Now on its second leg of community rounds in Southern Mindanao, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) collaborated with the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Conference for Peace and Development (MIPCD), National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Philippine Army (PA) in a 2-day workshop entitled, “Healing, Reconciliation, and Operationalizing the 11 Building Blocks in the Ancestral Domain in Support to the Whole-of-Government/Whole-of-Nation Approach (WoG/WoNA) by empowering the Former Rebels (FRs), IP Youth/IP-Enlisted Personnel (EP) and IP Leaders”, held on 10-11 June 2022 at Philippine Cooperative Union (PCU) Davao in Tagum City via face-to-face set-up and Zoom conference.
“We have no doubt that the representation of IP concerns in the 11 Building Blocks is complete and well-grounded. It is a powerful tool in uniting the Indigenous Peoples as they finally put an end to the injustices inflicted against them since time immemorial,” said NCIP Region 11 Director Mr. Mumar M. Mamukid.
Present during the workshop were the Indigenous Political Structure (IPS), Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs), IP-EP, and IP Youth of Davao de Oro. They are from the Mansaka Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) of the Municipalities of Maragusan, Nabunturan, Mawab, Maco, Mabini, and Pantukan; Kagan ICCs/IPs of the Municipalities of Maco, Mabini, and Pantukan; Dibabawon ICCs/IPs of Laak; Dibabawon-Mangguangan ICCs/IPs of Montevista; Mangguangan, Manobo, Dibabawon, and Mandaya ICCs/IPs of Monkayo; and Mansaka-Mandaya ICCs/IPs of the Municipalities of Compostela and New Bataan.
Participants from Davao del Norte were the Mandaya, Dibabawon, Kalagan, and Manguangan ICCs/IPs of Asuncion; Manguangan ICCs/IPs of New Corella; Dibabawon, Mandaya, and Manobo ICCs/IPs of San Isidro; Mandaya and Mansaka ICCs/IPs of Tagum City; Ata, Manobo, and Mandaya ICCs/IPs of Kapalong; and Kalagan ICCs/IPs of Panabo City. The participants from Agusan del Sur were the Manobo ICCs/IPs of Sta. Josefa, Veruela, Loreto, and La Paz. The 1001st Infantry Brigade (Inf Bde), 25th Infantry Battalion (25IB), 28IB, 60IB, and the 10th Civil Military Operations (CMO) Battalion of the Philippine Army were also present along with the Regional Philippine National Police (PNP).
“The healing and reconciliation aspects of uniting among ourselves and with the non-IPs including the government is crucial in the institutionalization of the 11 Building Blocks. We are overwhelmed with our weaknesses and the willingness to forgive for the greater good of the Indigenous Peoples. We believe that this is only the beginning of a worthwhile endeavor and I am optimistic of a better future that awaits us all,” an IP leader from Davao de Oro expressed as he raised his observations and recommendations during the open forum which took place on the first day of the workshop.
On the second day, the participants were grouped in 3 break-out rooms according to the area of responsibilities of the 1001st Inf Bde, PA. The 11 Building Blocks were discussed thoroughly vis-à-vis the situations in the Ancestral Domains.
The Peace Covenant Ritual and Commitment of Support of line agencies sealed the 2-day activity with an agreement to achieve the institutionalization of the 11 Building Blocks. The Indigenous Peoples, being the center of the Covenant, drew their inspiration from the key leaders of their respective Local Government Units (LGUs), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), PNP, NCIP, and all other concerned government agencies.
During the Peace Covenant, a Tangkulo was put on the heads of men leaders as this piece of IP accessory means leadership, respect, and authority. The women leaders wore a head dress which for the IP women signifies their participation in community leadership and the respect accorded to them because of their authority. There was an exchange of bolo which signified the completion of the Peace Covenant.
“As we always do, we will continue to support development initiatives for our Indigenous Peoples and their communities. It is important that amongst us the local executives, good leadership must be prevalent if we aim to be followed by our people in the communities. We will remain committed to NTF-ELCAC and we are proud to say that we are able to stop the recruitment to the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) amongst our youth,” said Davao de Oro Vice Governor Tyron Uy.
Brigadier General Jesus P Durante III, the Brigade Commander of the 1001st Inf Bde, PA was represented by Col Michael D Licayo, the Deputy Brigade Commander. He was grateful for the convergence that was designed to facilitate the healing and reconciliation initiatives for the Indigenous Peoples. “We have taken note of all the concerns raised in this workshop and rest assured that we will cooperate and support future endeavors for this cause,” he added.