IN PHOTO: MIPA-BARMM Minister Hon. Melanio U. Ulama, at the rostrum delivering his message to IPs Leaders and Representatives from BASULTA areas during consultation on IP Code held at Boulevard Hotel, Zamboanga City on October 12,2019

IP leaders from island provinces attend consultation on proposed IP Code

ZAMBOANGA CITY (October 13,2109)- Series of consultations and meetings are being undertaken by the Ministry of Indigenous People Affairs (MIPA) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on the proposed Indigenous Code (IP) for the IPs living in BARMM Areas.

The aim of the consultation was to solicit inputs and ideas from the IPs in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa) area so that the proposed IP Code will be more inclusive and responsive to the real issues and concerns that have been haunting the IPs in BARMM Provinces and areas for quite so long a time. 

The three-day activity was attended by IPs leaders and representatives from Yakan Tribe of Basilan, Sama-Banguingi from Sulu and Sama-Bajau tribe of Tawi-Tawi. 

The activity was rolled out by MIPA-BARMM in partnership with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and NEW ZEALAND Foreign Affairs, and Trade Aid Programme. It was held at Boulevard Hotel, Zamboanga City on October 10-13, 2019. 

In her welcome message, Atty. Ranibai Dilangalen, senior partnership Adviser of Food and Agriculture Organization encouraged the participants to share productive ideas and suggestions so that the proposed code will have a good output and serves its purpose.  

The rationale, and significance of the activity on the proposed IP Code and Lumad in Mindanao were delivered by Hon. Minister Melanio U. Ulama of Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs (MIPA)-BARMM. He elucidated the brief history of IPs in Mindanao and their challenges.

IN PHOTO: Simple living yet peaceful. Bajau children paddling their Banca during high tide. At the back, Bajau houses erected on the shores where most Bajaus dwell 

“We the IPs should respect, help and love one another and always avoid hating each other for personal interest” Minister Ulama said. 

The three legislative Agenda of MIPA and the draft of the proposed IP Code were presented by MIPA Chief of Staff Datu Pulna Utto. He accentuated every provision for the participants to ascertain its substance. 

The participants engaged in SWOT Analysis in threshing out crucial issues and concerns of the IP’s, and on what measures to formulate to improve their living condition and safeguard their welfare. 

In the open forum, participants from three Island provinces shared their ideas, views and assessments on the presented IP draft Code. Other related issues and concerns were also brought out and were all clarified by both Minister Ulama, Atty. Dilangalen and other speakers. 

In his closing message, Minister Ulama expressed his gratefulness to the participants who displayed cohesiveness on unity for one common purpose and hope that the proposed IP Code will be able to get enough support from his fellow parliament members for swift deliberation and adoption.

Mr. Tirso Tahir of Sama tribe of Tawi-Tawi, Officer of Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and MP-BARMM Staff of Prof. Abdulla A. Ahang also from Tawi-Tawi shared their hopes and prayed that the proposed IP Code will be adopted and implemented efficiently so that every IP in BARMM will be able to reap the fruits of Bangsamoro decades-long struggle where they have been part of it along with other Bangsamoro in reasserting their freedom and aspiration.