamized indigenous people. The term " lumad " was officially adopted by the delegates of the Lumad Mindanao Peoples Federation (LMPF) founding assembly on 26 June 1986 at Guadalupe Formation Center in Balindong , Kidapawan City. It is the self - ascription and collective identity of the indigenous peoples of Southern Philippines.

In R.A. No. 9054, an organic act creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao dedicated a section defining tribal peoples and " Bangsa Moro " people.

Article X, sec. 3: (a ) Tribal Peoples. These are citizens whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sectors of the national community; and (b) Bangsa Moro People. These are citizens who believes in Islam and who retained some or all of their own social, economic, cultural, and political institutions.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) includes a more comprehensive definition of Bangsamoro people. However , the definition of indigenous peoples does not appear in the provisions of BBL considering that they are included in the definitions as " native or original inhabitants " regardless of Islamized / non - Islamized or Christianized / non - Christianized IP's.

The Bangsamoro People was defined in Art. II, sec 1., " Bangsamoro People - those who at the time of conquest and colonization were considered natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and its adjacent islands including Palawan and their descendants, whether or mixed or of full blood , shall have the right to identify themselves as Bangsamoro by ascription or self - ascription. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. " And sec 2, provides, " Freedom of Choice of other indigenous peoples shall be respected. "

For all intents and purposes, BBL is not about religion nor cultural dominance but a political aspiration for self - governance and right to self - determination. The BBL provides a platform for the indigenous people in the Bangsamoro core area an opportunity for them to exercise their customary rights and traditions, traditional and tribal justice system ( Art. X , sec. 23 BBL ), right to education ( Tribal University System , Art. IX , sec. 14 , BBL and other IP rights.

The BBL guaranteed the indigenous Peoples Rights as provided for under Art. IX , sec. 5 , " The Bangsamoro Government recognizes the rights of the indigenous peoples and shall adopt measures for the promotion and protection of their rights , the right to their titles and / or " fusaka inged " , indigenous political structures , the right to an equitable share in revenues from the utilization of resources in their ancestral lands , the right to free and prior informed consent , right to political participation in the Bangsamoro Government including reserved seats for the indigenous peoples in the Bangsamoro Parliament  , the right to basic services , and the right to freedom of choice as to their identity. "      

If we will try to analyze and examine the rights of indigenous peoples provided in the BBL, it is more than the rights granted under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act Law ( IPRA ) which is national in character and applicable to all IP's throughout the Philippines , whereas the rights mentioned in BBL has distinct and exclusive character applicable only in the Bangsamoro core area with a chance of expanding a more extensive IP's rights by virtue of the power of Bangsamoro Parliament.