Mindanao: tribes want autonomy from Moro zone

Leaders of indigenous tribes within the proposed Bangsamoro territory in Mindanao are demanding that their ancestral lands be excluded. "We cannot accept Bangsamoro as our identity. We have our own identity and this is the Erumanen ne Menuvu," datu (traditional elder) Ronaldo Ambangan said as he read the declaration of the Erumanen ne Menuvu tribe at the June 24 congressional consultations on the proposed Bangsamoro in Midsayap, North Cotabato. In Davao City, Timuay Alim Bandara, a Teduray leader, told the June 26 congressional committee hearing in Davao City that the Philippines' Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act had never been resepcted within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the previous autonomous zone instated following the last peace accords with Moro rebels 15 years ago. He said indigenous peoples are expressing "our discomfort on the previous peace agreement," and demanding that their rights be respected under the new one. (Inquirer, Philippines, June 29)