BLMI initiates Peace Dialogue with IPs from the Tri-Boundaries

COLUMBIO, SULTAN KUDARAT (December 28, 2017) ---- The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) in coordination with the municipality of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, and the109th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front initiated a whole day dialogue between the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, and the B’laan tribe.

Vice-Mayor Edwin Bermudez opened the dialogue, and Professor Esmael A. Abdula, President of Kalilintad Peacebuilding Institute and BLMI Training Officer, explained the rationale, mechanics, and aims of the peace dialogue. 

The tri-boundaries are composed of the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and North Cotabato where the indigenous peoples like the Moros are also concerned of finding lasting peace in Mindanao.

“The participation of indigenous peoples is very important to attain the lasting peace in Mindanao”, emphasized Amer Musali, Mayor of Colombio. 

“The unity of the Muslims, Christians, and indigenous peoples is the key for long lasting peace in Mindanao”, added Mayor Musali.

Mohager Iqbal, Chairman of the MILF PIP said “Our race is one that is originated from our ancestors Tabunaway, and Mamalu who were brothers. Our struggle is one for right to self-determination. From the start, we had been all part of the struggle. Therefore, we need to unite for the legitimate struggle, the Bangsamoro right to self-determination.”

“The new Bangsamoro Basic Law drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission addresses your rights, your custom and tradition and whatever faith you have or tribe. Most importantly, we must unite to gain long lasting peace in Mindanao”, Iqbal said.

“There is no peace without justice. The indigenous peoples will enjoy their rights through passing the BBL into enabling law by the Philippine Congress”, Iqbal further said.

Teduray Commissioner Temuay Melanio Ulama of Bangsamoro Transition Commission said “I am not representing the Teduray tribe in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, but I am representing all

indigenous peoples in entire Mindanao. The proposed new Bangsamoro Law is not only for Muslims, and indigenous peoples but for all people living in Mindanao”, Ulama said.

Hay‘atul Ulama Branch 6 Chairman Sheikh Abdulfatah Delna, one of the organizers of the peace dialogue, underscored “Let us revive the unity, and harmonious relationship of the Moros, and indigenous peoples before. So this time, let us further strengthen our relationship like our forefathers did before.”

Resource speakers from the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, Bangsamoro Transition Commission and the MILF leaders gave positive responses to the issues and concerns of the indigenous peoples. The dialogue is vital for the unity and solidarity in nation building. 

Satar Salip, Datu Ampan Mali, Datu Agustin Dabi, Usman Lanao, and Pastor Jonathan Tamles who were among the B’laan tribal leaders support the immediate passage of the new Bangsamoro Basic Law.

About 300 participants from the Blaan tribe including Bangsamoro Communication Network, military leaders of the 109th Base Command, BIAF-MILF, MILF Damakling Provincial Political Committee, and local government unit of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat attended the dialogue.