The third (3rd) leg of community rounds in Southern Mindanao for the activity 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” was conducted at Honey’s Hotel, Matiao, Mati City, Davao Oriental on 13-14 June 2022. The two-day activity was spearheaded by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in collaboration with the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Conference `for Peace and Development (MIPCPD), National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and Philippine Army (PA) via face – to – face set up and Zoom conference.
The said activity was attended by Indigenous Political Structures (IPS), Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs), IP-EP/IP Youth, Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Mandaya and Kagan Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) of Davao Oriental, Mansaka and Mandaya of Davao de Oro, the Manobo of Agusan del Sur, and the Manobo and Mandaya of Surigao del Sur. Also present are the representatives of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), City Government of Mati, Provincial Government and PTF-ELCAC of Davao Oriental, and the 701st Infantry Brigade (Inf Bde), PA.
The 701st Inf Bde, PA is composed of three (3) Infantry Battalions namely: (1) the 66th Infantry Battalion (IB) covering the Municipalities of Caraga, Manay, Tarragona, Mati, Lupon (Don Mariano Marcos, Calapagan, and Marayag) in Davao Oriental and New Bataan, Compostela, Maragusan, and Pantukan in Davao de Oro; (2) the 67th IB serving Baganga, Cateel, and Boston in Davao Oriental, Bislig, Hinatuan, Lingig, Tagbina, and Barobo in Surigao del Sur, and San Francisco, Rosario, Bunawan, and Trento in Agusan del Sur; and (3) the 48th IB covering Pantukan, Davao de Oro, and Lupon, Banaybanay, San Isidro, and Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental.
“Indigenous Peoples Leaders, Elders, and members must use and manage their Ancestral Domains carefully for the next generation. The IP Leaders must be encouraged to make a difference by serving the ICCs/IPs and in the operationalization of the 11 Building Blocks in the Ancestral Domains”, said Eleuterio C. Manaytay, Provincial IPMR/Provincial Tribal Council Chairman.
Healing and reconciliation have always been a part of social dynamics. Individuals and institutions take upon this role to ensure the well-being of the general public. Healing happens when a person is reconciled to all relationships that are essential to their well-being – these are spiritual, social, economic, political, and environmental. Furthermore, the operationalization of the 11 Building Blocks is a tool in building a resilient, responsive, and relevant ICCs/IPs in their Ancestral Domains.
The first day of the activity concentrated on the information drive on Culture Sensitivity, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), maps of the ICCs/IPs within the area of responsibility of the 701st Inf Bde, PA, situation updates, Knowing the Enemy (KTE), reporting of the burning issues of the aforementioned provinces, zoning framework to confront Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) development, current NCIP programs aligned with EO 70, and the 11 Building Blocks.
Moreover, the second day highlights the workshop on the status updates and operationalization of the 11 Building Blocks per Ancestral Domain. The participants were grouped according to the Infantry Battalion that covers them. The workshop aims to level the understanding of all stakeholders on the importance of these building blocks to the development of the ICCs/IPs and to document relevant data per Ancestral Domain. After the three-hour workshop, presentation of outputs per IB followed.
The most highlighted part of the program is the practice of Sapa or Peace Covenant Ritual and Commitment of Support from the line agencies. The Sapa, a Mandaya term for peace covenant, is dedicated to bridging the gaps, healing, and, reconciling between the ICCs/IPs and government agencies. It was done through a ritual officiated by the Mandaya Balyans from Baganga. The Sapa was done through a pagbugkot aw pagsugpat ng uway wherein government agencies present such as AFP, PNP, NCIP, CHR, PTF-ELCAC, Provincial and City Government, IPMRs, and IPS were requested to tie a length of abaca fiber in a circled rattan stem. The tied abaca fiber symbolizes respect to promises while the closing of the circled rattan by NCIP Regional Director Mumar M. Mamukid means unity. The ritual continued through a panayday (chants) and pagkuyab ng bagaybay (dancing of a young fruit of a Palm tree) by a Balyan to bless the representative of each agency before signing the peace covenant and to express their commitment of support.
Brigadier General Oliver C Maquiling, the Brigade Commander of the 701st Inf Bde, PA was represented by Col Edgar R Delos Reyes, the Deputy Brigade Commander. “The 701st Infantry Brigade is with you and will help you manage and maintain peace and order. We will support all your programs and the government. The 701st Inf Bde, 66IB, 67IB, and 48IB are your partners not only in peace keeping but also in making collective endeavors to progress and create lasting peace in your communities”, Col Delos Reyes said.
“The Commission on Human Rights will always be a supportive partner of the ICCs/IPs in all forms of efforts that dedicate in peace keeping, development, and protection of their rights. We will assure you that we are ready to support the operationalization of the 11 Building Blocks, for we also believe that it is a tool to establish a resilient, responsive, and developed IP Communities”, Mr. Arnaldo Quisumbing, Jr., Investigator III, CHR XI.
“With our Governor Nelson Dayanghirang who frontlines the efforts in the recognition of the Ancestral Domains either titled, approved applications, or claims in Davao Oriental, we will continue to support all the IPs and we hope that the NCIP, Board Members, and IPMRs will replicate and endorse the same strategy to the incoming Governor Corazon T. Malanyaon to strengthen the rapport among the government, Kagan, and Mandaya ICCs/IPs in Davao Oriental”, said Mr. Ednar G. Dayanghirang, Chief-of-Staff/PTF-ELCAC Vice Chairman.