400 Lumads weigh in on draft BBL during summit

AROUND 400 representatives of the non-Moro Lumads in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) gathered yesterday for the first Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Legislative Assembly (MIPLA) for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at Mergrande Ocean Resort, Talomo.

The two-day meeting was organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) to hear the issues and concerns raised by the non-Moro IP communities on the proposed BBL.

The non-Moro IPs have expressed their support and desire to join the proposed Bangsamoro government except that they want a Bangsamoro Law that recognizes their rights and promotes their welfare.

OPPAP Sec. Jesus Dureza said in an interview yesterday that the summit will provide a platform for the IPs and the peace negotiating panel to be in a “conversation with the larger peace table” given that President Duterte has stressed his policy of inclusiveness in the BBL.

“This is a very important event as far as our work for inclusive peace is concerned,” he said. “The purpose is not for the OPPAP to advocate for them. We’re not here only to listen to them so that we will bring what they told us to the Congress. It is up for them to bring it up themselves.”

Dureza noted that MIPLA is not meant to be adversarial with the Bangsamoro Basic Law, but rather to find means of understanding the IPs and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission’s (BTC) concerns on some provisions of draft law.

Asked on the possibility of having a legislative agenda submitted before Congress after the MIPLA, Dureza said the IPs will have to decide for them on whether they would propose a legislation; or on how they will express this on the provisions of the Bangsamoro law.

“We (OPAPP) are not putting together something here. It will be them who will make the decision at the end of the day,” he said.

The representatives from the IP tribes and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission were set to meet today to voice their concerns on some of the provisions under BBL. But the meeting was moved to another day as representatives from BTC are celebrating Eidul Adha.

The OPPAP secretary said they are planning to do the next rounds of meeting with the indigenous people of Cordillera as the region also has a pending House Bill No. 5343 (An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera)

“We were given a strong message from them (IP) that they are willing now to reconsider, and get around to unify and support the house bill that will make a final attempt,” he said, adding that this maybe the last attempt in entrenching an autonomous region given that the proposed bill for the region failed twice in getting support from its people.

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