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Simultaneous rituals for peace held in IP communities across Central Mindanao

COTABATO CITY – Members of indigenous peoples simultaneously offered prayers for peace at noon on Saturday as recent fighting in Maguindanao province continues to affect their communities.

Rebecca Mokudef, legal arbiter of the Teduray tribal groups of Maguindanao, said the ritual for peace was simultaneously performed in IP communities in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and Bukidnon.

“We want peace in Mindanao, we want to preserve our culture and tradition, we ask the Almighty to help us attain peace for we always suffer when armed conflicts erupt in our communities,” Mokudef said after the ritual at “Tawan-Tawan”,  Cotabato City’s highest peak.

She said the IPs support the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law which will give the tri-people of mainland Mindanao – Muslim, Christians and lumads (IPs) the right to govern themselves and exercise their right to self-determination.

The group performed its traditional prayer for peace, calling the Almighty to keep the IPs and all peoples of Mindanao safe from violence.

She said that armed conflict has divided tribal communities for decades through displacement, which destroys traditional communities, customs, and traditions.

“It is difficult to be ejected from our homeland, our ancestral domain, slowly this is being destroyed by armed conflict, so we pray for a stop so we can live peacefully,” she added.

Mokudef said the IP communities support the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law that will create new political entity in Mindanao where the IP communities are located.

“We want to maintain our culture and tradition even with the establishment of Bangsamoro government. We desire for peace that will allow us to govern ourselves and freely practice our traditional laws,” Mokudef, known among the Tedurays as an arbiter of conflicts using traditional and diplomatic ways of resolving misunderstandings, said.

Under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, the justice system in the Bangsamoro will consist of Shari'ah law "which shall have supremacy and application over Muslims only; the traditional or tribal justice system, for the indigenous peoples in the Bangsamoro", local courts, and alternative dispute resolution systems.

The ritual was simultaneously performed in at least 35 IP communities in the Central Mindanao region. — JDS, GMA News
Tags: teduray