By Noel Punzalan | Philippine News Agency
COTABATO CITY – Two lawmakers of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have filed a bill pushing for the protection of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) communities in the region.
On Tuesday, Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) – BARMM members Melanio Ulama and Romeo Saliga introduced before the regional plenary Cabinet Bill 40, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
“The measure would help uplift the lives of the IPs in the region and address the injustices committed against them,” Saliga said in a statement on Wednesday.
He added that the proposed bill reflects the IPs’ struggle for self-determination and the pursuit of a peaceful and inclusive Bangsamoro.
The act intends to serve all IPs in the BARMM, including the Tèduray, Lambangian/Balèg, Dulangan Manobo, Erumanun Ne Menuvu, Badjao, Sama, Yakan, Higaonon, B’laan, and other indigenous groups recognized by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affair (MIPA).
The MIPA has been directed to formulate and implement rules, policies, and projects for the IPs, including their rights to equal protection, non-discrimination, ancestral domains, identity, cultural integrity, self-governance, and tribal system.
Among the functions of the MIPA are the assessment of the Ips’ conditions, issuing property titles, developing and implementing programs for economic, social, and cultural development, providing legal assistance, and guiding the BARMM chief minister on matters related to IPs.
As mandated in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), the interim government shall embody the aspirations of both “Muslim Filipinos and all indigenous cultural communities” in the region.
Saliga said the bill is expected to give added life to the different provisions included in the BOL. (PNA)